Camping-friendly Coconut Green Curry

It’s been three weeks now since I shared a recipe with you, meaning: 1) I’m out of practice telling stories that circuitously lead to recipes; and 2) You, quite understandably, might not have the patience for that sort of thing anyway. So let’s just get straight to the point and talk about this green curry recipe.

First, I should say: Applying the term ‘recipe’ here is a bit of a stretch; we’re wading into the territory of canned beans, prepared curry paste, and hot food in 10 minutes or less. If you were hoping to really cook today, you might be happier tackling this much more ambitious (and wholly delectable) coconut curry. But if fast and easy are your thing, solider on! 

As the title of the post implies, the reason behind the ultra-convenience here is that the dish is meant to be consumed while camping, when your ability to say, pressure cook beans or prepare a curry paste from scratch is somewhat limited (particularly if, like me, you aim to minimize the amount of time in which you waft tempting food smells in the direction of your neighbourhood bears).  

water.jpgSure, if you’re really after convenience, you could heat up some canned chilli. But after a long day of driving, when you’re facing a chilly night in a tent, eating something good that you cooked yourself – even if it’s this simple – is immensely more satisfying and recharging than a prepackaged alternative (especially if your fellow campers do the dishes). 

plants.jpgFinally, don’t feel like you have to wait until you’re out in the wild (or pseudo-wild, in my case) to give this a shot. Because…well, because you can eat what you want, when you want it, when it comes down to it. But if you need a more compelling reason, it’s faster, cheaper and more interesting than ordering a pizza. Or at least it will be, if I stop writing about it and give you the recipe, already. Here it is. 

Camp-friendly Coconut Green Curry

Serves 2 hungry people as a main, 4 as a smaller meal, and doubles easily

1 tbsp oil (olive, canola, vegetable, and coconut will all work well)
1-3 tbsp prepared green curry paste (I use the awkardly named ‘Cock Brand’ green curry paste, which you can find at Superstore)*
1 540 ml can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 ~400 ml can of full fat coconut milk, shaken
2-3 bell peppers, sliced ~1.5 cm thick
4 cups of packed fresh, chopped spinach**
Salt (or soy sauce) to taste
To serve: Fresh cilantro or thai basil, lime wedges, cooked jasmine rice


1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot set over moderate heat. Once the oil is warm, add the curry paste, stirring to break it up and heat it through, about 30 seconds.

2. Carefully add to the pot the chickpeas, coconut milk and peppers. Simmer over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the peppers are nearly tender.

3. Sitr in the spinach until it’s evenly coated in the coconut milk. Taste the broth and season with salt or soy sauce to your liking.

4. Simmer the curry over medium-low for another minute or so, until the spinach has wilted but is still bright green.

5. Divide the curry evenly over bowls of hot jasmine rice, then top each bowl with fresh herbs and lime wedges. When serving this up for two people, each bowl gets: ~3/4 cup rice, half the curry, 3-4 tablespoons of fresh herbs, and 1/4 of a fresh lime. 

 *Premade curry pastes can differ quite a lot in their spiciness. With that in mind, start by using just 1 tbsp of paste, tasting the broth that’s made when you add the coconut milk, and then stirring in additional paste as you see fit. It’s also worthwhile to read the instructions on the side of your curry paste container to get a sense of what 1 tbsp will get you, in terms of flavour and heat.

**Sturdier greens – bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, beet greens, etc. – will also work well in this curry, and are likely to hold up a little better in your camping cooler. They’ll take a few extra minutes to cook through, so it’s best to add them to the pot at the same time as the coconut milk, chickpeas and peppers. And, as you’d expect, you can use other veggies, in exchange for or in addition to the peppers (thinly-sliced carrots and snow peas both spring to mind). 

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