Coconut Curry

The word “gourmet” is relative. Especially when it comes to long distance backpacking. As a foodie and a long distance backpacker, I struggle to find a compromise. Here is a sampling of one of my recipes that takes a little extra time to make, but the reward is worth it!

Coconut Curry

This is my signature backpacking recipe. I could make it at home and people would love it (actually, I just did and it was a hit). It also provides a lot of (good) fat compared to your typical backpacking meal, so it really satisfies! It is gluten-free and it can easily be made vegan, low-sodium, and all-natural.


  • 2.5-4 T. green or red curry paste, dried (depending on how spicy you like it) -OR- 2-4 T. curry powder (I like Thai Kitchen green curry paste the best. It can be found in the Asian section of major grocery stores)
  • 1 packet (1.75-2 oz.) powdered coconut cream or milk (this can usually only be found in an Asian market or online)
  • 2.5-4 T. brown sugar, dried (match amount of curry)
  • 1/2-3/4 c. instant rice

Thai Kitchen Curry PasteCoconut Cream Powder

Optional Ingredients

  • 1/4 oz. freeze-dried green beans (I haven’t figured out how to dehydrate these and have them re-hydrate nicely)
  • 2 T. dehydrated or freeze dried matchstick-cut carrots
  • 1 T. whole cilantro leaves, dried or fresh -OR- 1 T. coarsely chopped basil, dehydrated or fresh
  • 1 2.5-3 oz. foil pack albacore or yellowfin tuna
  • 1 T. sliced red jalapeno, dehydrated

Albacore TunaFreeze Dried Green Beans

At-Home Preparation

Spread curry paste on a liquids/fruit leather tray of your food dehydrator and dry on medium heat for about 6-8 hours, or until it is crumbly. Put any vegetables or herbs that you want dried on a separate tray in the dehydrator for the same time. On a third tray, dry the brown sugar, about 1-2 hours. Combine all the dried ingredients into a small ziplock bag. Place any fresh ingredients in a separate bag.

On-Trail Preparation

Add 2 cups of water to your cook pot and put on the stove (if you like it more like a curry soup, add more water). Pour the dried contents into the water and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Break up any coconut cream lumps with the tines of your spork or the back of your spoon. Once boiling, turn off or remove from flame and let sit 10 minutes, stirring once. If using fresh herbs and/or tuna, add them in now. Stir. Enjoy! Serves 1. Calories: 975. Cost per serving: about $8 (without optional ingredients).


If you are in the mood for a yummy coconut curry, but you aren’t able to do all the prep, cook some instant rice as desired and add a packet of Fish People Albacore Tuna and Yellow Curry. You can find it at large grocery stores (at least in OR and WA). It is heavy, but is packed with calories and delicious flavors. Not to mention wild caught albacore (don’t expect to find it under $6, though). Fish People Yellow Curry

If you liked this idea, check out my other “Gourmet Trail Recipes”. No way you would put this much work into trail food? Check out my articles entitled “Favorite Easy Trail Recipes”. New recipes coming soon!