“Glamping”– or, Glamour Camping– is the perfect way to enjoy time ‘with nature,’ while still feeling happy and full at the end of the day. This series of “Glamping” recipes will focus on cooking outdoors, with recipes as exciting and fulfilling as your camping trip.
A few months back, the husband started gushing about nature. That’s right, he wanted to go camping. To be more specific, he wanted to go on an epic, multi-week, national park-hopping, cross-country hiking and camping trip. While I admitted that this sounded amazing (and exhausting), I had never been camping before. Ever. That’s right– he was taking this city-diva into the wilderness. To be honest, I wasn’t incredibly worried about sleeping in a tent, or showering in a bath-house, or getting a little dirty. My main worry was, you guessed it– the food! I assumed (correctly, I might add), that a lot of the national parks are fairly isolated, with limited restaurant access. We decided, of course, to go anyway and make it work. What followed was a whirl of food planning, trip planning, and then eighteen days of driving, hiking, and delicious campground cooking.
This Chickpea Curry (or Chana Masala) was one of my favorite campground meals, because it is FAST. It’s ready, start to finish, in about 20 minutes, and will leave you feeling full and satisfied. None of the ingredients need to be refrigerated, so if you’re planning on hiking all day, you don’t need to find a way to keep anything cold while you’re gone.
Gathering Ingredients + Equipment
To start with, gather all the ingredients and equipment before you leave for your camping adventure. For Chana Masala, you’ll need a camping cook-stove, a cast iron or stainless steel skillet, a small metal turner or spatula, a saucepan with a lid (for the rice), a measuring cup (for the rice), a cutting board, a knife, and then bowls and spoons (or plates and forks) to eat it all with. You’ll also need some pre-mixed tandoori masala spices (I like the tandoori masala spice mix from Whole Foods), garlic powder, olive oil, canned chickpeas, canned fire roasted tomatoes, and an onion. Bring along some instant rice to serve with the curry. You could, of course, bring jasmine or basmati rice instead, but instant rice will be much faster and simpler.
Making Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)
To prepare the curry, set up the camp stove, and go ahead and start boiling the water for your rice. While the water heats up, sauté the onions and spices in the skillet, then add the garlic and tomatoes. Let the tomatoes cook for about five minutes, and then add the chickpeas (liquid and all). Let the whole thing simmer for a few minutes, and the liquid will cook down. Finish the rice while your curry is cooking. Make sure to add some more garlic powder and salt to your rice– Instant rice is not incredibly flavorful. Finally, scoop rice and curry into bowls, and dig in.
Campground Cooking Tips:
- Try to stay as organized as possible. I kept a box with my spices, oils, and kitchen equipment, and then separated produce, breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods into different reusable grocery bags. That way, I didn’t have to pull everything out at once.
- Clean up your dishes immediately. The faster you clean up, the easier it will be.
- Use available resources to add to your meal. For example, this KOA in Durango, CO had free fresh veggies and herbs available for campers, and Mather Campground at the Grand Canyon had an especially nice, camper-friendly market.
Need more ‘glamping’ food? Try these:
Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)
A Glamping / Camping Recipe
Serves 2 as main dish, 4 as side dish
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tsp salt, plus more to season rice
- 1 TB tandoori masala spice mix
- 1/2 TB garlic powder, plus more to season rice
- 1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas (also labeled garbanzo beans)
- 2 cups instant white rice
- camp-stove with propane
- cast iron or stainless steel skillet
- small metal turner or spatula
- saucepan with lid (for rice)
- measuring cup (for rice)
- cutting board
- can opener (if cans aren't pop-top)
- bowls or plates
- spoons or forks
Prepare camp-stove with propane tank.
Begin boiling water for rice, and cook according to package directions. Season rice to taste with salt and garlic powder.
Set flame to medium, and heat olive oil until it begins to ripple. Add diced onion, salt, and spice mix. Sauté onions for 2-3 minutes, until they soften and become translucent. Lower flame slightly, add garlic powder and fire roasted tomatoes, and cook 4-5 minutes. Add chickpeas (add the entire can- don't strain the liquid), and cook over a medium flame until the liquid reduces and thickens (2-3 minutes).
Serve chickpea curry over rice.