The Ultimate Wild Women Guide To Gourmet Overnight Hiking Recipes

By Di Westaway | Founder and Chief Adventure Chick at Wild Women On Top

At Wild Women On Top, we're all about delicious, nutritious gourmet food. Even on overnight hikes, we go the extra mile for our tastebuds. You don't need to resport to commercial, dehydrated meal packets. From curries to pasta dishes, you can cook fresh, gourmet meals on the trail. 

The recipes in this blog have been fine-tuned over several years of overnight hiking and involve a little preparation at home. If you have a dehydrator, you’ll be able to produce even more marvellous creations, but the recipes below do not require a dehydrator. 

With planning, a few key ingredients - like fresh garlic and ginger - and tips like carrying fresh herbs in paper towel, you can carry and create delicious, nutritious meals for up to six nights trekking in a 65L backpack. 

These recipes have become Wild Women favourites over the years because they are relatively light-weight, yummy and nutritious and can be easily cooked on one stove with two pots, a plate, a bowl, a pocket knife and a serving spoon. 

All quantities and recipes here are for light-weight, low-fuel bush cooking, using mostly supermarket-ready dehydrated ingredients. Here are some top tips to remember so you get the extra yum-factor without the fuss.

  • Substitute dry ingredients with fresh foods for wild weekends or overnight hikes.
  • Plan how you will carry, store and preserve your meat (i.e cryovac/freeze/dehydrate).
  • Leaders should practice at home first.
  • Ensure you have enough pots, bowls, and a mini chopping board or plastic plate to chop on.
  • Don’t carry extra and plan ahead.  

Enjoy!

For A Wild And Wonderful Dinner...

Di’s Chicken & Broccoli Laksa

A gourmet Asian meal that's easy, delicious and nutritious? Yes, please! This chicken and broccoli laksa will delight your tastebuds after a long hike. For vegetarians, you can substitute the chicken for cashews.

Ingredients:

  • 500gm bean vermicelli
  • 300gm dried coconut milk (yes, you can get at Woolies or Coles)
  • 1kg chopped chicken thigh fillets (100gm per head). Freeze/cryvac/dehydrate the chicken if you have to carry it from home. If you're vegetarian, use roast cashews instead.
  • ½ kg of broccoli 
  • Bunch fresh coriander 
  • 2 packs (50g each) Asian Home Gourmet Laksa paste
  • 100gm dried shallots (Asian section)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3cm ginger
  • 3 chicken/veggie stock cubes

Method:

  1. Soak bean vermicelli in cold water.
  2. Mix dried coconut milk into creamy consistency with water.
  3. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and boil in 1L of water for 20 minutes.
  4. Brown finely grated garlic, ginger and onion in oil and add Laksa paste.
  5. Add paste mix to boiling chicken mix, then add chopped broccoli and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Drain vermicelli, place in bowls, and pour hot laksa over.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped coriander. 

Note: For vegetarians, cook chicken separately and sprinkle with cashews on serving.

Sharon’s Gourmet Vegetarian Cous Cous

This recipe is so good you’ll want to eat it at home. It's the perfect overnight hiking dinner for vegos.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups cous cous (allow 75gm per person)
  • 5 teaspoons vegetable stock
  • 200gm dried mushrooms
  • 150gm butter
  • 3 small finger aubergines
  • 100gm sun-dried tomatoes (dry, not in oil)
  • 100gm pine nuts
  • 2 small sultana packets.
  • 1 fresh lime
  • Fresh herbs (coriander, mint, dill, chives)
  • Moroccan sprinkle
  • Finely grated ginger and garlic

Note: Carry fresh herbs whole and wrapped in kitchen paper in plastic bag to last for up to 4 days.

Method:

  1. Soak sun-dried tomato and mushrooms all day.
  2. Boil vegetable stock and 10 cups of water.
  3. Add cous cous to the boiling stock and water and let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Chop herbs finely and set aside.
  5. Toast pine nuts in dry pan (set aside).
  6. Finely chop or grate garlic and ginger.
  7. Then, with butter, add chopped aubergines, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms in a pan.
  8. Combine all ingredients (including cous cous) in pan and mix.
  9. To serve, add fresh herbs, lime and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Di's Better-Than-Butter-Chicken Fish Curry 

This is the kind of recipe you eat on day four of a hike, when refrigeration (and hence chicken) is not an option. But it doesn't taste any less delicious for it. Using fish pouches and tasty butter chicken sauce, this recipe is sure to delight - especially after a big few days on your feet! 

Ingredients:

  • 3 packs (50gm each) Asian Home Gourmet Butter Chicken
  • 750gm Jasmine or Basmati rice
  • Vegetable stock cubes
  • 200gm surprise peas
  • 300gm dried coconut milk
  • 100gm dried mushrooms
  • 1kg pouch salmon (100gm per person - hunt for fillets not flaked fish) 
  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • 3cm ginger
  • Dried shallots
  • 50mL olive oil

Method:

  1. Soak surprise peas and mushrooms in Nalgene bottle all day.
  2. Boil rice. If fuel-rationed, bring to boil using absorption method, then wrap carefully in tee-towel and place in bottom of leader's sleeping bag to cook. Allow 20 minutes in sleeping bag and take care not to spill.
  3. Pre-mix coconut milk with water.
  4. Fry finely chopped garlic, ginger and onion in oil with curry paste.
  5. Add stock cubes, peas, mushrooms and coconut milk.
  6. Gently stir through fish.
  7. Serve over rice.

Camp Carbonara (For Super Lightweight Hiking)

Ever wondered how to make an utterly delicious pasta dish on an overnight hike? Go no further than this recipe. It's the gourmet answer to your hiking prayers.

Ingredients:

  • 600gm 3-minute penne
  • 3 bacon/veggie stock cubes
  • 300gm dried milk
  • 200gm grated parmesan
  • 200gm shaved prosciutto (sun-dried tomato for vegetarians)
  • 200gm dried surprise beans
  • 4 garlic cloves

Method:

  1. Soak beans.
  2. Fry garlic and prosciutto.
  3. Cook pasta according to instructions.
  4. Make sauce with stock cubes, water, dried milk and parmesan.
  5. Add garlic and prosciutto (or sun-dried tomato) and combine with pasta and beans. 
  6. Serve immediately with extra parmesan sprinkles.

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