One of the things that Sarah Kirkconnell, author of Freezer Bag Cooking, has taught me, is not to deprive yourself on the trail. In your quest to lighten your food bag, don't make the mistake I made, which is to package up meals that are nutritional, but so boring that you can't finish them. I swear, I'm ruined on couscous for life!
On my last backpacking trip, I indulged and tried out something new – boil in a bag meals. Last winter, I bought a larger 1.3 liter titanium pot for melting snow. I brought it along on my last trip because it is nearly big enough to submerge the two boil in the bag meals from Trader Joes' shown above. The Lentil Rice Biryani dish on the left weighs 9.2 oz and has 420 calories and the Punjab eggplant weighs 10.5 oz and has 300 calories.
I will be the first to admit that this is not a lightweight food selection, but damn was it good. And even though they weighed over 1 lb, my food bag weight for 3 days was still under 5 lbs.
In cooking these up, I found that complete submersion is not necessary. instead, I fired up my Isobutane stove and brought two-thirds of a pot of water to boil and dropped in the foil bag containing the Pugjab eggplant sauce. Once the water started to boil again, I turned down the simmer control on my Snow Peak so that the water was at less than a full, raging boil to conserve fuel. After about 5 minutes, I flipped the bag around in the pot and let the top part of the meal heat for a few minutes. I did the same thing for the rice dish, and then I emptied the two into a zip-loc quart bag I brought along and mixed them together. Yum.
This food was so good, I've been thinking about trying to dehydrate it to get the weight down, but my wife doesn't think that they'll be the same. Regardless, eating this meal on my first night out meant not having to carry it for more than one day, and it was worth it.
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