By Anders Klint
Making a gourmet meal in the wilderness is less intimidating than it sounds. You can enjoy all sorts of good cooking on a paddling overnighter: delicious hors d’oeuvres, pasta and heavenly sauces, crispy vegetables and, if you have the skills to catch them, the freshest fish.
A staple of most gourmet meals is good bread, and surprisingly easy wilderness-friendly recipes exist. Here are the recipes for two Indian breads.
Naan is a flat Indian bread, good to scoop up a rich stew or meat and vegetable bowl. The bread is cooked on the skillet, and gets a smoky rich flavor when cooked on the stones at the fire.
1 pkg dry yeast or one package regular yeast, 50 grams (use fresh)
3 cups water, lukewarm
8 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp oil or butter
2 tsp honey or sugar
1 egg (optional, to make the naan a little fuller)
To garnish: melted butter and crushed garlic, sesame seeds or chopped parsley
Mix the dry yeast with 1 cup plain flour and add the lukewarm water in a bowl. Stir.
Add almost all the remaining flour (save about 2 cups), salt, oil, eggs, honey or sugar and knead into soft and pliable dough. Add the remaining flour toward the end so the dough comes away from the edges of the bowl.
Cover the dough and set aside in a warm spot until doubled in size (about 40 minutes to an hour, let it ferment).
Turn out the dough for naan bread on a cutting board and divide into 8 parts. Knead each piece for about a minute and roll each piece of dough into a bun. Roll or flatten the buns to quarter-inch thick circles about 6-7 inches in diameter. They will look like pancakes.
Heat a skillet over max heat. Place the naan pancakes in the skillets and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Alternatively, you can also grill them on the grill grate over the fire a few minutes on each side. You can brush the naan with melted butter or olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt—preferably gourmet sea salt. It’s also good to add a little crushed garlic in the butter/oil; then it becomes garlic naan. You could also sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and chopped herbs such as parsley over the bread. Serve naan breads freshly baked.
Chapati is another Indian flatbread similar to naan, but without the yeast and with either whole or rye bread. It is denser than naan, but like naan is also used to scoop stews and curries.
4 cups rye flour
4 cups flour
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Mix all the ingredients until they form a dough ball. Separate the dough into eight small balls and then roll each small ball into circles about 4 inches in diameter and a quarter inch thick. Bake in dry and hot frying pan for a minute on each side.