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June 2012 Issue
Home / Articles / Wild Cuisine

Backcountry butter chicken

This recipe breaks almost every rule of wild cuisine: it’s not particularly lightweight, it’s not quick and easy, and it doesn’t keep for ever. But when you’re in a backcountry hut digging into the best butter chicken south of the subcontinent you’ll understand why we’ve included it.

Weight: 1kg
Volume: 1.1l
Calories: 3250kcal
Cost: $17.50
Cooking time: 15min (in the field)
Fuel: 195ml of white spirit or 75g of gas.*
*Based on an MSR Whisperlite or Primus Classic operating at sea level.

At home:
1 large onion, loosely chopped
1 cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
50g butter
1 tbsp crushed garlic
½ tbsp crushed ginger
1 tbsp mashed chilli
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garam masala

In the field:
Recipe base (from the ingredients above)
1 cup tomato paste
250ml UHT Cream
100g butter (optional)
500g smoked chicken
1 cup rice

Special Utensils
A second pot and burner is handy as it’ll allow you to cook the rice and the curry simultaneously.

At home: Cook the onion in the chicken stock in a medium size pot with the bay leaves until soft. Remove the bay leaves and blend into a fine paste using a stick blender.

Return the onion paste to the heat and cook together with the butter, garlic ginger and chilli together over a low heat for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Add the paprika, cumin and garam masala and reduce until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Allow the mixture to cool then transfer into an air-tight container and store in the freezer until it’s time to head into the hills.

In the field: Combine the tomato paste, cream and butter then add the chicken and simmer for at least 15min.

While the chicken in simmering, wash the rice then boil for approximately 15min. Try not to stir the rice any more than necessary as this can make it gluggy.

Serve and eat it quickly – before the other hut occupants steal it!