I recently watched the video above by Matthew Kirk (from Fool on the Hill) in which he presents the fastpack Pad Thai meal. I was immediately impressed due to the simplicity as well of low-cost of the meal. So, I made a note of the (few) items that he included in the recipe and then headed into town…
Preparing my food to eat while on the trail has been the hardest part of my backpacking experience. I like simple and easy (which is why I was drawn to the above video). For a while I had been a fan of the freeze-dried meals such as those offered by Mountain House and Backpacker Pantry. Then a little while later, I was introduced to Hawk Vittles, which offers the same simplicity of the aforementioned freeze-dried meals, but without all the additives to “preserve” the food. (Hawk Vittles is actually prepared by a retired professional chef, and immediately afterwords he throws the fresh cooked food into a dehydrator and then into a sealed bag and delivered to your door. Good stuff I tell ya!)
So, when I watched Matthew’s video, I knew that I had to give this fastpack meal a try. I had actually been working on some of the recipes from Mike Clelland’s book Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips around this same time, however, the fastpack Pad Thai meal looked even simpler and less expensive! So, as I said above, I headed to the store and came back with 3 of the 4 ingredients that Matthew used in his video…
When I left the grocery store I had the Ramen Noodles (any flavor is fine as all that is needed is the noodles) and the salted peanuts easy. The Knorr Vegetable Mix took me a minute to track down, and I never did find any of the True Lime (although a friend has found some at a Publix and has offered to send me a few packets. Thanks Jim!)
Making the fastpack Pad Thai is relatively easy. I simply break up the Ramen Noodles and pour them into a Ziploc bag (and don’t forget to dispose of the flavoring pack…it is not needed in this recipe). Then I measure out 3 oz of peanuts and add to the noodles. (You can break the peanuts up a little too if so desired, but I choose not to cause it’s easier.) Next I add about 1/2 the package of the Knorr Vegetable Mix to the bag with the noodles and the nuts. If you happened to track down some of the True Lime, then now would be the time to add it too. (Without the True Lime, I ended up with a total measured weight of 6.4 oz and 920 total calories, or 143.75 calories per oz.)
Next is the easy part. Just boil some water and then add it to the bag. Next, place the meal in a cozy and wait about 5 minutes and then enjoy!
However, it didn’t stop here! As I said above, I have also been messing around with some of the recipes from Mike Clelland’s book Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips. One of the recipes I made from this book was the Spiced Olive Oil. This is actually a “sauce” that Mike uses to add a boost of both flavor and calories to meals. Of course the Spiced Olive Oil uses Olive Oil as its base, but there are also a number of different spices that are mixed in with it…all I can say is that it is indeed awesome! This is one recipe that I will continue to make and keep some ready to go at all times. (I highly suggest getting Mike’s book to check out this recipe as well as the few others that are in his book…and of course all the other UL Backpackin’ Tips too.)
So, it dawned on me to see how this fastpack Pad Thai meal would taste with an oz of the Spiced Olive Oil added to the top…and well, it did indeed boost the flavor. What was once good is now better. And lets not forget, that the Spiced Olive Oil also added another 240 calories to the 920 calories that were already there! So, now it looks a little something like this:
- Ramen Noodles: ~2.9 oz & 380 calories
- Knorr Vegetable Mix: ~0.7 oz & 60 calories
- Peanuts: 3 oz & 480 calories
- Spiced Olive Oil: 1 oz and 240 calories
When combining the oil with the Pad Thai, this gives me a (measured) total of 7.4 oz and 1,160 calories! This equals out to 156.75 calories per oz. Not to bad, especially considering how inexpensive it is, how easy it is to make and of course how good it tastes!
So, I am extremely happy that I came across both Matthew’s fastpack Pad Thai meal as well as Mike’s Spiced Olive Oil. The combination of the two is one that I plan to enjoy often while on the trail. The ingredients are easily found as well as quite inexpensive. The results are an easy meal to prepare that both tastes good and provides high calories. In my book, this is a winner!
So, even as easy as this is, I had to make a video about it. So, please enjoy this short video in which I prepare the meal from start to finish…
Thanks for watching!