Nearly every traveler we met along the Carretera Austral told us about the impossibility of finding fresh fruits and vegetables along the route, so we expected to spend an entire month eating entirely out of cans or consuming nothing but rice and lentils.
Fortunately, the legend proved false, for the most part.
The fruit wasn’t always in the greatest condition – much of it was bruised or rotted. I’ll never understand why they thought it a good idea to transport delicate fruits like bananas thousands of kilometers over gravel roads. Let’s just say they were well beyond banana bread ripe. They’d be perfect for banana ice cream. If only I had a Vitamix and a freezer along for the ride.
The trouble came when we had to carry foods to last five days, as Dave, Sora, and I traveled slowly along Carretera Austral, with its slippery hilly gravel roads forcing us to push much of the time. By the time day four rolled around, any fresh produce had either become mush or had begun to rot, given the additional bumpy kilometers we added to their lives.
Nevertheless, we found plentiful fruits and veggies, most of the time. And since many of those fruits and veggies had to last over several days of travel. I stocked up on more durable items like potatoes, onions, and garlic. Coupled with a few canned goods, I knew at once, the perfect meal that would stay fresh between long distances between grocery stores: Samosa Filling.
This samosa filling recipe comes together quickly and easily and packs a ton of flavor with all the Indian spices. It is the perfect meal to prepare on a chilly night, as the heat from the spices warms your bones after a long day outside.
Since the canned items are so heavy and fresh vegetables are not easy to find each day for quick lunches, I make enough for leftovers for the next day.
Meet a recipe so versatile that I even made it once on a boat! While waiting for a ferry to take us across a lake on the Carretera Austral, I started making this meal. The boat left earlier than I had thought and I was midway through the cooking process.
Fortunately, the staff on the boat was super accommodating and let me take over their snug little kitchen on the boat so we could finish our meal. So when I say this can be cooked anywhere, I mean it!
This spicy samosa filling is packed with vegetables that will warm you up at camp after a long day of outdoor adventure.
- 1.5 cups jasmine rice
- 1 medium potato diced into 1cm cubes
- 1 small onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 T garam masala
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 8. oz can diced tomatoes
- ½ cup peas*
- 1.5 cup chickpeas or one 15 oz can
- Salt and pepper to taste
Pour rice into the pot and lay the potato pieces over the top of the rice. Cover with water by two inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to a simmer for about 20 minutes, or until rice and potatoes are cooked through. Remove from heat and keep lid on to retain heat.
Meanwhile, dice your onion and garlic and prepare the remainder of the ingredients for the stew.
Once your rice and potatoes have cooked, switch to a pan and set over medium heat with a tablespoon of oil. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the spices and stir to coat the onion and garlic for about a minute, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, peas**, chickpeas, and about ¼ cup of water, or more to thin, if preferred. Allow to simmer until heated through, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, layer the rice and potatoes on the bottom of a bowl or plate and top with the samosa filling stew.
Store any leftovers in an insulated food canister, like Klean Kanteen.
* I've used both frozen and canned peas and both work just fine. I just put the remaining peas in a Klean Kanteen or sealed in a bag to use the following day.
** If using frozen peas, which have not yet defrosted, the heating time will be a bit longer than if you were to use thawed or canned peas.
***Remember, this makes a ton of food, so keep the extra for left overs!