Gourmet Camping Recipe: Middle Eastern Basmati Rice

Campfire Middle Eastern Basmati Rice

Campfire Middle Eastern Basmati Rice

It seems like most people I talk to are timid about cooking rice over a campfire.  They’re either afraid of burning the crap out of it, under cooking it completely, or having a sticky mess stuck to their dutch which may just never come out.  But with a little know how, the right ingredients, and the correct preparation methods, cooking rice at your campsite can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

The first tip, which is probably the most critical, is to choose the proper rice for the outdoor cooking experience.  Regular plain short-grain rice can be cooked outdoors, but its high starch content is prone to sticking and burning over higher heat.  Jasmine works alright, but I’ve found that it often will stick and leave a mess to clean up that I’d prefer not to hassle with.  I’ve found that basmati is perfect.  Basmati rice’s long-grain texture is naturally lower in starch, making it the perfect choice for dutch oven cooking.

The second tip is to toast your rice in oil first.  This will not only help to prevent the rice from sticking to your dutch oven, but will help to season the rice as well.

The third tip is to tend your campfire heat closely.  You first want a higher-heat fire to bring your rice to a full boil, but will then quickly want a low-heat fire to simmer the rice over.  It is best to build a hot fire and let it burn for 45-minutes or so to get a good bed of coals going.  Then, add a few sticks on top of the coals to have small flames that will help to bring the rice to a boil.  Place your dutch oven on a campfire rack about a foot above the coal bed with the small flames dancing happily beneath the dutch oven.  Once the rice is boiling, put on the dutch oven lid, remove the burning sticks, spread out the coals (to reduce their heat), and let the rice simmer for 20-30 minutes until tender.  You will likely need to refuel the coals with small sticks several times during the cooking time.  If the fire/coals seam to get too hot, remove the dutch oven completely for a few minutes.  The dutch oven will retain the heat well enough for the rice to continue cooking for several minutes without the fire.  Just keep doing this to regulate the heat until the rice has cooked through.  Think “low simmer setting” on your stove back home.

Ingredients for Middle Eastern Basmati Rice

  • 4 cups basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 four-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamon pods
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • enough water to cover rice by 1-inch

This recipe makes enough rice to feed about 12 hungry campers, so adjust quantities as needed.

How to Cook Rice Over a Campfire in a Dutch Oven

Build and tend your campfire as outlined in Tip 3 above.  Place dutch oven (the footless rounded dome lid kind works best for this application, but the footed flat lid variety will work as well) on a campfire rack which is roughly 12-inches above the camp coals.  Heat until hot, then add the oil to the dutch oven.

Dutch Oven Over Campfire

Dutch Oven Over Campfire

Once the oil is shimmering, add the spices and cook until spices are fragrant and starting to brown, roughly 3 minutes.

Heat Oil and Spices in Dutch Oven Over Campfire

Heat Oil and Spices in Dutch Oven Over Campfire

Add the rice, and toss until all grains are coated with oil and they start to turn bright white, roughly 5 minutes.  Add enough water to cover rice by 1-inch (that’s roughly to the top of your first finger knuckle).  Bring to a full roiling boil, then cover with lid, reduce the heat (by removing any burning sticks and spreading out the coals), and simmer over low-heat for 20-minutes, or until rice is soft.  Remove lid, stir rice, cover with lid, and remove from heat.  Allow to rest off the heat for about another 5 minutes to insure that the top grains you just mixed into the rest of the rice are cooked soft.

Serve with your favorite camp dish, like Campfire Chicken Shawarma.

Recipe by Jothan Yeager, July 2014

 

The Bald Gourmet shares a delicious recipe for Campfire Rice, Middle Eastern style.

 

Gourmet Camping Recipe: Middle Eastern Basmati Rice
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

It seems like most people I talk to are timid about cooking rice over a campfire. They’re either afraid of burning the crap out of it, under cooking it completely, or having a sticky mess stuck to their dutch which may just never come out. But with a little know how, the right ingredients, and the correct preparation methods, cooking rice at your campsite can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Author:
Recipe type: Camping, Side Dish
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 12-15 hungry campers

Ingredients
  • 4 cups basmati rice
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 four-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamon pods
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • enough water to cover rice by 1-inch

Instructions
  1. Build and tend your campfire heat closely. You first want a higher-heat fire to bring your rice to a full boil, but will then quickly want a low-heat fire to simmer the rice over. It is best to build a hot fire and let it burn for 45-minutes or so to get a good bed of coals going. Then, add a few sticks on top of the coals to have small flames that will help to bring the rice to a boil, then to refuel the coals as needed.
  2. Place dutch oven (the footless rounded dome lid kind works best for this application, but the footed flat lid variety will work as well) on a campfire rack which is roughly 12-inches above the camp coals and sticks with small flames dancing happily beneath the dutch oven. Heat until hot, then add the oil to the dutch oven.
  3. Once the oil is shimmering, add the spices and cook until spices are fragrant and starting to brown, roughly 3 minutes.
  4. Add the rice, and toss until all grains are coated with oil and they start to turn bright white, roughly 5 minutes.
  5. Add enough water to cover rice by 1-inch (that’s roughly to the top of your first finger knuckle). Bring to a full roiling boil, then cover with lid, reduce the heat (by removing any burning sticks and spreading out the coals), and simmer over low-heat for 20-minutes, or until rice is soft. You will likely need to refuel the coals with small sticks several times during the cooking time. If the fire/coals seam to get too hot, remove the dutch oven completely for a few minutes. The dutch oven will retain the heat well enough for the rice to continue cooking for several minutes without the fire. Just keep doing this to regulate the heat until the rice has cooked through. Think “low simmer setting” on your stove back home.
  6. After 20 minutes, remove lid, stir rice, recover with lid, and remove from heat. Allow to rest off the heat for about another 5 minutes to insure that the top grains you just mixed into the rest of the rice are cooked soft.
  7. Serve with your favorite camp dish, like Campfire Chicken Shawarma.

Notes
This recipe makes enough rice to feed about 12 hungry campers, so adjust quantities as needed.

1 Comment + Add Comment

  • Years ago a Japanese-American woman from the state of Washington shared a recipe for cooking white rice in 12 ” cast iron camp Dutch oven using 5 cups of rice. This was all managed with briquettes. Can’t remember the amount of water but assume it was about 10 cups. I think the rice was also “rinsed” till it ran clear.

    Do you have any suggestions or comments regarding my primitive recipe? If I don’t hear from you I’ll cook this guessing my way along till I get it right.

    Thanks

    Dick Two Mules Wild

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I'm Jothan Yeager and I am The Bald Gourmet. After years of experimenting in my kitchen, creating delicious food and eating at amazing places around the world, I wanted a place to share my experiences with everyone. Thus the Bald Gourmet was born. I hope to open the doors of great food and great cooking to you, to inspire you to reach beyond prepared boxed meals, and to teach you of a world of deliciousness that has brought joy to me and those around me. Please enjoy the adventure which is The Bald Gourmet and share it with those you love.