Eat Indian food in the woods!

Pre-made pouched Indian meals are a great vegan trail food option. I’ve mentioned it before, but wanted to expand a bit. They’re called “ready to eat,” and are not dehydrated. Usually packaged in a strong plastic pouch, they’re plenty durable enough for carrying. I discovered them during my thru-hike while scouring the grocery store for some non-couscous meal ideas. I was able to find them in a lot of stores, especially larger ones with more food diversity. Natural food stores also stock them.

They’re super tasty, several vegan flavors, pack some decent calories, and are a really easy food to eat on the trail.

Pros: 

  • Delicious. Seriously. India has amazing vegetarian food that is often vegan or can easily be made vegan. Anyone who says vegan food can’t be flavorful should go eat at an Indian restaurant…
  • Already cooked. I’ve eaten it cold right from the pouch, but it’s better if you heat it up a little. On the trail I would boil water for some instant rice, and then just mix the pouch in with the cooked rice.
  • Relatively easy to find, especially larger grocery stores. When you find them, usually at least one or two varieties will be vegan. (Unlike Knorr Sides, which has so many flavors and so few vegan ones, that even if a store carries them, they’re probably won’t be a vegan one).
  • Approximately 400-500 calories per pouch. High in protein and fat.

Cons:

  • Reasonable weight. They usually weigh around 9-10 ounces. Light enough to carry a couple out of town, but I probably wouldn’t want to carry more than three or four…
  • Won’t find them in smaller towns. When I packed mail drops for northern New England, I included a couple in each box for dinners.
  • Probably not enough by itself for a full thru-hiker meal. I mixed mine with a little instant rice, and ate it with a tortilla or two.
Here’s some brands and nutrition info: Tasty Bite has a list of their vegan options, I love channa masala (chick peas). Kitchens of India brand has a number of vegan options, including Chick Peas Curry and Red Kidney Beans Curry. Two Indian companies make ready to eat meals, including Swad and MTR. Those two don’t have nutrition info online, but I know that both have several vegan options. Trader Joe’s stores also have their own brand of ready to eat Indian meals that are vegan too, though I didn’t find any Trader Joe’s stores along the AT.

Well, here’s to eating delicious Indian vegan food on a thru-hike!

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1 Comment

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One response to “Eat Indian food in the woods!

  1. Thomas

    I’ve been hiking in the Columbia Gorge and eating Tasty Bite pouches!
    I sit on a log and savor every last bit. Definitely concur. I’ll be bringing them along during this year’s field season (backcountry Southwest).

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