Camp Food

The junior kitchen family went camping over the weekend, (okay, Kitchen Mom’s idea of camping, because it was an air-conditioned cabin in the woods) and we had an opportunity to do some outdoor grilling. We took along a bunch of vegetables and this Asian cookbook.

We modified a couple of the Indian recipes and came up with versions of vegetable skewers and roasted eggplant. Kitchen Dad also roasted some sweet potatoes, which is an easy, delicious way to make them.

Camp-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Simply light a fire, let it burn down until there are plenty of embers. While that’s going on, lay your sweet potatoes on sheets of tin foil, poke with a fork or knife along one side, pour on about a tablespoon of oil or butter, then wrap securely in tin foil and bury ’em in the embers for 45 minutes or so – until soft, caramelized and delectable. Let them cook while you do the rest of the cooking. They’re the easiest thing to make and always the star of the campfire meal.

Roasted Eggplant

  • Several eggplants
  • oil
  • garlic cloves
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala spice mix (available at Indian groceries, or made at home)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves (depending on your Garam Masala mix – some are very clovey, ours wasn’t.)
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

Unless you have thin, Asian eggplants, cut eggplants into quarters to ensure they cook through. Rub the outside of the eggplant with oil and cut slits to insert slivers of garlic in the flesh.

Roast on a hot grill until the skin blackens and the eggplant is soft inside.


Meanwhile, heat cumin seeds and cloves in oil in a skillet until they’re brown and toasty. Add the onions and stir-fry until lightly browned. Then add the coriander, red pepper and garam masala. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and continue to stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes. Scoop out the eggplant, mix it in with salt, and stir until dry and soft. Sprinkle with cilantro, serve over rice or naan bread.

Vegetable Skewers

  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • pineapple slices
  • mushrooms, either small heads (better) or sliced portobellos (seemed like a good idea at the time)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • cherry tomatoes
  • long thin wooden sticks (we let the kids hunt for the perfect sticks to help keep them busy, but you can use store-bought wooden skewers)

(The original recipe also called for cubes of paneer, or Indian cheese, but making that was too much like work.)


  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 Tbs oil
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Mix spices, oil and yogurt together, and marinate the peppers, onions and mushrooms for a couple of hours (We did this in the refrigerator, because this wasn’t really camping.)


We let the kids assemble the skewers.




…with a little help.


After they’re assembled…


…place them on the grill.


Grill until tender.

Serve hot.

(Note: the pictures show flames in the grill and burnt edges on the vegetables. This was the product of Kitchen Dad’s exuberance for fire – the skewers taste slightly better when grilled over embers and not actually slightly blackened by enthusiastic outdoor chefs.)