For years Peanut Noodles has been a crowd favorite, usually ranking just below the world famous Beans & Rice. This backpacking dinner recipe goes on every single guided trip and on most personal trips, especially if I have a prepared batch of sauce already in the fridge.
The sauce has gone through several iterations, getting better each time. It’s actually worthy of at-home use — we usually pair it with a blackened chicken breast.
This video is helpful, but note that the recipe has been updated.
- Recommended meal weight: 5.7 oz
- Total calories: 796
- Caloric density: 141 calories/ounce
If you have a gluten sensitivity, swap the Top Ramen for Millet and Brown Rice Ramen from Lotus Foods.
Cashews are not critical, but they improve flavor and texture. They can be substituted for raisins or crushed peanuts. Or, use more than one.
Since we first developed this recipe, the sauce has become more involved, now with eight ingredients. The effort is more easily justified by making a large batch, like for a group, a long solo hike, or mixed field/home use. If you need to simplify it (at the expense of flavor), the most critical ingredients are:
- Peanut butter
- Toasted sesame oil (or olive oil, at the expense of flavor)
- Soy sauce
Per each two-ounce serving of the sauce, use about 0.04 ounces garlic and 0.01 ounces of ginger. A normal postal scale will not register these trace amounts; you need to buy a drug scale or to make a 10-serving batch.
For our guided groups, we don’t add Sriracha chili sauce because some clients object to the spiciness. But we love it. For each 2-ounce serving, add about 0.04 ounces. A field-friendly alternative are red pepper flakes, which are part of the universal spice kit.
While I haven’t personally tried it, an alternative butter (e.g. cashew, almond, or sunflower) would avoid peanut allergy concerns.
Ramen noodles have their own packaging, and I normally leave them that way. The exception is a short solo trip, when at home I may crush up the noodles and re-bag them with the raisins or crushed cashews.
The raisins or crushed cashews are bagged separately and divided in the field.
The sauce should be made at home. Mix all of the listed ingredients, minus the noodles and cashews. I recommend making big batches with a kitchen mixer, unless you want an arm workout.
Carry the sauce into the field in a 4- or 8-oz Nalgene HDPE Container or a 16- or 32-oz Nalgene Wide-Mouth Bottle. Even if you only need one serving, do not attempt to use a 2-oz bottle to save a few grams over the 4-oz or 8-oz size — you will struggle to pour the sauce into it and to clean it later.
- If you prefer smaller noodle pieces to long, stringy ones, crush the noodles before opening the package. But be careful — the package can rip open.
- Discard the “flavor” packet, which isn’t necessary and might over-salt the meal.
- Bring to a boil at least 1.25 cups (10 oz, 300ml) of water.
- Add the Ramen and the cashews, turn off the stove or let it burn out, and let the noodles sit for 5 minutes.
- Add the sauce.
If you use more than the minimum 1.25 cups of water, everything can be added at the very beginning, since the extra water will prevent scorching the ingredients.
To get the sauce out of the bottle, we add water and shake vigorously. A 32-ounce bottle becomes very clean after two or three rounds.
Have questions or an experience with this meal? Leave a comment.
Disclosure. I strive to offer field-tested and trustworthy information, insights, and advice. I have no financial affiliations with or interests in any brands or products, and I do not publish sponsored content
This website is supported by affiliate marketing, whereby for referral traffic I receive a small commission from select vendors like Amazon or REI, at no cost to the reader. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Tags: Meal time: Backpacking breakfast & dinner recipes, Video
This looks like a great recipe! I cannot wait to try it. Thanks
i can attest that this dish is very yummy indeed!
Sounds good. Are all the ounce measurements weight or volume?
Weight. I put everything on a postal scale. It’s much easier to plan and make large quantities this way, and the weight better corresponds to caloric density.
Not so easy for making single servings. Do you have ingredients by volume? This is delicious though… Just made it for lunch as a test and it’s awesome. I think I went a little too hot with the siracha though. Lol
No, sorry, I always go by weight.
Indeed, this recipe isn’t great for single servings. It’s best for groups, or for longer solo trips when you could have it for a few nights.
I use the original recipe, and I multiply by eight. When mixed, put the batch on a plate, and smooth it into a round, flat shape. Cut into eighths, separate out each pie-slice shaped segment, roll each into a ball, and then refrigerate. Go backpacking soon, or it gets eaten for up for lunches very quickly.
Please try the new recipe and let me know what you think.
I can relate to your problem. Knowing that I have a 16-oz bottle of it in the fridge makes for almost too easy of a fallback if I don’t have a dinner plan.
Another storage option might be making a diy condiment bag. Their is instructions on Instructibles titled, “Backpacking Food Bags”.
I’d like to try this recipe, but need to ask a clarifying question first. In your YouTube video where you make this recipe in camp, you add Siracha, but in this online article with all ingredients listed, Siracha is omitted. Why?
Also, in the online article ingredient list, you have both olive oil and toasted sesame oil listed? Is it cook’s choice of one or the other, or are you suggesting to add both oils?
Lastly, the photo of your mixer bowl shows a large glob of a red substance but I don’t see what that substance would be from looking at your ingredient list. Can you clarify?
Thank you for your commitment to educate the masses. I’m really enjoying your website and getting excited about my next outdoor trip.
Thomas from FL
Sriracha can be divisive. I prefer it, but we omit it for groups for those who are more heat-sensitive.
Toasted sesame oil is quite strong, and you need to be careful about adding too much, which is why we cut it with olive oil. But if you want to pick just one, go with the sesame oil.
The red glob in the mixer photo is Sriracha.
I had some Thai peanut curry for lunch and thought I would look for a backpacking version and found this. I will have to try it. I was looking at your simplified version for people (like me) who want to keep things as simple as possible. I thought you could cut the ingredient list by one more if you used the flavor package that comes with the ramen isteado of the soy sauce. That flavor pack is basically dehydrated soy sauce and soup bullion.
If you want to simplify, just a mixture of PB and soy sauce (and rice vinegar if you want) can make an adequate peanut sauce. For 1 or 2 people I want to try using powdered PB with some seasoning/spice and just add some soy with little take-out soy packets. But you raise an interesting point about the flavor packet.
I’ve been making my version for several yrs now making up larger numbers of prepackaged dinners for longer hikes happening not far into the future but using Taste of Thai dry Peanut Sauce mix(or Outdoor Herbivores dried PB that leaves the fat cals in), Taste of Thai Rice Noodles(they contain a pack of Chili oil), extra peanuts, green onions, and dry coconut milk. Sometimes I’ll slice a few bits of fresh sweet red pepper strips into it. Never dawned on me to add raisins.
Dogwood, your recipe sounds interesting. What quantities of each ingredient do you use?
How long could it be kept at room temperature?
Not sure. How long would you trust lime juice and soy sauce, the only refrigerate-after-opening ingredients, at room temperature? Probably longer than you would think — there is a lot of salt in the sauce.
I totally do not refrigerate soy sauce at home – never have. I’m…uh pretty sure you don’t have to. Source: am asian and soy sauce is basically used like table salt.
My Japanese grandparents never refrigerated Shoyu (Soy Sauce). They purchased it in bulk Gallon Cans and they were just stored in the pantry even after being opened.
Andrew, Could you give us the recipe for a large batch of sauce please?
And how do you portion out from a large batch?
I try to get it as even as I can. Some bowls get a little more, some a little less, but overall I can do a pretty good job of giving everyone an equal share.
Ok Andrew used this the other night out in the Sawatch as didn’t remember from trips and wanted to supplement my normal gourmet home dehydrated meals (ha!). Worked good and I am sure you keep things tame for clients not knowing how much salt or spice they like (and I know you bring spice kits to help with that).
So just a suggestion for others that made mine even better: add more salt (of course), and more important add some serious curry powder. Curry + wilderness = happiness.
Funny, because I often add curry to my peanut noodles too, though I’m doctoring just about every dish nowadays — I think I’ve had the Thai Peanut Noodle meal 50+ times.
Thanks for posting this. It’s indeed yummy and proof that you can eat tasty meals while backpacking. I sometimes add dehydrated peas and cilantro for variety. One question: When you’re traveling solo, and will eat this meal only once or maybe twice, how do you pack the sauce? Just in a smaller plastic container?
You can try a smaller plastic container. But make sure that it has a large opening — the sauce must be spooned out, not poured.
Interestingly, I just finished a 10-day trip and I intentionally did not take this meal for this exact reason. For 3 nights, I figured it was not worth the hassle of finding and carrying a small container. It was easier to take a 16-oz Platy filled with olive oil that could be used in all of my other meals.
Thanks for posting your recipes. This will be a great recipe for me and my husband’s next backpacking or bikepacking trip. I did a test run at home and I really like it. I used toasted sesame oil and really liked it, but not sure if it will really matter. I had it sitting in the fridge, so why not try it? I tried it with the peanuts, but actually liked it more without them. Maybe I’ll try the raisins next. We will have no problem devouring this for dinner. Red pepper flakes really helped too.
Tried this recipe on a recent 5 day backpacking trip. SO DELICIOUS!!!! Mahaloz and Cheers!
I made a recipe that looks to be almost identical using the Peanut Sauce Mix from A Taste of Thai (available at my local grocery store). This product has two foil pouches in the box. Each pouch has about 2 oz of sauce mix, which is pretty much the same as your recipe. You could supplement with olive oil and if you use the sauce mix package from the oriental flavor instant ramen (which is essentially dehydrated soy sauce) you get something that would seem to be almost the same. I added a couple of tablespoons of red lentils for extra fiber, protein, potassium. It also helps get a nice creamy consistency.
Just ran a test on this, multiplying the amounts by eight. I do not have high-end mixer, so I used a food processor with the blade for mixing dough. Seemed to work fine, although the resulting mixture was a little lighter than what is in your photograph, and also more granular.
Do the one-person amounts come from a linear scaling of the batch amounts? My first attempt was a little bland, so it’s more Sriracha sauce next time!
The difference in consistency could be due to the mixer or some of the ingredients, especially the peanut butter.
The 1-person amounts are scaled up for batch-making, not the other way around. I add extra salt and spices to my personal batches, too, but in a group setting it’s best to let each group member control their own spice settings.
Another way to get to peanut sauce is to do 1:1 of peanut butter and bottled sweet chili sauce. Sweet Chili Sauce is basically everything on the “sauce” recipe aside from the peanut butter.
I’ve seen this at some conventional grocery stores but if you have a good Asian Grocery around they’ll have it in big bottles. (And also ramen and other quick cooking noodles in bulk packs without the seasoning pack)
I am planning on making this for a group on an overnighter. I am thinking of combining the ingredients in the water as it heats, rather than mixing at home and then just putting in the water. See any reason this would not work out? I saw above a mechanical mixer was used, but it seems like if the ingredients (primarily the PB I guess) are thinned in heating water a mechanical mixer would not be necessary.
In theory that will work. It just ends up being a lot of ingredients to divide in the field. The most troublesome ingredient is the PB — it’s thick, and the sauce is difficult to mix once it’s added. A hybrid approach may work best, whereby you pre-mix the non-PB ingredients and then distribute the PB and non-PB rations in the field.
We tried this recipe last week and subbed PB2 for regular peanut butter. I just put all the sauce ingredients in a freezer bag with a bit of hot water before adding the ramen I cooked separately into the bag. Turned out great! The frito pie recipe was even more popular and I think it will come along on every backpacking trip.
Thanks for the response. I don’t plan to divide any ingredients up until the meal is complete. This is one pot for six people, a communal meal.
Just about finished with the whole batch I made, and I haven’t even been backpacking! Allow me to recommend http://www.explore-asian,com for their Jasmine Red Rice Noodles. They are gluten-free, vegan, organic, etc.
I tried your recipe and it is good. Just like Gordon I haven’t even taken it out in the field yet. I have a couple of additions though. One is Ginger. I added some sliced fresh ginger to the recipe and it gives it even more zing. I have also taken fresh ginger root out as its own ingredient and added to dishes in the field. It holds up well for a week or two, just keep it in a bag. It is also very cheap, like 50 cents for a big hunk.
My next addition might get a little resistance, but I also added fish sauce to the recipe. It gives it a more authentic flavor.
Keep up the recipes, maybe I will join you on a Yosemite trip some day.
I second the fish sauce motion. I have also found that adding green onion adds a lot.
Had this on the first night of a 2 night section of AT with my girlfriend and her father, who primarily relies on Mountain House dehydrated meals. Boom – it was a hit. Definitely a great reward for the end of a hard day, and going into our regular recipes for backpacking trips. Prep wasn’t too difficult, but without an ounce scale it required a a few tricky conversions. Added packaged chicken and will bring along some extra sriracha next time. Thanks so much for sharing!
A lighter weight and a less robust way I do the Thai Ramen is to bring the ramen noodles without the flavor packet, a Jiff “to-go” peanut butter cup, 2 packets of soy sauce from chinese take out, and a packet of sweet chili sauce from the market. Us 1.5 times the water for the ramen, this way you have water left for the sauce. Once the Ramen is cooked add the to go peanut butter, soy sauce, and sweet chili sauce. Light weight, minimal clean up and SIMPLE.
I had this a couple of weeks ago on a trip. Outstanding meal. A few of tweaks to improve prepping/portability/packaging – replaced peanut butter with 3/4-1 oz of PB2 powdered peanut butter – easier to portion out and store in a ziplock. Added a little more sugar and olive oil. Two Soy sauce packets from chinese takeout and 2 hot sauces from White Castle instead of Sriracha. Out on the trail, all prepared with 2 cups of water – which made for a soupy meal. In the future, I think I’ll add a bit of instant mashed potatoes to the mix to thicken up the dish and make it more substantial.
If one WERE to add curry powder, how much would you suggest?
No more than 0.1 oz per solo serving.
I will add as I do like a good curry zing..
Can store sealing with a Foodsaver. In fact, I keep all my bulk freeze dried and bulk dried fruits/sesame sticks/snack provisions fresh storing in Mason jars long term sealed with the Foodsaver mason jar attachment.
I tried this today in a “dry method” and it was amazing
.5 oz Peanut Powder Jif)
1/4 teaspoon siracha powder (didn’t register on the scale)
2 packets true lime (crystallized lime)
.05 oz garlic
.1 oz sugar
in the field
1.5 cups water,
.75 oz raisins
1 Soy Sauce packet (from Chinese take out)
~1.2 oz coconut oil (extra oil to replace the missing oil from the peanut butter)
Let sit 5 min and enjoy.
I did add quite a lot of salt and a bit of curry from my spice kit.
This is for sure one of my new favorites.
would it be over ambitious to add dehydrated chicken to this dish?
Unless you are looking to add calories and volume, you’d want to take out an equal amount — the dish is the right size for most, as is.
Getting ready to make the sauce tomorrow. Rather than carry a potentially leaking container, I’m going to try freezing individual portions in an ice-cube tray and then sealing it in small “packets” with the Foodsaver.
I really enjoyed this recipe during a 15-day trek last summer.
I have carried this sauce many times, plus other potentially messy things like olive oil, and I think you’re making it unnecessarily fussy.
Store it in a container, and store the container inside a freezer bag (gallon or quart). Done.
We carried 20 servings worth in 6 zip lock bags on a recent trip. The bags were double bagged. I can only attest to the two bags I cooked with, one had the inner bag leak a fair amount, but it was all contained in the outer bag. I suspect that if the sample size got big enough that even double bagging it would leak at some point, but I would use double bagging again. Maybe using a freezer bag the next time though.
You put the peanut sauce in standard storage bags? Wow, that was bold. Glad it wasn’t a disaster. I know that Tupperware adds a few ounces, but it seems like a good investment to me. If I’m on a trip where such ounces matter, I’ll go with some of my other meals.
This is one of my favorite recipes but there is a powder peanut butter that has come onto the market and that is what I use. A little more light weight and I can mix all of my ingredients into a zip block which I cook and eat the meal out of it. PB2 is the product
Hi there just wanted to say this is an excellent source of info and probably the best hiking recipes I’ve come across!
I may have missed it but I can’t actually see the steps of how to make the sauce for this dish?
The sauce is easy: mix all the ingredients together.
Has anyone verified the updated recipe is platypus capable now? I see the update note:
Update (March 13, 2017)
I have modified the sauce, to reduce the number of ingredients and to make it runnier, so that it can be more easily poured from a bottle in the field. If you prefer a thicker version, add more peanut butter and less olive oil.
Just want to know someone has actually poured this INTO and out of a platypus type container.
At room temperature it is probably Platy-compatible. At home I keep it in a wide-mouth Nalgene, which makes it easier to scoop after refrigeration-consistency. Plus, the Nalgene cleans up better in the dishwasher.
I dispensed the original formulation of the sauce in 1 oz single serving cups ( the small containers that extra cheese or red paper flakes come in with pizza). Not a single mishap during a 1-month through hike during which I used Andrew’s Thai noodle recipe 8 times. Easy to scrape out into the pot, easy to control portions, easy to dispense into portions, minimal packaging dead weight.
Another take on a similar recipe using only dry ingredients:
1.75 – 2 cups of water
1 package Ramen noodles or Taste of Thai Brown rice noodles (yummier)
1 package of Taste of Thai Peanut sauce mix
1 oz dry coconut milk powder
1 oz chopped peanuts (sprinkled on top after cooking)
Can be prepared in a pot or as a freezer bag meal if so desired with all dry ingredients mixed in the bag. It’s slightly spicy due to the peanut sauce mix. Could be jazzed up with some olive oil for more calories, raisins for sweetness or soy sauce for saltiness.
I would like to know what appears red in the image displaying the mixing of the sauce and in the completed meal image on the top there are green herbs in the dish
The red ingredient in the mixing bowl is Sriracha sauce, which adds spice and flavor but which some find too hot. The green herbs in the top photo is probably some leftover green onion that I had on the trip for another meal. Not necessary.
If the cal/oz are correct for all your ingredients (and I think they are), then your recipe is 810 calories for 5.7 oz, not 710 calories. Just thought you (and everyone else planning their meals) should know
Good catch, thanks. The cal/oz formula was not accounting for the peanuts.
That bumps up the cal/oz nicely. 142 now.
In Seattle we have a lot of asian foods even at our local grocery stores. Here are a couple of other options:
Lotus Foods Millet and Brown Rice Ramen. Almost double the carbs (19g/oz vs 10 for Top Ramen noodles), and twice the fiber. Also much lower fat, which isn’t that important, but which can also be easily supplemented other ways if you want more. It also comes in a 30 oz bag (12 cakes) without the seasoning. I can’t remember the price. I’m sure it is more expensive.
Soba noodles have about 22g of carbs per oz.
Rice stick noodles have a little over 100 cal and about 24g of carbs per oz
All of these are lower in cal/oz due to the lower fat content (not fried), but the oil and PB are much more calorie dense anyway. Adding raisins would boost it as well.
Another variation would be to use sweet soy sauce, eliminate the honey, and reduce the regular soy (or use low sodium soy sauce)
I make something similar using Thai Kitchen Gluten Free Red Curry Paste, 4 oz from Walmart. It’s $2.50. To it I add some coconut milk and a scoop of peanut butter. If you like curry use the entire 4 oz but if you have two people and a big enough pot for 2 bags of ramen, use all 4 ounces. Love the site!!!!!
I have been online for the last hour. There is no way to print this recipe. Once I write it down, I have to translate weight to volume.
If you want to be useful to Joe Backpacker, consider making the recipes printable, with measurements available in any middle class kitchen.
I’m old–61–and have been backpacking since I was 17. None of this is insurmountable, but it should be easier.
To print, use the button on the left side of the screen with the printer icon. Or, depress Ctr + P. It works fine for me in the Chrome browser; not sure what you’re using.
As far as measurements go, I actually don’t know what they are with standard measuring devices, e.g. tablespoons and cups. By using weight, it is extremely easy to scale up or down this recipe. For example, if I want to make 10 servings, I just multiply the weights by 10. Sometimes, I’m making 50 servings, in which case I multiple everything by 50.
As with many recipes, exact precision is not always necessary. 🙂
Well, I just turned 65, and although I’ve been backpacking for less than five years now, I bought a scale, and it works just fine to weigh both my gear and the ingredients in Andrew’s recipes. 😉 And, while printing is good, I cut and paste his recipes into emails that I send to my iPad. It’s a great tool in the kitchen!
What is the red ingredient in the mixer in the picture above? I don’t see any red ingredients in your recipe. Thanks!
Sriracha sauce. Optional ingredient. Not recommended for those who don’t like spicy heat.
I love your recipes, especially the beans and rice, but I think you should remove the msg comment on this one. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that msg is harmful and the origin of the thinking that msg is bad is probably rooted in racist anti-asian sentiment. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51139005)
It is probably a good idea to remove the flavor packet due to the massive sodium content though!
Funny comment, because I saw a similar article, can’t recall where, and the writer was raving about the stuff, to the degree that I keep making a mental note to look for it in stores.
Has been removed.
I’m considering making the big batch, freezing into 4 oz portions then vacuum sealing/freezing for long term storage. Have you ever frozen this before?
The current batch in our fridge has probably been in there since April. There’s nothing in it that would go bad in this time, so there’s no reason to freeze it (especially since we couldn’t then use it on any random weekday night when we’re looking for a meal).
I have frozen batches before, with no ill effect to it, but I don’t think it’s necessary unless you’re talking about storage time that is beyond the “best buy” for the least shelf-stable ingredient, which I believe is the peanut butter.
I couldn’t get the ingredient list to show up. Got a “the connection was reset” message. Not sure if the problem is at my end or the site.
I just checked and it’s fine for me. What kind of browser are you using? The ingredients are listed in an embedded Google Sheet, which uses a routine
Simplified recipe, keeping ratios more or less intact:
12oz jar peanut butter (has honey added already)
1-2 Tbsp strong soy sauce or coconut aminos
1/4c olive oil
1/8 tsp granulated garlic
chili flakes to taste
That’s it! 🙂
Thanks for sharing the recipe, seems yammy!
I will give it a try!
Tried this a short backpacking trip this weekend. It was so good I had to make it back home to see if it was really that…yep, it was. Love the ease of make on the trail. Thanks!
I just made this at home as a test run. It turned out really nice. I went ahead and added the 1 1/2 cups water for the “mid” soupy meal. At first I thought it was going to be too soupy but as soon as the meal was cool enough the eat, the consistency was perfect (about 8 minutes). Next time I’ll try a bit more water. I added dried cranberries to mine just because they were in the cabinet and it was delicious! What I like most about this meal is that I had all the ingredients already at home (minus the noodles), and the total cost was less than a dollar. Great recipe! Can’t wait to try it on the trail!
Is there anywhere one could still find the original recipe? I’ve used it previously with great results, and would love to continue using it!
I could probably dig it up, but it’s simpler than that: just don’t use as much olive oil, and/or add more peanut butter. The old recipe was thicker, to the point that it had to be scooped out of a Tupperware container. This new recipe is runnier and can be stored in a bottle.
Am I one of your few Asian readers?
Not many Asian recipes call for olive oil.
My ex has a Thai restaurant, sesame oil would be the expected oil to use for peanut sauce but not when one uses peanut butter; oil is typically used when freshly crushing peanuts.
A little freshly ground ginger is also pretty standard, as is a splash of lime juice and coconut juice.
Variations in peanut sauce recipes will occur within regions of Thailand, as well as Indonesia and Singapore and Malaysia.
No idea how many Asian readers I have, but you’re at least the first that’s taken issue with the use of olive oil in this meal.
There is a simple explanation why I use olive oil: because it is available at Costco in bulk, where I get most of my backpacking food for solo and guided trips. I’ll look next time I’m there for sesame oil, but I feel like I’ve looked before with no luck.
Also for consideration, too much sesame can be a little overpowering for some folks. My kids, for example. 🙂
Andrew – to clarify, based on responses above your recipe sounds like it tastes perfectly fine and meets your goals for trail nutrition (i.e., does not need to be changed) – just pointing out culinary observations and potential options to make it more authentic.
MarkL is correct, sesame oil powerful, a little goes a long way.
While we’re on the subject, most Americans and Canadians and Europeans assume that when an Asian recipe says “soy sauce”, that using a Kikkoman (from Japan) is the right ingredient.
This is incorrect.
Soy sauce varies widely, from Japan to China to Southeast Asia and the Phillipines.
For Thai cooking, there are thin and thick soy sauces, both are somewhat sweeter than Kikkoman.
You would have to go to an Asian market to find these, but a typical Thai soy sauce brand is Healthy Boy, which can also be sourced from Amazon.
Little variations such as using sesame oil, ginger, a splash of lime juice or coconut milk, and using the correct soy sauce, will go a long way to helping your recipe taste authentic.
I love sweet soy sauce. Here in Seattle we have great Asian markets, so it is pretty easy to find, along with fish sauce. I can vouch for Andrew’s recipe, though. I have made it a couple times. As I noted above, with sweet sauce you can reduce the honey and soy sauce.
I can attest that adding 2tbsp of powdered coconut milk to the recipe as shown above in the post is indeed the next level. I added it to the water + noodles after they were cooked.
Just makes it even tastier and adds a sweet richness to the soupy sauce.
I also added a few pieces of sesame ginger chicken jerky while cooking and subbed the peanuts with a packet of cashews.
I see why you eat this at home too Andrew. It’s amazing.
I sooo wanted to love this sauce, as hundreds of others have. But it just tasted like peanut butter with soy sauce in it, when I followed the recipe. So here’s one that’s got more stuff in it, and to me tastes better for those who are looking for something similar. I think the sesame oil and curry paste adds a lot.
Adapted from Picturetherecipe.com’s Thai Peanut Sauce:
1 tbsp sesame oil.
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced super fine.**USE GARLIC POWDER or dried garlic instead for the trail
1 tbsp Red Thai Curry paste.
1 cup lite coconut milk. *USE COCONUT MILK POWDER (found at health food stores)
3/4 cup creamy, natural peanut butter.
2 tbsp soy sauce (use gluten free for GF)
2-4 tbsp light brown sugar (depending on your preferred sweetness)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more, depending on your preferred hotness)
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of 1/2-1 lime *USE POWDERED TrueLIME by True Citrus products, online and sometimes at walmart)
crushed roasted peanuts-for garnish
I haven’t figured out the exact powder to coconut milk conversion (ie how much powder to use in place of liquid coconut milk) but I thought I’d throw this recipe out there for others to try! I imagine you could make this recipe as written for the trail and hope it stays ok for about a week, after all-coconut milk comes from coconuts which are not naturally refrigerated. But I haven’t tested the shelf-stability yet.
I’ve been playing around with sesame oil and coconut powder, too, and agree that both add a lot to the flavor. I need to make some big batches prior to trips in late-June, and I will post an updated recipe then.
Nice! Will be looking forward to this..
Awesome! Thanks, Andrew!
Looking forward to updated recipe!
The recipe has been updated. I played around with ratios last month on my guided trips, and think these new numbers work pretty well. I’ll re-test soon, since I’m leaving for a trip on Monday.
To simplify things, you could leave out the olive oil entirely, but the sauce would end up being really thick without it, and not pour-able. And if you used sesame oil for all of the oil (i.e. olive oil amount + sesame oil amount), it probably would be too sesame-ish for most people.
May I interject that a fair-tasting sesame oil can be made by heating a teaspoon of sesame seeds in a half cup or less of olive oil? I’ve done this before, using my metal drinking cup over a few live coals from the camp fire.
With sesame oil, a little goes a long way; using less oil may change the desired consistency (too thick).
Hope you’re safe out there, with all of the fires in the Western US and Canada.
Baby food containers are perfect for transporting the sauce.
As a non-parent, I’ll need you to specify a brand or model. I’m imagining glass containers with insecure lids that are meant to be stored upright in the fridge, so you must be thinking of something different.
Sorry, more specific the Elacra 3.4 oz leak-proof food containers are what I use for my son. They weigh .8 oz, and the measurements you lay out in the video makes it the perfect size for one to maybe even two meals worth of sauce. They can be found on Amazon in a 10 pack for under $20.The lid has four locks, and I would never worry about it opening or leaking. Always love this recipe, Thanks.
Yay! My dad bought a freeze-dryer.. Now I can make this at home, sauce and all, and not have to have the extra weight and bulk of the storage container for the sauce, no worries about leakage or smell contamination. Will add chicken as well, and add raisins AND nuts.. Love this recipe, it has been our go-to for a while now.. This, and the cheesy potatoes.. 🙂
I don’t think a freeze drier will help as much as you suggest. It is largely oil that makes the sauce runny, and freeze drying will not affect that. You could devise a recipe that used oil-removed peanuts, which are a powder, and then carry the oil component separately, which would be easier to dispense, and maybe less messy, but still would need some kind of container for the oil (though these can be lighter (like a disposable water bottle).
Hmm.. One way to find out. Freeze-dryers can handle a little bit of oil, it just can’t be the main ingredient.
if you can’t find the powdered coconut milk you might try coconut oil. plus it’s a solid when cold
Andrew, have you ever encountered problems with mold? I made a batch, stored room temp for about a month, and just went to put in my resupply — in an 8 oz Nalgene— and there was black mold on the rim of the cap. I washed it off and still put in the resupply but now I’m having second thoughts. Advice?
I’ve never had issues with mold. But my bottles regularly go only about two weeks without refrigeration: one week of shipping and transit to the trailhead, and one week in the field. All the ingredients are shelf-stable, so I’m uncertain what would have caused the mold.
ok good to know. It may be that some water was in the cap from rinsing it, and that created an opportunity for mold. I did some other 4-oz bottles and those look fine. But I think to be on the safe side I’ll stick to shorter trips. (My test at home was YUMMY btw!)
I adapted this recipe. Substituted powdered peanut butter for the regular stuff. Added a packet of Real Lime (freeze-dried lime juice crystals available in supermarket baking aisle.) The lime adds a serious kick of Thai flavor. Substituted dried coconut flakes instead of coconut milk powder for more interesting texture (“mouth feel”). Used cashew halves rather than peanuts, since the mixture already has peanut butter. Added dried soy-based textured vegetable protein (TVP). TVP has no flavor but absorbs all the other flavors well and weighs very little for the protein it delivers. Left out the sesame oil, soy sauce and honey, since my version is already packed with flavor and calories. Yum!
Could this be dehydrated then just add the oils in the field? Thinking it would make almost a peanut butter brittle that would rehydrate and just do it as freezer bag cooking (I know it’s not for Andrew but I hate field dishes)
One dish/pot. And did you see how he cleans it?
Loved this recipe. Ate it twice: once at home to try it out, and once backpacking. Leann’s recipe sounds like a traditional Thai peanut sauce which is similar to a Thai coconut curry (if you added peanuts).
A good hack for this sauce, or any thick sauce, is to use the 4 ounce HDPE Nalgene for a single serving but before you eat, put in 2 ounces of hot water and shake it like a cocktail shaker before pouring it into the noodles.
This loosens everything up and makes the Nalgene bottle super easy to clean afterwards.
Otherwise, you will have a gloppy mess that is impossible to get clean without really getting your fingers super sticky. It also helps you get all of the sauce out…
I just read through all of the comments looking for if it needed to be refrigerated or not. My wife can’t have soy sauce, so I’m substituting coconut aminos, which are supposed to be refrigerated after opening. I’m going to make a big batch up later this week, and set some aside on the counter to see how it does.
Has anyone tried to freeze this and get it through airport security? They won’t allow pasty semi-liquids like peanut butter, but I wonder if this maybe has enough water to qualify as a solid when frozen.
Great inspiration. I immediately had two thoughts. First, it sounded very similar to a Sesame Butterfly Noodles recipe I’ve been making at home for years (I only wish there was a trail-friendly substitute for the julienned snow peas). Second, how could I make a variation that’s thru-hiker resupply friendly? After some experimentation, here’s what I came up with:
1 pkg ramen noodles (without flavor packet) [356 Cal; 81 g]
4 Tbsp peanut butter powder (PB Fit brand) [140 Cal; 32 g]
2 Tbsp pine nuts (Trader Joe’s) [112 Cal; 17 g]
1 Tbsp Teriyaki seasoning powder [25 Cal; 7 g]
(Koreyo Stir-Fry Garlic & Ginger from http://www.swaggerfoods.com)
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds [34 Cal; 6 g]
2 tsp dried basil [3 Cal; 1.4 g]
½ Tbsp coconut milk powder [30 Cal; 4 g]
(Native Forest or Grace brand)
1 tsp sugar [16 Cal; 4 g]
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper [1 Cal; 0.2 g] (optional)
1 Tbsp olive oil [120 Cal; 13.5 g]
Add dry ingredients to 1 1/3 c water; bring to a boil; add ramen and olive oil; boil 1 minute; rest 5 minutes.
837 cal; 166 g; 5.86 oz; 143 Cal/oz
I agree with other comments that True Lime packets would be an interesting optional addition. This version does include some heat, which I consider a requirement rather than an option. Other teriyaki seasonings (or using less) may impact the need for added salt, black pepper, or more cayenne.
I seem to recall you had an earlier version of this which included siracha and maybe lime juice (circa 2014 or so?). Any chance you still have that recipe and could share?
Thanks Andrew! I love the recipe and had it several times on a recent trip. Container weight being an issue is a good point. I found 4 oz Nalgene Tritan jars work great for storage (still stored inside a freezer bag). They hold two meals worth and made getting the sauce out at the end of the day painless. They’re heavy, but are slightly lighter (with an even number of meals per trip) than using a 4 oz Nalgene HDPE per meal, and might be more user friendly. The recipe definitely warrants the weight penalty.
Andrew, you have convinced me to start cooking in my pot, moving from freezer bag cooking. But since I am usually with my wife, and we will be using one pot for cooking, do I just need to double the recipe? I know that that might seem like a dumb question, but sometimes when doubling a recipe, water amounts and times are different that being doubled.
The meal scales up linearly. Enjoy it!
Just made a batch of the new recipe to test. Delicious! But, I don’t find it as filling as beans and rice.
Could you put the sauce mix in a vacuum seal bag (not suctioned before sealing) then squeeze it out?
I’ve not tried, but that should work. Vacuum seal plastic is pretty tough.
i have done that, and it works well. I used the kind of vacuum seal bags that are dual, with seals and a perforation in the middle, so they hold modest amounts in a better format. I had no leakage, it light to pack in and out (empty), and easy to dispense (I warmed it up by putting it in the boiling noodles). It is also good for freezing for future storage
I even shipped a dose of the Thai peanut sauce to my sister by US Mail in the vacuum sealed pouch. No issues. Seems like the way to go to me, because when I have tried ziplock, the oil gets around the seal, and real bottles, as Andrew does, are heavier than I prefer. Also, the vacuum bags reduce (not eliminate) oxygen contact, so it goes rancid more slowly. It is introducing more plastic into the waste stream, but if you cut the bags just a bit longer, you can wash them out (I invert them and put em in the dishwasher) and reuse them a few times, reducing that waste. Makes me glad I carry a Swiss knife with scissors, since that is by far the best way to open them.
I’m wondering if anyone has tried cold soaking this recipe.
I feel like I’ve heard from someone who did, and they said this was among the better ones because it ends up being like a peanut pasta salad.
But I couldn’t tell you personally. I think that a hot meal is a wonderful reward after a long day of hiking.