MSR Backcountry Cafe: Green Curry

Photos and Story By  Lindsey Kunz

This dish is a welcomed alternative to freeze-dried meals and competes with freeze dried packages for weight savings and cook time, thanks to the powdered coconut milk. And I’ve yet to find someone who doesn’t love this dish, both for its taste and for the ease of making it vegan and gluten free. One pot is all you need.


Servings: 2


2 bundles thin rice vermicelli noodles (a package of 8 can be purchased at an Asian food market for just over a buck, or you can find in the international section of your grocery store)

1 (8 ounce) can of chunk chicken (optional or substitute extra firm tofu, chopped)

1 ½ tablespoons Mae Ploy green curry paste

1 (2 ounce) package of coconut cream powder (found most cheaply in Asian food markets or can be purchased online)

½ white or sweet yellow onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 kaffir lime leaves (found in Asian food markets; optional, but adds a lot to the flavor)

2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce (or sugar will work)

10 cilantro sprigs for garnish

Tips: I buy as many of the ingredients at an Asian food market, plus extra for future dishes, as Asian food markets tend to be much cheaper. The kaffir lime leaves may be fresh or dried, although fresh is best and found in the produce department at most Asian food markets—these make the dish extraordinary. I buy a package of about 10 leaves and freeze them for up to 1 year.


1. Light the stove and bring about 1 liter of water to a boil.

2. Add all ingredients, minus the vermicelli and cilantro. Cook for 3 minutes on a low boil until all ingredients blend and coconut milk starts to thicken.

3. Add the vermicelli and cook for about 3 more minutes. Turn off the stove, remove from heat, and let stand for 2-3 minutes.

4. Transfer into bowls (or eat straight from the pot!), add the cilantro, and serve.

Prepared Green Curry Chicken

Tip: If your tolerance for spice is low, adding sugar or more sweet chili sauce can tame the spice. Don’t skimp on the curry paste as this will make your meal more bland. Massuman curry is the least spicy of the curries, so this can be substituted as well for a more mellow and slightly different flavor.