I love to eat fresh meals in the backcountry, but sometimes managing the weight of the needed ingredients can be tricky!

Here is a simple backpacking tikka masala featuring salmon and carrots cooked in a flavourful rich sauce, served over couscous, packed with protein and calorie dense!

Scroll down for details on how the weight of this fresh recipe compares to that of a store bought dehydrated meal.


  • 1 cup chopped carrots / 2 large carrots (You could use sweet potato or potato if you prefer)
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1-2 green onions/scallions
  • 2/3 cup uncooked couscous
  • 2 single serving salmon in bags
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato powder
  • 1 tablespoon spice mix (see below recipe)
  • 1 packet of True Lime or True Lemon
  • ½ teaspoon of powdered veggie stock
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

SPICE MIX by Veena Azmanov:

  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ½ tablespoon hot chili powder (to taste - I like mine spicy)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper


  • 2 bowls. I like these Delta bowls by Sea to Summit because the lids can be used as cutting boards
  • Small cutting board if you can't use lid bowls to cut on
  • 1 knife, I love this knife by Opinel
  • Small BPA free screw top bottle for powdered coconut milk and veggie stock
  • Small BPA free screw top bottle for spice mix, powdered tomato, garam masala
  • Small BPA free screw top bottle for vegetable oil
  • 2 Stasher Bags (450ml) or Zip-loc
  • 2 sporks (or forks. I use this cutlery set by GSI ).
  • Jetboil or Pocket Rocket Stove
  • Non-stick pot with lid
  • Lighter
  • A fuel canister that is compatible with your stove of choice
  • 2.5 cups of water in a nalgene or bladder
  • Stuff Sack
  • 2-3 paper towels


  • Wash & dry your scallions, and slice off just the roots.
  • Wash & dry your carrots, slice off just tops, but don't peel them.
  • Wrap scallions, carrots and shallot in the paper towel and put into a Stasher bag.
  • Portion out powdered coconut milk and veggie stock, into your BPA Free screw-top plastic container.
  • Portion out spice mix, powdered tomato, and garam masala into your BPA Free screw-top plastic container.
  • Portion out vegetable oil into your BPA Free screw-top plastic container.
  • Grab your packs of salmon and True Lime.
  • Portion out 2.5 cups of water into a bottle or bladder.
  • Portion out 2/3 cups of couscous and put into a Stasher bag.
  • Set aside 2 bowls.
  • Set aside 1 knife & 2 sporks.
  • Set aside Jetboil or Pocket Rocket Stove with pot.
  • Set aside a lighter, and fuel canister.
  • Place your prepped ingredients and supplies into a stuff sack and place in your backpack!


  • Slice your carrots on the diagonal into 1/4" rounds, keep separate.
  • Peel and slice your shallots, keep separate.
  • Slice your scallions and keep separate.
  • Heat 1 cup of water to boiling in your non-stick pot. While water is heating, place 1/3 cup of couscous into each bowl.
  • When water is boiling, pour 1/2 cup into one bowl, stir well and cover. Repeat with second bowl.
  • Place vegetable oil in pot and turn heat to medium.
  • When oil is hot, add in your shallots, cook until fragrant and softened.
  • Add in bottle of spices and powdered tomato, stir to coat shallots, and cook until the spices get fragrant.
  • When you can really smell your spices, tip in your bottle with coconut milk powder/veggie stock and stir until coated.
  • While still stirring, slowly add 1 1/2 cups of water.
  • Add in your carrots and cook covered on medium low, stirring often, until carrots are a softness that is to your liking.
  • Tip in your salmon, mix throughly and cook until warm (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Pour in contents of True Lime packet, stir, turn off heat and cover.
  • Grab your bowls with the couscous, take off the lids and fluff couscous with a fork,
  • Portion Tikka Masala out over couscous and top with sliced scallions.
  • Enjoy!


How much do the ingredients for the Tikka Masala backpacking recipe weigh?

Let's get into it!

  • Carrots: 150g
  • Shallot: 40g
  • 1 Green Onion: 9g
  • 2/3 cup uncooked couscous: 100g
  • 2 packs of drained "canned" salmon: 148g
  • 1 True Lime packet: 1g
  • ½ teaspoon powdered veggie stock: .5g
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk powder: 15g
  • 1 tablespoon spice mix: 5g
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala: 1 g
  • 3 teaspoons powdered tomato: 3 g
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil: 9g

Total Dry Weight: 481.5g

Total Dry Weight Per Serving (2): 241g

Total Dry Weight of 2 Packs of Alpine Aire Lasagna: 290g

Weight Per Serving: 145g

Weight Difference Per Serving on Homemade vs Store Bought: +96g




Delta Bowl

Opinel Knife

8oz Double Wall Tumbler