Cooking Contests / Food

Camping Cuisine: Shrimp & Vegetable Ramen Paella

Our family loves to camp, and we do so several times per year.  There’s a fair amount of preparation that goes into a camping trip, especially when it comes to the food.  While we certainly indulge in some campfire classics like s’mores, I like to elevate meals beyond just the traditional hot-dog-on-a-skewer.  Whether utilizing a camping stove or a campfire, you can prepare downright gourmet meals for your crew without breaking a sweat or the bank.

A few weeks ago I participated in a cooking challenge from 50 Campfires called “Hack the Pack”.  We were charged to create a unique camping inspired meal using a package of ramen noodles.   Knowing full well what it is like to cook in the great outdoors, my goal was to create something flavorful and a bit unexpected using traditional camping supplies like a propane stove and mess kit sized pots and pans.

I’ve never worked with ramen noodles before.  I knew that if I wanted to score some points with the judges, I needed to find a creative way to transform these noodles.  I decided to crush the ramen into “rice”.  I began by pricking a tiny hole in the package.  I then took out my rolling pin and got to work pulverizing the contents of the package (it was kind of fun!).  The result was exactly what I had hoped: “rice”.

This “rice” had the potential to turn into so many delicious dishes, but I opted for shrimp paella.  Shrimp cooks up in a snap which is exactly what you want when a crew of hungry campers is waiting for dinner.  With a few added ingredients, the paella took shape quickly.  The result was a delicious dish that I literally could not stop eating.    It is also took home third place in the contest.

So the next time you are heading out into the great outdoors or just in need of a quick meal that is ready in minutes, give this unique paella a try.

Shrimp & Vegetable Paella
serves 2
Ingredients
  • 1 package Nissin Top Ramen Shrimp Flavor
  • ⅓ cup crumbled cooked sausage (for a spicier option you can use chorizo)
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion
  • ⅓ cup diced orange bell pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup quartered grape tomatoes
  • 10 extra large shrimp, peeled, deveined (tails left on)
  • 1 & ½ cups water
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 6-8 thin jalapeno slices (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place the still sealed package of Nissin Top Ramen onto a flat surface. If there is a lot of excess air in the package, pierce it with a knife. Apply pressure to the noodles (still inside the packaging). The goal is to crush the noodles into pieces that resemble rice. Apply pressure to all areas of the block of noodles until you feel that most of the noodles are crushed. Open the package and set the crushed noodles aside and reserve the seasoning package for later.
  2. This recipe was prepared on a two burner propane camp stove using mess kit sized pots. You could also utilize a single burner stove as well.
  3. Saute the cooked sausage, onion, bell pepper, and olive oil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add in the minced garlic, grape tomatoes, and shrimp. Cook for 4 minutes.
  5. Add in the water and the seasoning packet from the Ramen package. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer.
  6. Add in the crushed Ramen noodles; cook for 3 minutes being sure to stir frequently.
  7. Turn off the heat. Stir in the peas and lemon juice. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  8. There will be some liquid left; I like to serve this with a few slices of Italian bread to mop up the delicious juice. However, you can allow the paella to sit covered for 5 more minutes to allow the rest of the liquid to be absorbed.
  9. Divide the paella among two dishes and top with jalapeno slices if desired.

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