Chicken Tikka Masala

Dehydrated chicken tikka masala for backpacking
489 calories
129 grams

3.81 cal/g

50ggolden basmati rice178 cal
35gdehydrated chicken126 cal
5gdehydrated onion23 cal
1/4 tspgarlic powder0 cal
1/4 tsponion powder0 cal
1/8 tspginger powder0 cal
1/8 tspturmeric0 cal
1/4 tspgaram masala0 cal
1/4 tspground coriander0 cal
1/8 tspcumin0 cal
1/4 tsppaprika0 cal
1/8 tspcardamom0 cal
1/8 tspnutmeg0 cal
1/8 tspcayenne0 cal
10gsour cream powder or dehydrated greek yogurt40 cal
10gdehydrated tomato paste32 cal
1/8 tspTrue Lime0 cal
8g, 1 tbspmilk powder40 cal
7g, 1 tbspbutter powder53 cal
small springdehydrated cilantro0 cal
to tastesalt0 cal

Serving Size: 

ONE Adventurer


Bag 1:

  • basmati rice
  • chicken
  • onion

Bag 2:

  • All other in ingredients and spices, except for salt.

Sometimes we do things not out of necessity, but simply because we can. So why not eat chicken tikka masala while out backpacking?!

I know it sounds crazy, because it is, but this recipe is much easier than it appears. While the list of ingredients is quite long, the preparation is very minimal and the payoff is nothing short of ‘surprisingly amazing.’

Admittedly, the prepared photo above is a little misleading because it’s cooked in two batches. The rice and chicken was rehydrated and then drained, then the sauce was rehydrated and poured on top of the rice. That was done simply for aesthetic reasons, but on the trail I would absolutely cook it in the same pot; although in two stages. While you won’t get the tasty masala sauce draped over the basmati rice, the taste will be the same and you’ll have less cleaning to do if you eat straight out of your pot.

cooked dehydrated chicken tikka masala for backpacking

If you’re British or you eat chicken tikka masala often then this probably won’t blow your pants off, but rest assured it’s good! Because there’s no real uniform recipe for chicken tikka masala this might taste completely different than what you’re used to. I highly recommend doing a test run of this dish before you take it out on a long trip.

Some of the spices may be overpowering if they’re particularly fresh. I have a huge array of spices in my collection, but they’re also pretty old. The measurements of each spice reflects that age; if you have fresher spices you’ll probably want to dial it back a bit. But like I said, make a test batch first.

Doing a test run at home will also allow you to tweak the taste to exactly what you like. During my first batch I couldn’t get the dehydrated greek yogurt to dissolve, it stayed chunky. The second batch had too much tomato paste which made it taste stewy, which wasn’t bad but not exactly what I had in mind. Finally, on the third attempt it was success.

Probably the most important lesson learned from all the testing was powdering the greek yogurt. The dehydrated chips of yogurt are tasty to eat as little snacks, but they don’t rehydrated worth a damn. I highly recommend using powdered sour cream or increasing the powdered milk, it yields a significantly smoother consistency.

chicken tikka masala backpacking recipe ingredients


  1. Empty contents of Bag 1 (rice, chicken, and onions) into a pot and submerge under 1/2"-1" of water.
  2. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Check chicken for doneness, and make sure rice is still plenty wet. Aim for very wet but not soupy.
  4. Add contents of Bag 2 (spices) and stir over low heat.
  5. If necessary, add more water.
  6. Season to taste with salt. (you will need to add salt, trust me)