This Campfire Chicken Curry Is Perfect for Cozy Autumn Nights

Delaware chef and James Beard Award nominee Matthew Kern's chicken curry recipe is the perfect warming comfort food for chilly fall nights.

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Whether you’re in the kitchen or around the campfire, this chicken curry is perfectly warm, comforting and filling.

James Beard Award nominee Matthew Kern is in love with his Dutch oven. Certainly, the chef and the pot have spent a lot of quality time together. At least four times a year, Kern camps with friends in the mountains of central Pennsylvania.

For this dish, he prefers a 10-inch Dutch oven, which he places on top of evenly distributed coals. “When cooking over fire, coals and embers are your friend,” Kern says. Don’t forget to keep your clean Dutch oven dry and seasoned when you’re done.

He recommends pairing the curry with a “fine Bota Box Pinot Grigio.”

Tips and Tricks

Chef Matthew Kern knows the importance of planning ahead when he wants to rough it. His tips:

  • Pre-mix your recipe’s dry ingredients, such as spices or dried herbs, and put them in a wax paper sachet.
  • Place vegetables in a brown bag that later can serve as a fire starter.
  • Freeze meats for the trip.
  • Select produce with a long shelf life, such as potatoes, beets, cauliflower and broccoli.
  • Forage when you can. Kern picks fresh mint for a bourbon and river mint “smash” with maple syrup.


  • Travel Utensils – A set of stainless steel utensils that comes with a storage pack is the perfect solution for eating on the go. 
  • Cast Iron Dutch Oven – A good cast iron Dutch oven is perfect for campfire comfort food like curry, stews and soups. Just place hot coals on the lid for an even and quick cooking process. When it comes to cast iron, care is important. Make sure you clean it and keep it dry! 
  • A Sharp Knife – A good chef’s knife with a sheath or storage box is a campfire food essential. For this curry recipe, you’ll need to slice peppers, garlic, ginger and more. Don’t forget to pack a cutting board!
  • A Corkscrew/Bottle Opener – Whether you want to pair this campfire chicken curry with a good beer or a crisp pinot grigio, a tool to open your bottles is a must!

Campfire Chicken Curry

Recipe by Matthew KernCourse: MainCuisine: Indian


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time




  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1 shallot, sliced

  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced

  • 1 knob of ginger, minced

  • 2 cups dried shiitake mushrooms

  • 1 pack of Shin Ramyun spicy soup powder (or sub 1½ tablespoons red curry paste)

  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 package of microwaveable par-cooked basmati rice

  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced

  • 2 small heads of baby bok choy, thinly sliced

  • ½ bunch of cilantro leaves, chopped

  • 1 lime


  • Place the Dutch oven on a 3-inch bed of hot coals away from the open flame. Add oils and wait until they are lightly smoking.
  • Toast shallots, garlic and ginger until they’re lightly brown. Add chicken and mushrooms and coat with the olive oil and aromatics.
  • Deglaze the pan with the coconut milk and water. Add the soup mix or curry paste and simmer.
  • Once the mushrooms are soft, add the rice and remove the pot from the heat.
  • Portion into 2 bowls and finish with cabbage, sliced jalapeños, cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime.

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