Harry Fisher spent a lot of time camping. Harry Fisher’s parents took him camping as a young child. His Zimbabwean father would use his Braai knowledge to cook on campfires.
He says that Dad was very familiar with fire, as Braai is only cooked in Africa with wood. “Mum, who was a cook, would make dishes that relied heavily on charcoal and fire cooking. We ate well – Indonesian food and Japanese stir-fries.
Fisher, who had just received his license, went camping with two of his best friends and the “most basic” gear. They had a blast.
Not every trip was a success. He says that when he was camping with his friends, they thought he would spear their fish, fry it in oil, and serve it fish and chips-style. When they cut open the fish, “they absolutely smelled.”
The fish were so bad they couldn’t even be used as bait. We forced them down because we were 17 and too proud to admit that. But the next night, we had pasta and sausages.
It was a lesson in realistic expectations. “I knew that I would starve to die if I were to rely on fishing after 25 years.”
Ingredients to cook on a campfire
Fisher’s YouTube Channel and Fire to Fork cookbook offer tips on how to use fire to cook “tasty and simple” meals. Fisher has created a set of “rules” for camp cooking.
He says that all ingredients must be readily available in a supermarket or butcher shop so you can find the right products no matter where you are.
“Secondly, meals should be as simple as possible to save water and time. This means that they shouldn’t require more than two items to cook (like a pot and pan). Thirdly, everything is on fire.
The key is to simplify the process so you can pack lighter and use readily available ingredients, such as vacuum-sealed beef that will “keep you sorted for a whole week” in your cooler.
There’s no need to make your meals rugged.
You can bring a dozen eggs, some fresh garlic, and ginger to make a really nice fried rice or omelet. You can get some eggs, fresh ginger, and garlic to make a delicious omelet or fried rice.
Fisher’s staples are “salt and pepper, cooking oils, hot sauces, kewpie, mayonnaise, sugar, sesame, soy, sesame, oil, mustard” – basic items that you probably already have in your kitchen or can use when you return home.
He encourages people to embrace cuisines that already use fire cooking: “Teriyaki Beef, great Argentinian style steaks, garlic prawns or even smoked bagel.”
He says, “I love any kind of grilled seafood and lamb cutlets go with anything.” “Stick to the basics, and make them good.”
Building the fire
What is the most basic thing of all? Build a campfire. Fisher says that it is important to practice building a campfire: starting with a coal bed, making sure it doesn’t get too smokey, and working towards heat control.
Fisher advises “not to worry about expensive equipment and other things,” but you’ll need a portable Braai or grill grate for pots and pans.
He advises campers to find a local supplier of firewood instead of relying on service stations and hardware stores, as they will likely have better firewood for cooking.
It is best to start with boiling dishes, such as pasta, since “it’s not important if you boil the water a few time while learning. The water will tend to cool the fire down a little bit, which helps it self-regulate.”
When you feel more comfortable with the fire, you can use it like a barbeque. It shouldn’t intimidate you once you’ve got a grill and can see your food cooking, he says. “take it off” if it is burning.
It’s the easiest and most social way to learn how to cook over a fire. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy watching their food being cooked in real time? Dinner with show.”
Harry Fisher’s Ultimate Fish Wraps
These fish wraps were the result of a lot of research and eating too many wraps. Brodie Moss would be very proud of this recipe.
These wraps are great with threadfin or mangrove jack, but any white-fleshed, fresh fish will do.
Gear: Wok or fry pan, thermometer
Fish fillets 300g
Panko breadcrumbs are gluten-free alternatives to rice crispies.
1L Rice bran oil
Cut one lemon into wedges
One cucumber, sliced
You don’t need flour or eggs to make the perfect fish batter. Instead, cut them into strips 2cm wide, cover them with oyster sauce, and then roll them in panko crumbs. The oyster sauce has all the flavors you need, so there’s no need to add salt or pepper.
Heat the oil in a wok or a deep pot such as a camp oven to 180C. Drop the fish into the hot oil until it is lightly browned. Remember that the fish will continue to brown after you remove it.
Mix the mayo and wasabi to your taste while the fillets cook. If you do not like wasabi spice, even a small amount will add a lot of flavor.
Spread a generous amount of wasabi mayo onto the wrap after the fish is cooked. Add a few drops of soy sauce. Add the fish and a squeeze of lemon to some cucumber slices, wrap, and enjoy.