Why a Cataplana Makes a Good Camping Utensil?

Why a Cataplana Makes a Good Camping Utensil?

Why a Cataplana Makes a Good Camping Utensil?

Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with friends and family. One of the best parts of camping is cooking and sharing meals together. In this regard, a cataplana, a traditional Portuguese cooking pot, can be a great addition to your camping gear.

What is a cataplana?

A cataplana is a versatile cooking pot that can be used to prepare a variety of dishes. It is particularly popular in the Algarve region of Portugal for preparing seafood dishes. The pot has a distinctive flying saucer shape with a dome-shaped base and clip-on lid. The lid holds in the steam when the dish is cooking, so the sauce simmers while the seafood arranged on top steams.

Why is a cataplana good for camping?

One of the reasons why a cataplana is the perfect cookpot for good camping recipes is its versatility. You can use it to cook stews, soups, and other one-pot meals over a campfire or camping stove. The tight-fitting lid helps to lock in flavor and moisture, making it ideal for slow-cooked dishes.
Another reason why a cataplana is great for camping is its durability. The pot is typically made of copper or stainless steel, which can withstand high heat and rough handling. This makes it perfect for outdoor cooking.


prawn and chorizo cataplana on a table

How to use a cataplana whilst camping?

Adapting traditional cataplana recipes for camping can be a fun and creative process. Here are some tips to help you get started:
  1. Choose recipes that can be cooked over a campfire or camping stove: Look for cataplana recipes that can be cooked in one pot and don’t require a lot of additional equipment. For example, a seafood cataplana can be cooked in the cataplana pot over a campfire or camping stove.
  2. Use fresh and local ingredients: When camping, it’s a good idea to use fresh and local ingredients whenever possible. This not only supports local farmers and producers but also ensures that your meals are as fresh and flavorful as possible.
  3. Prepare ingredients ahead of time: To save time and make cooking easier while camping, you can prepare some of the ingredients ahead of time. For example, you can chop vegetables and store them in airtight containers or plastic bags.
  4. Be flexible and creative: Cooking while camping can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be flexible and creative. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and cooking methods to create delicious meals.
ingredients for a cataplana

Which ingredients can I use in my cataplana?

10 ingredients that you could take camping and use in a cataplana:

  1. Olive oil
  2. Onion
  3. Garlic
  4. Red and green peppers
  5. Canned tomatoes
  6. Sea salt
  7. White wine
  8. Seafood (such as shrimp, clams, mussels)
  9. Firm white fish (such as hake or monkfish)
  10. Chorizo sausage

These ingredients can be used to make a variety of dishes in a cataplana while camping.

Making damper bread in a cataplana 

Here is a simple recipe from the practicalforestschool.com for making damper bread that can be adapted for a cataplana:


  • 600g (4 cups) self-raising flour
  • 500 ml (approx. 2 cups) water (or milk/dairy-free milk)
  • Two pinches of salt
  • Jam, sugar, or other toppings


  1. Mix the dry ingredients (flour and salt) in a large bowl.
  2. Gradually add the water (or milk/dairy-free milk), stirring as you go. Knead the dough until it looks and feels like dough.
  3. Take a large-ish golf-ball-sized piece of dough and roll it between your palms into a sausage shape.
  4. Flatten the sausage slightly and wrap it around a stick in a spiral.
  5. Cook the dough over the embers of the fire, turning regularly for about 15 minutes until it is cooked all the way through.





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