1. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice with the 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff the rice and let cool completely.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, pour 2 cups of the boiling water over the beef jerky. Cover and let stand until pliable, about 30 minutes. Drain the jerky and coarsely chop it.
3. In a small bowl, cover the tree ear mushroom with the remaining 1/2 cup of boiling water and let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain and chop the tree ear into 1-inch pieces; if using shiitakes, discard the stems and chop the caps.
4. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, sweet potato and ginger and cook over low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Raise the heat to high and add the beef jerky, tree ears and almonds. Stir-fry until heated through. Add the rice and soy sauce and stir-fry to break up the rice and heat it through. Season with salt. Stir in the scallion and serve.
Make Ahead: The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate the rice, beef jerky and mushroom separately.
Wine Recommendation: For this curried rice dish, stick with sparkling wine, such as the nonvintage Mumm Cuvée Napa from California, or play off the red-pepper notes with a crisp California Sauvignon Blanc, such as the 1996 Murphy-Goode Reserve Fumé II.
Notes: When I go camping, I plan ahead and order jalapeño beef jerky from MoHotta, MoBetta, 800-462-3220.