You may have heard a lot about “scratch cooking” recently. In the past year, the scratch cooking trend has exploded with people spending more time at home making their own meals. It’s nothing new. In fact, that’s kind of the point of cooking meals from scratch: it’s an opportunity to get back to our roots and reconnect with food. It’s a fun and empowering way to enjoy food during this time in our lives when cooking every night can sometimes be a bit of a drag. With scratch cooking, you can learn a lot about the food you eat, including where it comes from and how it’s prepared. Today, we’re taking a close look at this healthy food trend and learning how to make a delicious Coconut Cucumber Bowl from scratch.

So, what is scratch cooking?

Think of it as a “back to basics” approach to cooking. That doesn’t mean your recipes have to simple or bland – in fact, it’s quite the opposite! You’ll probably find that preparing meals from scratch with whole, fresh ingredients results in a much more flavorful experience! By “back to basics,” we simply mean that, when possible, you opt for fresh, whole ingredients instead of processed or premade ones.

Scratch cooking is not “one-size fits all,” so don’t feel intimidated. It all depends on your skill level, budget and schedule. For some, it isn’t very realistic to make every recipe totally from scratch. Not everyone has the time to bake their own homemade sourdough buns for hamburgers, for example. For others who enjoy cooking as a hobby and have more free time, it can be an exciting challenge to try and prepare every ingredient yourself. Most of us find ourselves somewhere right in the middle balancing our busy schedules with a love for cooking fresh meals!

Hands cutting chicken and cucumbers

Why We Love Scratch Cooking

  1. It’s a fun way to reconnect with your food. You learn to appreciate where each ingredient comes from and how it’s produced, packaged, and transported. Plus, it can be a valuable lesson to bring kids into the kitchen to discover the joy of fresh food together!
  2. You will learn how to cook flavorful meals. Every time you make a new recipe from scratch, you will learn new tricks to make the process easier, quicker and more flavorful. Once you gain skills and build up confidence, you’ll find yourself experimenting more often.
  3. When you prepare more meals from scratch, you also tend to eat a lot more whole, fresh foods that are healthier for you. Fresh vegetables offer a range of health benefits thanks to an abundance of nutrients like Vitamin C, lycopene, iron and more.
  4. It’s usually more affordable to buy fresh, whole foods instead of processed or prepared ingredients. You might spend more time preparing meals from scratch, but you’ll save money and can enjoy gourmet products more often.
  5. You might notice a few mental health benefits of preparing your own meals from scratch. You’ll certainly feel a boost of pride when your family loves the new recipe you’ve made; plus, you’ll gain confidence with every meal.

Hands serving cucumbers in noodles bowl

For the perfect introduction to scratch cooking, look no further than our Coconut Cucumber Bowl recipe, made with grilled chicken breast, fresh Pure Flavor®Mini Cucumbers and a homemade broth to pull it all together.

Noodles soup with cucumbers ready to eat

While some ingredients in this recipe are premade – you won’t have to chop down and prepare your own coconuts or make your own rice noodles! – it serves as a great entry into the wonderful world of scratch cooking. As you try more recipes, you can start preparing more and more ingredients yourself. Start by making a chicken marinade. All you have to do is mix together ¾ cup of coconut milk with chopped lemongrass, chili paste and chicken breasts in a plastic bag. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours to ensure the chicken soaks in all that fresh flavor from the lemongrass and becomes tender.

Next, prepare for homemade broth by mixing chicken stock (or vegetable stock) with garlic, onions, carrots and ginger in a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Take the chicken out of the marinade and fry it on a skillet until cooked all the way through.  Then, add chicken to the broth and simmer on low for twenty minutes.

Remove the chicken and shred it into bite-sized pieces. Strain the stock and add soy sauce, fish sauce, fresh lime juice, sugar and coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium to high heat, bringing it to a boil and stirring until combined perfectly. You can then remove the broth from heat.

To see the full Coconut Cucumber Bowl recipe, click here.