Unusual Indoor Grown Herbs from Chef Ollie Dabbous

“You can grow food on your windowsill, particularly if it’s a sunny one,” says Alys Fowler, a garden expert. Things have changed. Gardening is no longer limited to the outdoors. Growing those delicious and nutritious leaves and garnishes usually found in fresh salads can also be done inside people’s homes. Fowler suggests using takeaway trays for pots and sowing the seeds thickly.

Indoor herbs include basil, watercress, mustard, brassicas, red amaranth, coriander and peas, which are all fantastic for flavoring and aroma, says Fowler. She adds mushroom to the list, which according to her, people can grow using a book – literally. Growers can do this by slipping the mushroom spawn inside a paperback, moistening it with water, and waiting for the fungus to grow within the pages.

Unusual Herbs to Grow at Home

In addition to the basic herb types, Ollie Dabbous, a famous chef in London, shares these unusual herbs that people can grow in their homes.


Dabbous says that this tastes like the smell of a freshly mown lawn, with the slightly strong smell and indigenous appearance. He says that this herb makes a good alternative from the traditional parsley.


A member of the mint family, the perilla is famous in Asian cooking, but not as popular in Europe, says Dabbous. Given its strong minty flavor to work well with the taste of raw fish, foreign chefs usually use it to garnish sashimi. People use it as substitute to coriander and in those fruity alcoholic drinks.


Dabbous describes marigold as fresh with coriander seed and citrus flavor. He says it works well in both sweet and savory dishes. In his restaurant, they serve marigold with ripe peaches, fresh almonds and olive oils. Baristas combine it with white rum and serve it with fresh juices and cocktails.

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Another famous feature in Asian cooking, Dabbous say the slightly bitter leaves of Chrysanthemum add a different kind of freshness that penetrates the oily rawness of some dishes and presents a strong contrast. This fights off any tendency of a dish to taste bland.

Lesser calamint

Dabbous characterizes lesser calamint as having a dry taste, which presents an invigorating combination of oregano, thyme and regular mint. He says they are great with lamb, runner beans and artichokes. They are mostly present in Italian recipes due to their dynamic flavor which matches well with Roman dishes, and Dabbous notes that these herbs are not getting the recognition they deserve in foreign countries.

Being Indoor Farmers

Alys Fowler further adds that growing these herbs indoors will naturally turn homeowners into indoor farmers. She says that responsible farming involves watering their plants only as recommended, as excessive watering can overstuff the little plants and drown them.