Garnish with extra thyme.  (JG Photo/Petty Elliott)

This Thyme-Less Herb Makes a Welcome Addition of Flavor to Any Old Meal

APRIL 07, 2015

Garnish with extra thyme.  (JG Photo/Petty Elliott)

Thyme is not an Indonesian herb, but it is now locally grown and widely available in our supermarkets.

Thyme is one of the most well-known of the Mediterranean culinary herbs. It is a perennial plant with small grey-green aromatic leaves and small purplish flowers. 

Thyme is not only a basic herb used in cooking but also contains thymol, an essential oil, which has an aromatic fragrance and antiseptic properties. 

The herb is packed with vitamins and minerals which are essential for optimum health. Its leaves are one of the richest sources of potassium, iron and calcium. It is also a rich source of many important vitamins such as vitamins and folic acid

Thyme is one of the important herbs in a bouquet garni, which is an essential element to much of French cooking. 

Bouquet garni is a small bundle or bunch of herbs usually tied together with kitchen string mainly used to prepare stock, soup and various stews. 

Thyme is also good to use in cooking on its own with garlic, salt and black pepper for roast chicken for instance.

I adore this versatile herb. 

It is used in casserole, soups, stews, baked fish, roasted chicken, stuffing even cookies. It is also good to give interesting flavor on scramble egg, salad or any tomato dishes. Fresh or dried thyme is widely available but I prefer to use fresh thyme as it has beautiful green color and more fragrance than dried thyme. 

For this week’s recipe I have chicken with Portobello mushroom with thyme and cream served with sauteed potatoes and asparagus and tomatoes. Enjoy!

Cream chicken with thyme and Portobello mushroom 

This is very easy to prepare but full of flavor. You can serve this with rice or pasta. I served this with sauteed potatoes, quick boiled asparagus then stir fried with sliced tomatoes. You can prepare the potatoes in advance but to have delicious asparagus you must prepare them just before serving. All ingredients are local except the cooking cream.

Serves 4

•500gr skinless breast chicken, cut into 4 strips; 2 tablespoons lime juice; salt and black pepper to season; 3 tablespoons oil to brown the chicken

For the cream, thyme and mushroom sauce:

•300gr or2 medium onion, peeled and chopped finely; 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely; 200gr Portobello mushroom, cut into lengthwise and half a centimeter thick; 200ml cream; a small bunch of fresh thyme leaves, remove the leaves from the stalk and keep some sprigs of thyme for garnish; salt and black pepper to taste

Other ingredients:

•500gr potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes 

•120gr asparagus, snap each of them so you can nice and tender asparagus

•1 tablespoons of oil; 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely

•4 cherry tomatoes, sliced into halve

•Salt to season


•Prepare the potatoes first. Boil the potatoes in salted water for around 10 minutes or until soft.

•In the meantime, heat a frying pan and add 3 tbs of oil and add the onion and garlic and cook in low heat for 10 minutes or until soft, before adding the mushroom. Don’t add more oil. Stir the mixture all the time for few minutes. Add 1 to 2 tbs of water from the boiling potatoes and let it cook until the mushroom turned soft. Turn the heat off and set aside.

•Strain the potatoes and saute the potatoes until golden. Season with salt and keep them warm.

•Boil 1 liter of water in a pan for the asparagus. 

•In the meantime, prepare the chicken. Heat a frying pan. Season the chicken with lime juice, salt and black pepper.

•Add 3 tbs of oil into the frying pan and make sure it is very hot before adding the chicken. Cook the chicken for around 2 to 3 minutes each side.

•Repeat until all the chicken are browned and cooked.

•Reheat the onion and mushroom mixture.  Add the chicken, thyme and cream and keep warm in low heat. Check the final seasoning. Add a touch more salt and black pepper if desired.

•Heat a frying pan.

•Add the asparagus into the boiling water and cook for 3 to 4 minutes and strain.

•Add one tablespoon of oil to the pan before adding the garlic and cook until golden, adding the asparagus and tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.

•To serve: Divide among four plates. Garnish the chicken with 2 sprigs of thyme per plate and serve hot.