Dried Galangal Root
Country of Origin: China
Scientific name: A. galanga
Galangal, also known as Siamese or Thai ginger is part of the Zingiberaceae family. The most common species of galangal are two: the root of the plant Alpinia galanga (greater galangal) and the root of the plant Alpinia officinarum (lesser galangal). The galangal root that we use most in the kitchen is the species Alpinia galanga or greater galangal, which has prevailed thanks to its superior taste.
The aroma of galangal root is a wonderful combination of the spicy and lemony aromas of ginger, the woody scent of turmeric and the sweet and playful notes of cardamom. All these along with gentle traces of eucalyptus. Galangal is widely used in Southeast Asia, Indonesia and India in fresh form, both in cooking and in alternative medicine. In Greece we rarely find it in fresh form.
Where is galangal root used?
Galangal root is used in curries, soups, broths, stews and slow-cooked meals. It is found as an ingredient in various spice blends of the Middle East, Southeast Asia and North Africa. Galangal is an essential ingredient in Thai "tom kha gai" soup with chicken and coconut milk but also in Malaysian seafood recipes. Its woody and lemony taste is used to neutralize the smells of meat and fish. In Greek cuisine, galangal can enhance the taste of braised chicken or beef. Add it at the beginning of the recipe while the meat is boiling, together with bay leaves, allspice and peppercorns. You can also use it in chicken soup and stew preparations. Since galangal goes well with seafood and fish, try adding it to salmon recipes or to oven-baked fish with tomato sauce or creamy sauce.
How to use galangal
The dried pieces shown in the picture can be used as whole or ground and powdered. If you want to use them as they are, wrap them in gauze or a coffee-tea filter and add them to the boiling food. They should be removed at the end of the recipe.