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All about galangal

Thursday, March 16, 2006
All about galangal


I have been hearing about a root called galangal, similar to ginger root I think. Would you mind telling me how it is pronounced, if it tastes like ginger, if it’s used like ginger and if I can grow it in a pot.

J Madden, Mudgeeraba, QLD


Also known as Ka, Thai or Siamese ginger and Laos ginger, galangal (pronounced ga LANG gal), is a rhizome (a knob-like root) used extensively in South-East Asian cooking.

Being from the same family as ginger, it tastes similar but is stronger in flavour with a peppery citrus flavour. It is also tougher and woodier in texture than ginger so needs to be crushed or chopped finely before use.

There are many ways to use galangal; slice it thinly and use it to flavour salads, soups and stews, or grind it and use it in curry pastes and sauces. It tastes especially good with seafood.

I believe it is possible to grow it yourself if buy a fresh piece with unbruised pinkish shoots and plant it in shallow, moist, well-drained soil. Pickled galangal is used both in cooking and as a condiment – buy it in jars or cryovac packed at Asian groceries.

Try some of these recipes using galangal.

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