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galangal root

Galangal AKA Galanga, kah, Laos root and Garingal, is a tropical herbaceous plant and a member of the ginger family, cultivated primarily for its rhizome. Its appearance gives the first impression that it is, indeed, related to ginger. Both plant's roots are knobby, wild-shaped, fibrous and firm with similar textured and colored flesh. Their relation and appearance are where the general similarities end, though.

Galangal's rhizomes are pale sand-colored with earth-toned rings on its semi-rough surface. Its flesh is ivory to yellow in tone depending on its maturity. It has a floral and spicy aroma with earthy, woodsy and mustard-like flavors with subtle citrus undertones. The root is often dried to spice form creating a more subtle version of its mustard-like flavor profile while bringing out its musky earthiness.

Nutritional Value

Galangal is an aromatic stimulant and carminative. Its stomach soothing properties make it a suitable aid for nausea. It possesses tonic and antibacterial qualities which make it a useful ingredient in homeopathic remedies.

Serving Ideas

Galangal root is used primarily in Asian cooking, lightly crushed or pounded as an aromatic to add earthy flavor to broths and soups. If substituting for ginger, use a smaller amount as galangal is spicier, with brighter citrus notes. To store, refrigerate in a paper bag in the crisper drawer, or grate the entire root, lay in a line on a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap and twist ends tightly, then freeze.

Ethnic/Cultural Info

Galangal is most often associated with Indonesian, Malaysian and Indian cuisine and food culture.


Galangal is native to Java and China as there are at least two different sub species known as greater and lesser galangal. It is cultivated throughout the Far East and South Pacific. Domestically, it grows in warmer regions of California and Florida.


Galangal root is available year round.

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