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Galangal, although aesthetically similar to ginger, does not have the same flavours. If you like combava, this spice will remind you of it with its lemony notes.
It looks like ginger, but it's not ginger. That's a good start! It is true that at first glance, galangal could be mistaken for ginger in terms of appearance. Taste it and you will see that it is a different spice, even though galangal is a member of the Zingiberaccae family like ginger. It is also called sweet ginger, camphorated ginger or Thai ginger.
I propose here galangal roots from Thailand. There are several kinds, it is here the variety Alpinia officinarum that you will find. The small galanga is used as a vegetable and produced in China, the large galanga is this spice that you will soon discover in your plate.
This plant is native to tropical Asia and is consumed in the form of small pieces from a rhizome or powder. It has been used since antiquity like many spices. We have not invented anything, we have simply learned over the years to discover all these wonderful spices from Asia. According to Plutarch, galangal was one of the 16 ingredients of kyphi, an incense favoured by the Egyptians. They saw in it a way to celebrate rituals, but also to heal themselves.
Although it resembles ginger, galangal makes all the difference in the mouth. This rhizome's lemony notes are reminiscent of combava. At the same time, it has peppery, even camphorated notes, which justifies one of its nicknames.
Much milder than ginger, galangal reveals slightly sweet notes while retaining a somewhat pungent final note, which is nevertheless reasonable enough to suit all palates.
The plant resembles the hedichiums, perennial plants that are grown both in tropical Asia and in the Himalayas. The plant can grow up to 1.50 m high and is grown in semi-shaded areas in soft, well-drained soil.
Galanga is a rhizome in the same way as ginger or manioc, for example. This means that it flourishes in the ground. Galanga is harvested after the rainy season.
If galangal reminds one of ginger, it is because of its shape, but also because of its use. Although its taste differs, it is used in the same way. This Asian spice can also be used in powder form. You can also consume rhizomes that you grate to integrate some pieces to your cooking, it will be even more tasty.
It is used naturally in Asian cuisine. It is found in broths that it flavors. In Thailand, galangal finds its place in a famous soup, Tom Kha Gai, while in Cambodia, it is used to season fish croquettes. In Indonesia, this spice is used to spice up all meats and give them an inimitable taste.
Let's not deny the origins of galangal and integrate it into a fish broth that immediately brings Asia to mind. The Saint-Pierre broth will warm you up in winter and whet your appetite. It will be delicious with a good Saint-Pierre bought fresh on the market accompanied by aromatic herbs such as shiso, soy sauce, kombu seaweed, turnip, a little chilli according to your taste, dashi broth and, of course, galanga.
Here again, let's take a little trip to Asia with its flavours that know how to excite the taste buds. I invite you to taste Thai shrimps cooked in a wok. Add to these shrimps crushed tomatoes, garlic, onion, carrots, celery, curry, turmeric, coriander, a stock cube and galanga. Accompanied by Chinese noodles, this shrimp wok will amaze your taste buds and those of your guests.
For once, we propose a recipe from home, even if the Asian flavors will always be present with the galanga. Simply make shortbread with butter, flour and sugar and add galanga powder, which will add a little pep to these sweet little treats.
Spices are often good for your health and well-being, and galangal is no exception. It can be consumed as a powder or grated rhizome, which is good for your digestion. However, respect the appropriate doses, as galangal is known to be irritating to the stomach in large doses. It is the right dosage that will make the difference.
Galangal is rich in flavonoids and terpenes. Also, it is very effective against nausea and motion sickness. It is a natural solution to better enjoy your travels.
It is also recommended to fight against respiratory problems, and is recognized for its anti-inflammatory virtues. Galanga relieves rheumatic pains in particular. But that's not all. Galangal is also used for dental pain, headaches, back pain, etc.
Galangal is a tonic that stimulates the body and, according to some, is even an aphrodisiac in the same way as ginger.
If it fits perfectly into your meals, galanga can be consumed as a decoction by boiling the roots in hot water.
The rhizome of galangal is quite fragile, it will be kept in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator. You can also freeze it and grate it if necessary.