Galangal is nothing but an ingredient that adds flavour to Thai and Indonesian cuisines. I am sure you are familiar with Thai ginger. Every restaurant having Asian food especially (Thai cuisines) use this ingredient to serve its customers better. The demand for Thai food has increased with flying of foreign tourists from Thailand to India. Few visit India for tourism and other for improving business ties between both the countries. So, the availability of this spice in India became a necessity with the increased demand.
Where do you find this rhizome?
The vegetable Galangal is cultivated in all South East Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, Thailand and China. The soil for cultivating Galangal has to be fertile preferably sandy and clayey with the good drainage system. It grows in sunny or moderately sunny places.
I use Thai ginger in most of my pan Asian cooking & cuisines. Thai food requires a lot of galangals which brings the exotic taste to each and every recipe. Thai ginger is used as medicines for treating skin diseases, indigestion, colic, dysentery, enlarged spleen, respiratory diseases, mouth and stomach cancer. This Rhizome is grown underground with mass roots and stems. It combats bacteria, fungal, protozoal, and expectorant activities. It works as antioxidants and supports in good brain health.
Why is it different from ginger (Adrak)?
Thai ginger has a major difference with the normal ginger. They look alike but taste very unlike. When you taste grated galangal vs. grated ginger, you will find that galangal is hot, spicy, and has a strong taste. On the other hand, ginger is hot but little milder.
Ginger has a strong pungency and if poured in excess, will make your food bitter. Just try it! However, the pungency smell of Thai ginger will not hit your tongue. One cannot replace Thai ginger with normal ginger in any Asian food. Mind you! Many asked me in the classroom whether we can substitute former with the latter, I said, “Please don’t. Your food will not taste better. I don’t recommend you.” If you are unable to find Thai ginger in your neighbourhood then I suggest you to cultivate it in your home or kitchen garden.
Thai ginger tastes fantastic when mixed with vegetables, coconut milk and some Thai spices. I can assure if you will learn in our kitchen the recipes for Thai food, you will understand the importance of Thai ginger and its health benefits.
FACTS: In Thai cuisines, the main ingredients used are lemon leaves, lemon grass, Thai ginger, coconut milk…
Author: Namrata Roy
An enthusiastic journalist, founder of Masterchef Cooking Food Blog, and an educator. I strongly believe that “We are what we eat. We should think healthy, eat healthily and live healthily.” I choose to select the quality ingredients that make a food delicious. I don’t buy anything unnatural. I don’t choose an ingredient that I have not used it since my childhood. I experiment with my food but not with the ingredients. I believe to eat natural food, not adulterated and preservatives ones. I recommend the same to all such as Kids, Men and Women in order to lead a healthy lifestyle.
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