The galangal herb is a member of the ginger family and belongs to the genus Alpinia. It is mainly found in South-East Asia. Galangal is a food flavoring and spice used in recipes across Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It has also been recognized for its medicinal properties since ancient times, especially in the Middle East and India. The galangal plant is imported in great quantities to Europe for its medicinal properties and culinary use. There are four main types of the galangal plant. These include greater galangal, lesser galangal, sand ginger, and Chinese ginger.
Galangal, also known as Siamese ginger, is indeed a member of the ginger family known as Zingiberaceae (zingy!). Its skin is smoother and paler than ginger root's, the interior ranges from white to yellow to pink, and its flavor is stronger and more astringent.
In its raw form, galangals have a stronger taste than common ginger. They are available as a whole rhizome, cut or powdered. The whole fresh rhizome is very hard, and slicing it requires a sharp knife. A mixture of galangal and lime juice is used as a tonic in parts of Southeast Asia.
Galangal ginger, is a rhizome of plants in the ginger family Zingiberaceae, with culinary and medicinal uses originating in Indonesia. Though it is related to and resembles ginger, there is little similarity in taste.
To prepare it for soup
, peel off the skin and grate or mince it for a stir-fry
. You can also add whole slices to your dish, but remove them before serving as the fibrous root itself is tough and inedible. Find galangal in fresh or powdered form at an Asian or well-stocked international food market for super-authentic tom kha gai — Thai chicken coconut soup
— and if you can't, regular ginger will do in a pinch
is also used in cooking in a powdered form, usually in breads. Galangal is used to make vinegars as well as liqueurs in Russia. It is commonly used across South-East Asia as an appetite stimulant.
Once galangal has been dried and crushed and kept in boiling water, one can make galangal tea
. This tea can be consumed regularly to produce a soothing and calming effect on the body. Galangal possesses tonic and antibacterial qualities and can be used to heal minor cuts and wounds. Powdered galangal made into a paste can be rubbed onto the body to ease aches and pains. In India, galangal is valued for its use in perfumes and deodorants. It is occasionally used as an aromatic stimulant in atmospheric purifiers as well.Health Benefits of Galangal
Apart from its culinary uses, galangal is extremely useful medically. Galangal oil has been commonly prescribed by homeopaths and herbalists for its medicinal uses. Consuming galangal regularly can aid the digestion process, and reduce constipation and vomiting. It has been found effective as a remedy for ulcers and inflammation of the stomach. Galangal has been known to improve blood circulation, especially in the hands and feet, thereby improving oxygen supply and nutrient supply to these parts. It can also aid respiratory problems like congestion and helps regulate breathing rate. The galangal herb is used extensively throughout the East as a snuff for nasal infections. A mixture of galangal and lime juice is used as a tonic for cough and cold. Additionally, galangal powder is used against bad breath as a mouth freshener.
There could be allergic reactions to galangal such as joint pain and rash. If consumed excessively, galangal can have side-effects such as heartburn and bloody stool.
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Recipes Using Galangal see Here