Ever wondered what gives the Thai soups and curries it’s fragrant, herbal aroma and zingy flavour? Don’t say ginger, because it isn’t, it is galangal.
Now, what is galangal exactly?
Galangal, also known as Thai ginger and Siamese ginger, is a spice root native to Southern Asia.. It is indeed a member of the ginger family and it’s flavour bears little resemblance to turmeric root as well. This root is being used in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine since a long time. Galangal is rich in antioxidants and is helpful in fighting infections, reducing inflammation and pain.
In case you haven’t ever come across galangal, this root is light pinkin colour and has a tuber protruding from it. When buying it, ensure it has small thin roots coming out, they are a sign of freshness. It boasts of a sharp citrusy, almost earthy, and mildly spicy flavour. Unlike ginger, galangal has a sweeter aroma. Also, it doesn’t leave your tongue with a burning sensation. The root has a texture like that of sugarcane and is less fibrous than ginger.
How to use galangal
First separate the tuber, which can also be used separately, and then peel the galangal. In Thai and south Asian recipes it can be used in either sliced or minced.
Galangal can also be used in Indian recipes as a replacement for ginger. However, it should be finely chopped.Also, bear in mind, you replace an inch of ginger with half inch of galangal since the latter has a much stronger taste. If using in milk-based recipes, remember to blanch it first or the milk may curcle.
If this entire galangal write-up has inspired you, here are a few recipes you can kickstart your south Asian cooking journey with.
Thai fish burger
This is not your typical burger. It features a patty made with white fish and prawns, served on a bed of seasoned rice vermicelli and topped with pineapple relish.
Here’s a popular spicy noodle soup which is a combination of Chinese and Malay cuisines.