Considered to be more of a Spice than a Herb with a Strong and Sharp Peppery Flavour
There are three different variations of the Galangal Root, but the one that’s most popular in Thailand is known as Krachai. This one originated from southern China where it’s mostly used as a medicinal herb. However, it’s now widely grown all over Asia and is considered to be more of a spice than it is a herb.
These tubers are members of the rhizome family, meaning that they grow underneath the ground and have rather peculiar protuberant segments similar to that of turmeric and ginger root. Still, they also have finger-like stems and are known for their strong sharp and somewhat peppery flavour.
The lesser-known ones have ivory-white skin-tones, red-brown interiors, fibrous textures with a rather strong sharp aromatic flavour. Their taste can easily be described as a cross between ginger and black pepper. They can be found fresh, dried or in a powdered form. The ripe roots should be firm with minimal separation between their skins and that of their flesh.
The greater known ones have orange-brown skin-tones, pale yellow or white interiors with a pine-like aroma and a pungent flavour. They can be found fresh, sliced or in powder form. Kaempferia Galangal has red skin and white interior and is regularly used as a flavouring in Asia.
Health Benefits of Galangal
1) It helps in the fight against inflammation thereby treating arthritis
2) It helps in the treatment of ulcers and inflammation of the stomach
3) It helps to assist digestion
4) It helps to stop vomiting from sea and motion sickness
5) It helps to improve blood circulation in hands and feet
6) It helps with the treatment of diarrhoea
7) It helps to alleviate abdominal discomfort and pain
8) It is known to cure hiccups
9) It is thought to protect against the risk of some cancers
10) It has plenty of powerful anti-oxidant agents to potentially protect your body from damage caused by toxins and free radicals
1) It’s a great source of fibre
2) It’s a great source of iron
3) It’s a great source of sodium
4) It contains vitamins A and C
5) It contains phytonutrients and flavonoids such as beta-Sitosterol, Galangin, Emodin and Quercetin.
What are phytonutrients and flavonoids!
They are natural nutrients found in foods of plant origin and play a potentially advantageous role in the prevention and treatment of disease thus necessary to sustain human life.
Ingredients for Soup Dishes
Galangal is frequently used as an essential flavouring ingredient in seafood and meat dishes in Thailand. Slices of the rhizome are regularly added to soups with shreds of lemongrass and lime leaves.
It is also often pounded with shallots, garlic and chillies to make curries or spicy pastes for dips. You will also notice that galangal is a lot harder than ginger and you will most certainly need to first slice the root before attempting to crush it.
The fresh roots should always be peeled, then either cut into matchstick-like pieces or thinly sliced before cooking. Remember that the slices and shreds require a longer cooking time than ginger does for them to become nice and tender. Never buy roots that are wrinkled or shrivelled.
You can keep the roots fresh for as much as three weeks by either storing them in a cool, dry place or by wrapping them up in waxed paper and then placing them in the refrigerator where they will stay moist. The roots can also be frozen by placing them in an airtight container or tightly wrapping them in tin foil.
Whichever method you choose, please do not cut them up before putting them in the refrigerator. If you like, peel the roots and then place them in a jar filled with sherry before they go into the refrigerator.
Where to find Galangal
It should be noted that this ginger-like root has been utilised not only as a spice in Asian cooking but also as an ingredient in aphrodisiacs, snuffs and perfumes from the Middle East. It is known to add flavour to condiments such as vinegar and beer as well as some German tea and Russian wine, believe it or not.
Should you want to purchase this particular herbal root in whichever country you presently reside, then you’d need to go to your local fruit and vegetable store or supermarket and make inquiries there.
Perhaps you could ask your local health shop or organic food store for advice. I’m sure that if there is enough demand for the product, then one or other dealer may attempt to import the root. Wishing you the best in your endeavour.