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All About Galangal | Know Your Spice Greater Galanga (Alpinia galanga)

All About Galangal | Know Your Spice Greater Galanga (Alpinia galanga)

All About Galangal | Know Your Spice Greater Galanga (Alpinia galanga)

All About Galangal | Know Your Spice Thai Ginger or Greater Galanga (Alpinia galanga)

It is also known as Kulanjan, Rasmi, Chittaratha, Siamese Ginger, Laos Root, Thai Ginger

Galangal or Greater Galanga is the dried rhizome of a plant Alpinia galanga. This is a perennial, robust, tillering, rhizomatous herb.

It is one of four plants known as “galangal”, and is differentiated from the others with the common names lengkuas, greater galangal, and blue ginger.

Denser, firmer and even more knobby than common ginger, the rhizome is rounder, marked with concentric rings every half inch apart and has no skin to be peeled.

Tasting nothing like ginger, it has a hotter and sharper bite combined with a tangy spicy flavor which, to some people, is reminiscent of hot mustard.

Greater galanga is used largely as an herb in Unani medicine and as a spice in Arab cuisine and Southeast Asian cookery. Remember Thai curries.

What are the other names of Galangal?

Greater Galanga names in other languages are given below.
Indian Languages Other Languages
Hindi: Kulanjal, Kulinjan, Punnagchampa
Bengali:
Gujarati:
Kolinjan
Malayalam
: Aratta
Marathi: Koshtkulinjan
Punjabi: –

Sanskrit:
Kulanja
Tamil:
Arattai
Telugu:
Kacchuramu
Latin (Botanical): Alpinia galanga
Arabic: Adkham
Chinese:
Daaih gou leuhng geung
Dutch:
Grote galanga, Galgant
French:
Souchet long
German: Galanga, Galgant
Italian: Galanga maggiore
Spanish: Galang
Swedish
: Galangarot

What exactly is Galangal?

Get to know more about Greater Galanga or Kulanjal

Spice card – all about galangal | know your spice greater galanga (alpinia galanga)

Galangal or Greater Galanga (Alpinia galanga) belong to the Zingiberaceae (Ginger Family) is a perennial herb.

It originated in South East Asia, probably southern China & it is now cultivated in Indo­china, Thai­land, Malaysia and Indo­nesia.

The Greater Galanga (Alpinia galanga) plant is 1.8 to 2.1 meters high and bears perennial rhizome (2.5 to 10 cm thick).

The rhizome resembles ginger in shape but is deep orange to brown in colour, aromatic, pungent & bitter.

Some varieties have a dark reddish brown skin and the interior is nearly white. The rhizomes are tough and difficult to break.

The pseudostem formed by the rolled leaf sheaths is erect, the inflorescence is terminal, many flowered.

The fruits are about 13 mm long, constricted in the middle and contain 3 to 6 seeds.

The rhizome is a common ingredient in Thai curries and soups such as tom kha kai. It is mashed and mixed into curry pastes. Indonesian rendang is usually spiced with galangal.

What is the nutritional value of Galangal?

Find out about the nutritional value of Greater Galanga (Alpinia galanga)

The rhizome (root) of Alpinia galanga resembles ginger in taste and appearance. One serving of galangal contains 45 calories and 2 g of dietary fiber.

It is also a source of sodium, iron, vitamins A and C. It also has some phyto-chemicals such as beta-Sitosterol, Galangin, Emodin and Quercetin.

What is the chemical composition of Galangal?

Know and understand about chemical composition of Greater Galanga (Alpinia galanga)

The rhizome contains up to 1.5% essential oil (1,8 cineol, α-pinene, eugenol, camphor, methyl cinnamate and sesqui­terpenes). In dried galanga, the essential oil has quantitatively different composition than in fresh one.

Whereas α-pinene, 1,8-cineol, α-bergamotene, trans-β-farnesene and β-bisabolene seem to contribute to the taste of fresh galanga equally, the dried rhizome shows lesser variety in aroma components (cineol and farnesene, mostly).

The resin causing the pungent taste (formerly called galangol or alpinol) consists of several diarylheptanoids and phenylalkanones (the latter are also found in ginger and grains of paradise). Furthermore, the rhizome is high in starch.

What is the history of Galangal?

Know more about the origins & the story behind Greater Galanga (Alpinia galanga)

The Latin generic name “Alpinia” was given to commemorate Prospero Alpini (1553-1617), an Italian Botanist who catalogued and described exotic plants.

The origin of the name galangal is the Chinese phrase gao liang jiang, meaning “good ginger from Gaozhou” (a city in Canton now called Maoming).

The common name “Galangal” is also thought to be derived from the Arabic Khalanjan, perhaps a perversion or an adaptation of the Chinese Liangtiang (meaning ‘mild Ginger’).

China is also probably where lesser galangal originated; greater galanga is native to Java, in Indonesia.

In the middle ages, galanga had routed widely and was used commonly all the way through Europe.

Between 1098-1179 St. Hildegard of Bingen named this ingredient as “The Spice of Life” and used it to reduce bad breath, lessen fevers, and improve weak hearts.

Hildegard’s most popular recipe was that of a greater Galanga wine, which combined white wine with the rhizome and simmered the mixture over heat to blend the flavors.

Later, a prominent herbalist utilized it to cure indigestion, heart problems as well as the deafness.

The Turks during 13th-14th centuries, used Greater Galanga as a tea while the Arabs used it as the compost for their horses.

It was also broadly used as the snuff for the various types of infections in nasal, and in Asia and Europe; it was used as an appetite manure as well as aphrodisiac.

Now in Russia, Thai ginger or Siamese ginger is used as the core medium of preparing the liqueurs and vinegars. Besides, it also has a flourishing market in India and other Asian countries.

Since time immemorial, it has been utilised in the leaf, root, powder and juice forms in ayurveda.

Today greater galanga is cultivated throughout Asia and Southeast Asia including India, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, & is also in the South Pacific.

What are the uses of Galangal?

How is Greater Galanga used?
  • Various galangal rhizomes are used in traditional Southeast Asian cuisine, such as Thai and Lao.
  • Polish Żołądkowa Gorzka vodka is flavoured with galangal.
  • It is also used in Russia for flavoring vinegar and the liqueur ‘nastoika’.
  • Almost every part of the plant can be used for cooking or healing.
  • It has tremendous therapeutic importance in Chinese and traditional Asian medicine.
  • Ayurveda and traditional Chinese and European medicine have used different parts of galangal to treat cold, stomach ache, inflammation, diabetes, ulcers, nausea, diarrhea, eczema, and various acute and chronic conditions.
  • The seed of galangal is used as a mouth freshener, dental cleanser, digestive aid, and laxative.
  • The flowers and tender shoots are used as a spice or vegetable.
  • The root or rhizome is used as a spice and source of essential oil.
  • In India the oil of galangal is valued in perfumery.
  • It is also used for snuffs, aphrodisiacs, and as flavours for condiments (including vinegar and beer), in teas in Germany and wines in Russia.

What does Galangal taste like?

What is the the taste of Greater Galanga?

Fresh galangal has a pure and refreshing odour and a mildly spicy flavour with subtle citrus undertones.

Dried and powdered greater galanga is less fresh but more spicy, something in between of ginger and cinnamon.


Galangal & ginger


What are the ayurvedic properties of Galangal?

Information about ayurvedic details of Greater Galanga.

Rasa (Taste) – Katu (Pungent)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion), Teekshna (Strong), Ruksha (Dry in nature)
Vipaka (Taste conversion after digestion) – Katu (Undergoes Pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Kaphavata shamaka (reduces vitiated kapha and vata dosha)</p


What can I use Galangal for?

Learn how to use Greater Galanga in your food & beverages.

Diced or sliced galangal makes an excellent addition to a stir-fry, stew or hearty pasta sauce. Because galangal is quite potent than ginger and other spices, so do add carefully to taste.

Here are some specific ideas:

  • Galangal has a pungent spiciness that freshens the taste of seafood
  • Use this valued herb in seafood salads and soups.
  • For salads, slice the root as thinly as possible, then stack several slices at a time and cut into very fine slivers;
  • For soups, thin slices are simmered to flavour the broth. Grated or sliced galangal is popular in a lot of Asian soups with a coconut milk base. Tom Kha is a good example.
  • Greater Galanga is also an essential ingredient in most Thai curries and is chopped and pounded to a paste with other paste ingredients. Make your own green or red curry paste.
  • Make Tom Kha Gai – a delicious soup made with chicken (gai), galangal (kha) and a coconut milk base.
  • Make a Jungle Thai Curry – With Galangal And Mushroom
  • Use it for nasi goreng (fried rice with vegetables and meat).
  • Use it for rendang – An Indonesian spicy beef/meat stew.
  • Steep it for tea to help with a variety of ailments, like heartburn & gas buildup.
  • You can even make galangal wine by cooking white wine with the galangal roots, straining it and serving it warm.

How long does Galangal last?

Learn about how long does Greater Galanga last in storage.

Fresh galangal will keep, refrigerated, for up to three weeks. You can also freeze fresh galangal for up to two months in a resealable plastic bag.

You should freeze it with its skin intact to preserve the flavour & health benefits.

How do I store Galangal?

Learn about how to store Greater Galanga.

You should be able to freeze galangal as you can with ginger. You can cut it into smaller pieces and store them in a container or ziplock bag in the freezer. It’s easy to peel and grate while still frozen.

Store the whole fresh galangal root refrigerated in a ziplock bag with a paper towel for up to 3 weeks. To preserve longer, slice the unpeeled root thinly and air dry or freeze.

Is there a substitute for Galangal?

Learn how to use a substitute for Greater Galanga if unavailable

The best substitute for greater galangal is to use 1 tablespoon young, fresh ginger root with 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice.

You can also substitute an equal amount of frozen galangal, thawed if you have some frozen.

Where do I buy Galangal from?

Where to Locate Greater Galanga in the Grocery Store?

The rhizome can be found fresh or in dried and powdered form from local markets and specialty grocers, and in dried form through supermarkets and online retailers.

It is also available as Galangal oil.

What are the health benefits of Galangal?

Learn about health benefits of Greater Galanga (Alpinia galanga)

The following are health benefits of Kulanjan, Greater Galanga or Thai Ginger.

  • Health Benefits of Kulanjan as an AntioxidantAntioxidants are naturally occurring compounds that help protect cells against damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals.
  • Health Benefits of Galangal for Digestion – In Ayurvedic medicine and other Asian cultures, it’s used to calm upset stomachs, resolve diarrhea, reduce vomiting and even stop hiccups.
  • Health Benefits of Kulanjan against Diabetes – Aerial parts of galangal could stimulate the regeneration of insulin-secreting beta-cells in the pancreas.
  • Health Benefits of Galangal against Cancer – The aqueous extract of Alpinia galangal can inhibit the proliferation of human gastric tumor cell lines.
  • Health Benefits of Galangal as an Anti-inflammatory Agent – Galangal rhizomes contain flavonoids, tannins, saponins, glycosides, and several phenolic compounds, which display potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
  • Health Benefits of Galangal as an Antimicrobial Agent – Researchers claim that the essential oils from dried and fresh galangal rhizomes can eliminate bacteria, yeast, fungi, and parasites.
  • Health Benefits of Galangal in Male Sexuality – Galangal influences the protein production via expression of related genes involved in spermatogenesis.
  • Health Benefits of Galangal as an Antimicrobial Agent – galangal extract exerts an antimicrobial effect on several bacteria known for infecting foods, including staphylococcus, E. coli, listeria, salmonella and clostridium.
  • Health Benefits of Galangal for Skin and Hair – Galangal Essential Oil helps to rejuvenate dry and dull looking skin by promoting new cell. The oil boosts elasticity, helping to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

All About Galangal | Know Your Spice Greater Galanga (Alpinia galanga)
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Galangal - Galangal Tea Recipe for a Strong Heart

Galangal or Greater Galanga Tea Recipe - Use this Galangal Tea to strengthen your heart, improve digestion, and relieve bad breath.
Course Beverage
Cuisine World
Diet Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword Galangal, Galangal Tea, Galangal Tea Recipe, Make Galangal Tea, Siamese Ginger, Thai Ginger
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 1 Serving
Calories 5kcal
Author Sumit Malhotra

Ingredients

  • 1 Piece Fresh galangal root (Two inches) Sliced or minced
  • 400 ml Water

Instructions

  • Combine water and galangal root aka Thai ginger in a saucepan.
  • Bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Separate or strain galangal root & serve.

Notes

  • You may add a little honey to sweeten the galangal tea.

Tools & Equipment Used For This Recipe

The links below the image lead to product links on Amazon.in & Amazon.com respectively

Saucepan

Spatula

FInally! To Sum It Up

All About Galangal (Alpinia galanga) | Benefits of Galangal

Spice card – all about galangal | know your spice greater galanga (alpinia galanga)

Galangal or Greater Galanga is the dried rhizome of a plant Alpinia galanga. This is a perennial, robust, tillering, rhizomatous herb.

It is one of four plants known as “galangal”, and is differentiated from the others with the common names lengkuas, greater galangal, and blue ginger.

Denser, firmer and even more knobby than common ginger, the rhizome is rounder, marked with concentric rings every half inch apart and has no skin to be peeled.

Tasting nothing like ginger, it has a hotter and sharper bite combined with a tangy spicy flavor which, to some people, is reminiscent of hot mustard.

Galangal is used largely as an herb in Unani medicine and as a spice in Arab cuisine and Southeast Asian cookery. Remember Thai curries.

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