Pungent and expansive on the palate, galangal is a zesty addition to any culinary endeavor.
It is a member of the ginger family and has all the peppery, spicy zip that gingerroot has but also has its own unique twist, similar to camphor or pine. Galangal is native to Asian cuisine but has made its way into cultural foods and herbal remedies around the world. The most delightful cup of galangal and ginger tea inspires today’s flavor of the day. The tea is warming and soothing, perfect for a rainy day in Oregon. Galangal resembles ginger very closely but has smoother skin and is lighter in color.
From a culinary perspective, galangal is a common ingredient in Thai, Malaysian, and Indonesian food. It adds an earthy almost citrus quality due to its volatile oils so ginger and galangal together make an awesome combination. Galangal can add well to savory and sweet dishes alike.
It can be steeped in teas, soups, stir-fries, and grated into curries and other stews. I’ve enjoyed galangal brulee, which was delicious and it is definitely a favorite addition to curries.
From a health perspective, has a long tradition as a medicinal herb. It has similar properties to ginger. It has long been used as a digestive stimulant and carminative (which means anti-flatulence). It is anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic, as well as antiviral, antifungal, and antimicrobial. Research demonstrates that galangal like ginger is beneficial internally and topically for things like arthritis, ulcers, and other inflammatory based diseases and ailments. Studies show that it is also highly beneficial for managing and eliminating oxidative stress.