Hailing from a dried root similar to ginger, ground galangal provides a delightful accompaniment in Indonesian or Malaysian dishes. It’s perfume-like odor makes it easy on the senses, but also agreeable with the palate.
Synonymous with Laos powder, galangal has geographic roots in Indian and southeast Asia. It’s a common fixture at many Asian markets.
Ground Galangal in Cooking
Like many spices from the region, ground galangal is a mainstay in curries, chicken, Vietnamese, and Thai recipes.
Here are some delicious ways to incorporate ground galangal into your next meal…
- Indonesian Spicy Eggs – If you enjoy a little zest in your eggs, this dish is for you. Add about ½ of a teaspoon of ground galangal powder to cloves, onions, sambal, sugar, paprika, butter, lemongrass powder, coconut milk, and chicken bouillon cube, and you’ve got a treat on your hands! If you thought you liked Tapatio sauce, you haven’t seen anything yet.
- Chicken Curry (Lombok style) – A fantastic dish when throwing a get together, this Indonesian chicken curry goes to another level with the infusion of 1.5 teaspoons of ground galangal.
- Spicy Sardines and Green Bean Stir Fry – Another Indonesian dish that needs just a hint of dried galangal so as not to be overwhelmed by the aroma. Nonetheless, the slight addition is great for masking the scent of the sardines. Add soy sauce and a hard boiled egg and you’ve got a worthy treat on your plate.
The History of Ground Galangal
Galangal is native to the countries of China and Java. It would later be introduced to Europeans in the 9th century, who would use it as an aphrodisiac as well as an appetite stimulant.
Turkish people of the 13th and 14th centuries would use Galanga as a tea, while Arabs used it as compost for their horses. And today, Russians use it as a core piece in preparing liqueurs and vinegar.
Clearly, Galangal has been used for many different, wide-ranging purposes.
In addition to its use as a spice, galangal has been sought after for its many health benefits. It not only acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, but it’s also full of antioxidants and can even be used to combat cancer. This is galangal’s one purpose that hasn’t changed much over the past several hundred years.
How to Grow Ground Galangal
There are two different sub-species of galangal, called “greater” or “lesser.” The main difference between the two is in their size; greater galangal leaves reach up to 6 ½ feet while lesser galangal leaves are much more slender, and grow to about half that size.
Galangal performs best when planted in the early springtime, but away from full sun and frost. Its tropical origins make it perform well in warm, temperate areas that are covered by harsh elements.
Instead of digging up the entire plant, the harvesting process involves the removal of a few rhizomes at a time. This will allow the plant to proliferate for years to come.
Where We Get Our Ground Galangal Roots
Southeast Asia remains the best location to grow ground galangal for Burma Spice. Despite the ease with which it could be produced in our own backyards, we never want quality to take a backseat to convenience. Our experience has shown us that the best quality still comes out of that region.
Your ground galangal will be delivered fresh and ready for your next authentic Southeast Asian cuisine!