Galangal Root

If mustard and ginger had a love child, it would be the dried-mustardy, piney, slightly citrusy and pungent galangal, a part of the Indonesian “trinity,” Thai food, Indian curries, and pretty tasty in North American dishes too.

1 oz./28g




Galangal (Ga•LAN•gull) is in the same family of rhizomes as ginger root, but, like turmeric, another rhizome, that’s about where the comparison ends.

Part of the “trinity” of Balinese cooking, along with ginger, and turmeric, it also is a role player in Javanese, Indonesian, Thai, Indian, and other national cuisines.


Galangal has a dried-mustard-like quality, with notes of citrus, and pungent, mildly piney/peppery flavors.  It is definitely more of a role player, blended with ginger, turmeric, or other spices to add that warm richness.

Fresh, it is far more aromatic, and it peels and chops like ginger.

Dried, as it is here, is a lot tougher. It comes sliced, whole (here), or powdered.

You can fine hand-grate it, like nutmeg, or soak it in boiling water for 20-30 minutes before using. Get the powdered if you want to use it in larger quantities for curries, teas, etc.


Galangal is native to Java, and widely used from Indonesia to Malaysia as a food flavoring and spice. It’s also grown in China, India and most of South East Asia. Polish Żołądkowa Gorzka vodka uses galangal as one of its flavorants.


  • Thai Tom Yum soup;
  • Galangal Fried Chicken (Ayem Goreng Laos);
  • Many curries;
  • Beef Rendang.


  • Galangal/lemongrass roasted potatoes;
  • Balinese-inspired “Trinity” noodles with galangal, ginger, and turmeric under a spicy soy/miso seabass;
  • Roast chicken with garlic, galangal, onion powder, and salt;
  • Galangal rye bread


Galangal is an important herb throughout much of the world.  It was first harvested in Java, then in China, going back over 1500 years. In the Middle Ages, it was one of the prized spices that made its way into Europe. One historic use involved a process of spitting the juice from the chewed root onto the floor of a courtroom before the judge enters, a good omen to guarantee a winning case.


  • Thai ginger
  • lengkuas

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Where to Find It

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