Galangal is a knobbly rhizome that looks a little like ginger and although they are related their flavours are vastly different.
Galangal is used almost exclusively in recipes from SE Asia where its pungent earthiness yet also citrus notes, gives a depth and interest to both broths and curries. Young galangal has creamy white skin with pink shoots but as it ages the skin thickens and the colour changes to a deep gold.
Fresh galangal can be grown in gardens in warmer parts of NZ. You will sometimes find it at Farmers Markets and fresh produce markets such as Avondale markets. It is also available frozen in Asian supermarket or conveniently minced and sold in jars in your local supermarket under the Exotic Food label.
When using fresh galangal it is either sliced into very thin strips or grated with a sharp fine grater, as you would with ginger.
1cm of fresh galangal is equivalent to around 1 teaspoon of minced.
Some of our favourite recipes using galangal include;
Chicken Satay originates from Malaysia but due to its popularity can be found on menus around SE Asia. There are many recipes available. most have long ingredient lists but remember the method is simple.
Fish Amok. A popular Cambodian dish and one that is a staple on cafe menus. This is my version and one that I think stacks up pretty well compared to those we ate in Cambodia.
Tom kah Gai or Thai Chicken and Coconut Broth would not be the same without galangal where its earthiness adds a great depth of flavour. Similarly Beef Rendang is made even more delicious with the addition of galangal.