Galanga Root

Galanga Root: kah

Galanga, also known as the "laos root," is an incredibly strong, pungent and spicy rhizome plant, related to common forms of ginger. This root has a particularly fiery bite, which distinguishes it from ginger.

It is used extensively in Thai cooking, almost to the exclusion of common ginger. Many refer to the root as Thai ginger.

Although there are several forms, it is the "greater galanga" which is most commonly used in Thai dishes. Look for fresh roots which are very firm and fleshy. It should have an ivory color, with young coral-colored shoots that look like young ginger. While galanga may look like ginger, the flavor is more pungent and almost mustard-like in tone. Galanga costs anywhere from four to eight dollars per pound, but the added flavor is well-worth the added costs to your shopping list. You can find it fresh in some areas of the U.S., but it is most commonly sold frozen or sliced and packed in brine in glass jars.

Similar to ginger, galanga has many important medicinal properties. It is well-known as a powerful digestive stimulant, stomach settler, and flatulence reducer. Traditional medicine has touted this root as a blood purifier and intestinal cleanser. It is also known as a natural laxative, pain reducer, respiratory aid, and toxin-remover.

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