Cooking with Galangal

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Galangal forms part of the ginger family. It is also quite often confused with it. The flavours between the 2 are however quite different. Galangal is the root of Alpinia galangal. Due to its superiority, familiarity & popularity, it is known as greater galangal.

Ingredient spotlight – Galangal

Known by many names such as “Siamese ginger”,  “Laos”  and Thailand’s  famous “Blue ginger”, this distinctively flavoured spice forms a magical ingredient in South–East Asian cuisines, especially Thai cuisine.


Originating from Malaysia  and Java  this refreshing spice has found its way to kitchens across the world. Knobby in appearance like the other rhizomes, it is encircled with dark rings and can be found fresh, frozen, dried and powdered in Asian stores. Galangal is best used fresh and can give a citrusy to fiery peppered heat to most Thai soups and curries. An ardent fan of Thai cuisine, I never miss an opportunity to indulge in some Tom Kha soup. It is a refreshing, delicious creamy coconut based soup with the flavours of galangal entwined with fragrant lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaves, shredded green chilies topped with chili oil. (Ingredient list courtesy: Chef Chirag from High on Thai Restaurant, Bangalore).

Tom Kha soup with galangal
Tom Kha soup with galangal

As exotic as it sounds, so is the flavour, which Galangal lends to many dishes. This elusive cousin of the ginger is surely an inspiration to the tongue, mind and soul.   TRIVIA Galangal is known as Kulanjanam in Sanskrit, Raasmi in Kannada and Arathai in Tamil   RECIPE LOGO

  • 2 stalks of lemon grass
  • 6 Kaffir lime leaves crushed
  • 3 Thai bird chillies, sliced with seeds
  • 2 slices fresh galangal
  • 2 chicken breasts, skinned, sliced into ¼ inch ribbons
  • 2 large peeled Tiger prawns
  • ½ cup fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 litre chicken stock (dissolve 1 Maggie chicken cube in ½ litre of water)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • Salt and Black pepper to taste


  • Heat oil and add lemon grass, galangal, chill and garlic in a large shallow pan. Allow to cook for few minutes to release the aromas, stirring frequently. Add the chicken and prawn and stir fry lightly.
  • Cook the chicken for at least 10mins and prawns until they turn pink and tender.
  • Add the coconut milk to the pan and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock and bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for a few minutes. Add splashes of Thai fish sauce, to taste.
  • Add lemon juice and the crushed Kaffir leaves.
  • And Voila! It’s now ready to be savoured.


One Response

  1. Sounds yummy….

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