This week we were lucky enough to get in a few kg’s of this rare spice from a local grower – order soon as stocks wont last.
Cooking with Galangal
The use of galangal is confined to local Indonesian dishes such as curries. Although known in Europe since the Middle Ages, galangal is now used only in Far Eastern cookery from Indonesia, IndoChina, Malaya, Singapore and Thailand.
Like ginger, galangal is a ‘de-fisher’ and so appears frequently in fish and shellfish recipes often with garlic, ginger, chilli and lemon or tamarind. Laos powder is more important than kencur and, as well as with fish, is used in a wide variety of dishes such as sauces, soups, satays and sambals, chicken, meat and vegetable curries.
Although used in the often searingly hot Indonesian cookery, laos powder enhances dishes such as chicken delicately spiced with fennel and lemon grass and gently cooked in coconut milk. However, these mild dishes are usually accompanied by vegetable or fish sambals fiery with chili.
Preparation and Storage
Use like ginger, powdered, bruised or crushed. One slice of the root is equivalent to half a teaspoon of powder. The powders should be stored in airtight containers and used within a short space of time.
Health Benefits of Galangal
Resembling ginger in its effects, galangal is an aromatic stimulant, carminative and stomachic. It is used against nausea, flatulence, dyspepsia, rheumatism, catarrh and enteritis. It also possesses tonic and antibacterial qualities and is used for these properties in veterinary and homeopathic medicine. In India it is used as a body deodorizer and halitosis remedy. Both galangals have been used in Europe and Asia as an aphrodisiac for centuries. Gerard (1597) says: ‘they conduce to venery, and heate the too cold reines (loins)’.