We have rare Galangal in store

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)’.

Tasty Madumbi’s two ways

Madumbi’s are an indigenous starchy vegetable commonly found all along the eastern regions of South Africa, believed to originate from South Asia and South India. A potato-like tube, its taste resembles a sweet potato. It has a rich earthy flavour and a starchy flesh.

Two recipes to try with your Madumbi’s

Madumbi’s with parmesan

Scrub 4 madumbis under running water. Bring water to the boil, add madumbis and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, then drain. Slice and season with salt, pepper and 2 T olive oil. Then toss in150g salted butter and 25g Parmesan cheese and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with hot stews and curries.

Mashed Madumbi’s


  • 6 madumbi’s
  • 200g salted butter
  • Small bunch of spring onions, white and pale green parts only, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 250ml cream little milk, to thin the mixture
  • Himalayan salt and milled black pepper


Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, and add a slice of lemon, peel and all.

Skin the madumbis using a potato peeler and cut them into small chunks. Put the chunks in the boiling water and boil until completely tender (about 30 minutes, depending on the age of your madumbis), skimming off any grey foam as it rises. Drain the chunks in a colander and set aside for a few minutes to cool and dry out. In the meantime, heat the butter in a deep pot and add the sliced spring onions and the garlic. Allow to cook, very gently, for a few minutes, or until the onions are softened, but do not allow them to brown. Tip the cooked madumbis into the buttery spring onions and, using a potato masher, mash over a medium heat until smooth. (If you’d like a perfectly silken mash, put madumbis through a potato ricer first).

Add all the cream, and just enough milk to make a creamy mixture. Don’t over-beat, or your madumbis will become sticky. Season well with salt and pepper. Pile the piping-hot mash onto a big platter – or on to individual plates – in a big volcano-like cone. Make a hollow in the top of the cone and fill it with a few cubes of cold butter. Scatter with a little more sliced spring onion.

Good with steak, boerewors and chicken. Serves 6 as a side dish.