Organic Galangal Powder
Organic Galangal (guh-LAN-guhl) Powder, Alpinia galangal, is a rhizomatic tuber that’s a close relative of Ginger Root and Cardamom. It is also called galangal root, dried galangal, or galangal spice.
Organic Galangal Powder has an essential oil content of 2.5-4% by weight.
What Is Organic Galangal Powder?
Organic Galangal Powder is ground from all-natural galangal root. At a quick glance, galangal root looks a lot like its close cousin, ginger root, but where ginger has a skin that’s brown and nubbly, galangal’s skin is much more smooth, with rings and buds from where the leaf stalks formed. When fresh and whole, the root is extremely fibrous and tough; it’s difficult to grate, and is often added to food in whole slices that can be removed from a finished dish before serving, or pureed for mixing. When dried, Galangal Powder can be added to all manner of dishes, from soups and stews to stir-fries and noodle bowls.
There are two kinds of Galangal—greater galangal, and lesser galangal. Greater Galangal grows in elongated rhizomes, and has orangey skin with creamy-looking flesh that is white or pale yellow. It’s spicy and peppery, with a flavor that echoes of ginger and pine with a medicinal finish. Greater Galangal is the preferred Galangal in Thai, Malaysian, and Indian food.
Lesser Galangal has shorter, stubbier rhizomes, with reddish skin and orangey-brown flesh. Of the two Galangals it is the one with the bigger punch, with a hotter bite and a more pungent flavor. Lesser Galangal bears less resemblance to ginger in its flavor, leaning more toward lemon and pepper, with a bittersweet earthiness. It is preferred in Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar.
History of Galangal
Galangal is indigenous to Indonesia, but it has been grown throughout Asia and India for so long it’s considered to be naturalized in the various countries of those regions. The Indonesian name for Galangal is lengkuas; Galangal comes from the Chinese phrase gao liang jiang, that translates as “good ginger from Gaozhou”. Gaozhou, now called Maoming, is a port city in the Guangdong (Canton) Province in southwestern China. The city is located on Shuidong Harbor, right along trade routes that would traverse the South China Sea.
Galangal is seen as a solidly Asian ingredient, not often called for in modern Western cooking. However, Galangal was in use in Europe during the Medieval period; it was called galingale at the time and was found listed on an inventory of a kitchen in a Belgian monastery, dated 867 A.D. It came in along the same Arab trade routes that brought Cumin, Ginger, and Pepper to Europe, and made its way through the monasteries of Europe both as a seasoning for food and as a medicinal treatment. A “galingale wine”—Galangal, simmered in white wine—was endorsed by German nun Hildegard von Bingen as a cure for everything from bad breath to heart problems.
By the end of the 15th century, Galangal had fallen out of use in Europe in favor of the sweeter, softer allure of Ginger. It became so uncommon in Europe and America that it’s only thanks to a renewed interest in global cuisine that galangal re-entered the culinary conversation. In Asia, it’s routinely used in fish soups and curries to remove that “fishy” taste, and is the essential bittersweet, citrusy accent to the Thai soup tom kha gai—kha means “galangal” in Thai.
Galangal Root Cultivation
Because it is a tropical plant that thrives in its native Java, Galangal needs to be kept warm to prevent frost from killing it. It can be a little fussy, since it’s a tropical plant that prefers partial shade rather than direct sun, particularly if the temperatures regularly go over 90°F. This plant is a rhizome, which means it sends out thick, tuberous roots horizontally through the soil, and these roots are the part of the plant that we eat. The roots, called “hands”, grow better in sandy soil with some loam, since that is a flexible soil that will give the roots plenty of room in which to expand. Propagation is usually more successful via hand splits than by seed germination, because seed germination often has a high failure rate.
The soil should drain well and again, for this, sandy and/or loamy soil is ideal. These plants are native to Java so are used to rainy seasons; Java can get up to 28 feet of rain in a year, so it’s important to not let the plants dry out. Water maintenance can be tricky with this plant. Galangal is watered heavily when it’s first planted, and the well-draining soil prevents the rhizomes from sitting in soggy conditions since they are susceptible to root rot. Planting occurs after the soil has warmed up in the spring, some time between March and May. This also helps guard against root rot, which can be encouraged by cold, damp soils.
Hands are planted 12 inches apart to allow for the root to spread. Galangal roots send up above-ground shoots that can get very woody and tall—between three and five feet tall—and put out long, slender leaves. These plants to produce fruit once they put on little red flowers. The flowers are primarily used medicinally and don’t serve any real culinary purpose. Browned leaves and flowers should be dead-headed to redirect the growth to viable stems.
The time to harvest is when the leaves start to dry out, which is usually when the plants are about a year old. After harvest, galangal is cleaned and cut into commercially-appropriate sizes. The pieces are moved to a warm, sunny space to dry for up to 5 days, until they reach 10% moisture. A crop of year-old Lesser Galangal yields approximately 23 tons of fresh rhizomes per hectare (2.47 acres), which reduces to 5.65 tons upon drying.
Where Is Our Organic Galangal Powder From
What Does Organic Galangal Powder Taste Like
Organic Galangal Powder asserts itself smell-first; its got a powerful, lemony scent that’s reminiscent of hard candy or lemon-lime soda. The fragrant citrus scent comes forward at first taste, followed by a light, peppery burn that demonstrates just a hint of pine, and a bittersweet, earthy flavor. As the bittersweet resin fades, the burn of Organic Galangal Powder rises up to offer a bit of a palate-cleansing finish.
Are Galangal and Ginger the Same Thing
Galangal and Ginger are closely related, but they are not the same thing. Both are members of the Zingiberaceae family and are tuberous rhizomes, grown for their herbaceous roots. But Ginger, despite its surprising heat, embodies a softer approach. It has softer flesh and is easier to grate or slice finely, while Galangal is harder and has to be pounded into pulp, dried, or sliced for removal before serving. Galangal has a more complex flavor profile. It is at once bitter, sweet, and perhaps a touch piney or soapy, with heavy citrus overtones. Galangal also has a more pronounced burn that lasts longer than Ginger’s heat. Since Galangal can be difficult to find, Ginger is often used as a substitute, but they are different items entirely.
How Do I Use Organic Galangal Powder?
Organic Galangal Powder can be added to a wide array of Asian dishes for a peppery, lemony boost of flavor. It is a favorite in Thai cuisines, so add it to the seasoning blend that’s tossed over Chicken Satay and grill. Stir into the simmering liquid for Thai Basil Chicken Soup. Also used in kitchens throughout Vietnam, you can rub over a pork loin with some Vietnamese Pork Rub and roast. Enjoy over rice or slice it for Banh Mi sandwiches. Make a Spicy Thai Noodle Bowl even spicier with a teaspoon of Galangal, or create a pungent broth with Galangal and soy sauce in which to sit a beautiful Salmon Filet with Spinach. Pair Organic Galangal Powder with its cousins, Ginger and Cardamom, for a fully fragrant food experience. Play up its fruity, citrusy flavors with Coriander and Lemongrass, or add a little aromatic contrast with Garlic or Tamari Powder.
Galangal Powder Substitutions and Conversions
Conventional wisdom says that you can substitute Ginger for Galangal on a 1:1 basis, but that should be tweaked a bit. Galangal has a more assertive flavor than Ginger, so to match the heat level in Galangal you might want to add just a bit of finely ground Black Pepper to the Ginger; try 1/8 teaspoon for every teaspoon of Ginger, should you need to substitute.
|Ingredients||Organic Galangal Root Powder|
|Also Called||Galangal root, dried galangal, or galangal spice.|
|Recommended Uses||Use in soups, as a dry rub, or in dipping sauces.|
|Flavor Profile||Bittersweet, lemony, bold, with a strong peppery finish|
|Botanical Name||Alpinia galangal|
|Oil Content||2.5% - 4%|
|Cuisine||Thai, Vietnamese, Asian|
|How To Store||Airtight container in a cool, dark place|
|Shelf Life||1-2 Years|
|Country of Origin||China|
|Dietary Preferences||Gluten Free, Non-GMO|
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Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*