Other Names: Siamese ginger, galangale, greater galangal, galang, Laos
Medicinal Uses: Bowel spasms, Dyspepsia, Angina, Nausea, Anti-oxidant
Alpinia galanga, (also Languas galanga) a plant in the ginger family, is an herb used in cooking, especially in Indonesian cuisine and Thai cuisine. It is one of four plants known as galangal, and is differentiated from the others with the common name greater galangal (or simply Thai galangal). The galangals are also called blue ginger or Thai ginger.
A. galanga is called Laos in Indonesian and is the most common form of galangal used in cooking. It is also known as Langkwas and galanga root.
The plant grows from rhizomes in clumps of stiff stalks up to two meters in height with abundant long leaves which bears red fruit. It is native to South Asia and Indonesia. It is cultivated in Malaysia, Laos, and Thailand. A. galanga is the galangal used most often in cookery. The robust rhizome has a sharp, sweet taste and smells like a blend of black pepper and pine needles. The red fruit is used in traditional Chinese medicine and has a flavor similar to cardamom.
Known as Chittarattai in Tamil, this form of ginger is used with another root called Athi-Mathuram (Glycyrrhiza Glabra) as folk cure to cold and sore throat.
The rhizome is a common ingredient in Thai soups and curries, where is used fresh in chunks or thin slices, mashed and mixed into curry paste, or dried and powdered Indonesian rendang is usually spiced with galangal