ingredient information
The Galangal plant (Galanga, Blue Ginger) is a rhizome with culinary and medicinal uses (Lao: ??? "Kha", Thai: ??? "Kha", Malay: lengkuas (Alpinia galangal), Traditional Mandarin: ??, Simplified Mandarin: ??, T:???/S:???, Cantonese: lam keong, ??, Vietnamese: Ri?ng). It is used in various oriental cuisines (for example in Thai cuisine Tom Yum soups and Dtom Kha Gai, Vietnamese Huenian cuisine (Tre) and throughout Indonesian cuisine, for example, in Soto. Though it is related to and resembles ginger, there is little similarity in taste. In its raw form, galangal has a citrusy, earthy aroma, with hints of pine and soap in the flavor. It is available as a whole root, cut or powdered. The whole fresh root is very hard, and slicing it requires a sharp knife. A mixture of galangal and lime juice is used as a tonic in parts of Southeast Asia. It is said to have the effect of an aphrodisiac, and acts as a stimulant. In the Indonesian language, greater galangal is called lengkuas or laos and lesser galangal is called kencur. It is also known as galanggal, and somewhat confusingly galingale, which is also the name for several plants of the unrelated Cyperus genus of sedges (also with aromatic rhizomes). In Thai language, greater galangal is called "???" (Kha) or "???????" (Kha yai), while lesser galangal is called "????????" (Kha ta daeng). The word galangal, or its variant galanga is used as a common name for all members of the genus Alpinia, and in common usage can refer to four plants, all in the Zingiberaceae (ginger family): Alpinia galanga or greater galangal Alpinia officinarum or lesser galangal Kaempferia galanga, also called kencur, aromatic ginger or sand ginger Boesenbergia pandurata, also called Chinese ginger or fingerroot Alpinia galanga is also known as Chewing John, Little John Chew and galanga root. It is used in African-American folk medicine and hoodoo folk magic.