Greater galangal, spice in food

Greater galangal in food

What is greater galangal?

Greater galangal or blue ginger is a medicinal plant and aromatic spice that belongs to the same botanical family as ginger.

The rhizome of the plant can be consumed, which shows a strong and penetrating aroma.

There are two types of galangals: greater galangal (Alpinia galanga), and lesser galangal (Alpinia officinarum). The most appreciated is the greater galangal, larger in size, although both have the same medicinal properties.

Greater galangal flavor is spicy and penetrating, which may be reminiscent of eucalyptus or cloves.

Although it is often used as a substitute for ginger because of its spicy flavor, it does not have the lemony touch of ginger.

greater galanga
Greater galangal rhizome photography

Greater galangal properties

  • Aphrodisiac: Greater galangal has a tonic effect on the nerves and stimulates the nervous system. In India it has the reputation of aphrodisiac food.
  • Digestive: It’s a digestive spice and is useful for treat stomach disorders. Greater galangal has components that protect the stomach lining from gastric secretions and is used to treat stomach pain and ulcer.
  • Antibacterial: the intense aroma of this plant can reveal the powerful antiseptic properties of this food. Indeed, greater galangal has nematocidal, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal components.
  • Rheumatism and arthritis: It has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, and is used to treat rheumatic, pain, muscle and joint pain.
  • Respiratory system: Greater galangal extract has been shown in scientific studies that it can help treat asthma naturally.
  • Immune system stimulant: This spice helps to increase defenses.

Greater galangal in food

  • Greater galangal is very present in Indian cuisine and Thai gastronomy. Some Indian and Thai curry spice blends contain this plant among their ingredients.
  • In Indonesia it is used to prepare nasi goreng, a kind of fried rice with vegetables.
  • In Cambodia it is added to the fresh spice mix called Kroeung, which also contains lemongrass, Chinese ginger, lime, turmeric, garlic, red chili, and shallots.
  • To prepare it, it must be washed well to remove the remains of soil from the rhizome. It is cut into slices and added to stews, especially meats, since greater galangal provides digestive and stomach-protective properties. It can also be grated and added at the end of the cooking time.

Where to buy greater galangal?

It can be purchased in specialized stores, Asian food stores and in some local markets. It can be found dry in some specialized supermarkets.

punto rojo More information on greater galangal

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

20 June, 2021

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