Your cart:
You have 0 item items in your cart
View cart
Total Price
Have a question? Click here to Ask a Chef


Common Name

Latin Name Family Country/Origin
Greater : Languas galangal, syn Alpinia galanga Lesser: Languas officinarum, syn Alpina officinarum Kaempferia: Kaempferia galanga, Kaempferia pandurata Zingiberaceae South East Asia

There are three different types of galangal, a root closely related to ginger: greater, lesser and kaempferia. Galangal was popular throughout Europe during the Middle Ages, but its culinary use today is restricted primarily to Asia.

Written and oral history suggests galangal was traded throughout Asia since the 9th century and that, it eventually made its way to the Russian continent during the 11th and 12th centuries where it was generously traded and used to make tea.

Galangal's therapeutic qualities gained popularity and it became a staple natural medicine for treating head colds and digestive problems. A natural aphrodisiac, galangal is still found in natural deodorants made in India, and in restorative supplements.

Greater galangal is brown on the outside and white on the inside, closely resembling ginger. Smelling slightly like camphor, with pine undertones, greater galangal is an important ingredient in Thai and other South Asian cuisines.

Lesser galangal is much darker on the inside than greater galangal, and has a far more potent smell. Not common outside of Malaysia, lesser galangal pairs well with cloves, nutmeg and ginger.

Finally, kaempferia galangal has a red outer skin and a white interior. Often confused with greater galangal, kaempferia galangal is much sweeter and should be used in very small quantities.

Purported Medicinal Qualities*

Although galangal may not be familiar to everyone as a culinary spice, it is a commonly used spice in homeopathic, herbal and natural medicines. Used on humans and animals alike, galangal has similar health effects to ginger

Historically, galangal has been used to:

  • As a carminative
  • Relieve nausea and motion sickness
  • Ease stomach aches
  • As a stimulant
  • Reduce bacteria
  • As a circulatory aid

*Always check with your healthcare provider before consuming, inhaling or otherwise ingesting any non-prescription or prescription natural or homeopathic substance or pharmaceutical. is not recommending, suggesting, inferring or otherwise endorsing the use of any herb or spice as a medication.

Culinary/Suggested Use

Galangal can be used similarly to ginger, however it has a slightly different taste. Difficult to find fresh, the variety of ripe galangal available in North America should be hard and firm all around and white on the inside.

Galangal can be purchased fresh, dried or in powdered form, but will vary in taste depending on what type is used. Fresh galangal is less spicy than the powdered form and has a more refreshing taste. It is a common ingredient in curry pastes and if used dried should be soaked in hot water for several minutes prior to cooking.  Food for thought:

  • Remove rhizomes then chop or mash galangal into a homemade curry paste
  • Add galangal to any Thai flavored curry or stir-fry
  • Use galangal to neutralize any 'fish' smell in a dish
  • Add galangal to homemade spicy sauce
  • Add thinly sliced galangal to soup for flavor, but remove before serving
  • Mix lemon grass, garlic, galangal, and chilis into a paste and add to stir-fries or rice dishes. Substitute cilantro if lemongrass is not available
  • Galangal pairs beautifully with coconut milk and lemon and lime flavors
  • Add galangal to meat, fish or poultry dishes

view other A-Z Spices