Galangal is also known as Thai ginger or Siamese ginger (because of how it closely resembles fresh ginger), but it’s actually its own ingredient. You’ll find it in Thai, Indonesian, and Malaysian cooking.
The skin of galangal is smoother and paler than ginger and its flesh is much harder, which also means it can’t be grated as ginger can, so it must be sliced. Compared to regular ginger, galangal also has a more potent flavor, which is characterized as being earthy, sharp, and very citrusy.
Both galangal and ginger are derived from the same family (rhizomes), and they are both grown from a plant whose stems flower underground. Ginger is certainly more popular than galangal in the West, so you’re bound to find it in grocery stores more easily, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t find galangal.
In this article, I’m going to show you in which aisle you’re most likely to find galangal, as well as which stores are more likely to have it available. Finally, I’ll also provide you with two recipes that use galangal.
Where to Find Galangal in The Grocery Store
If you find yourself at the grocery store, the aisle you’re most likely to find fresh galangal is in the produce area, namely in the section where other exotic vegetables and fruits are located.
Another section where you may be able to find galangal, but this time in the form of powder, is in the international aisle, next to other Asian spices and herbs. Galangal can also be found dried and sliced into pieces, which should also be located in the international aisle.
If you can’t find galangal selling in the most popular physical stores (i.e: Walmart, Whole Foods), then your best bet is to either visit Asian markets or order it online.
What Stores Have Galangal Available?
- Amazon: Needless to say, Amazon is the most popular online store in the world, with roughly 2-3 billion visits per month. There, you’re able to find a wide array of exotic ingredients, including fresh galangal and ground galangal.
- Walmart: Walmart is yet another place where you’re likely to find galangal in-store, and you can almost certainly find it selling online. A glance at Walmart’s website and you’re able to find whole galangal, galangal powder, as well as dried galangal that’s been sliced.
- Whole Foods: If you wish to buy galangal in-store and see it with your own eyes before purchasing, then Whole Foods is the place to visit. They usually have a wide variety of exotic (or ethnic) foods, and galangal should also be present in that list.
- Safeway: Safeway, while not as big as Walmart or Whole Foods, you might be able to find powdered galangal, though I’m not sure you’re able to get whole and fresh.
- Kroger: Like Safeway, Kroger is another place where you may able to find powered galangal, but if you are seeking the whole galangal, it’s probably not the place to visit.
- Asian Markets: If you wish to purchase galangal in-store (regardless of the form or variety), then the Asian markets are the best place to find it.
Unique Recipes That Use Galangal
Vegan Tom Kha Gai
Tom Kha Gai is essentially a Thai Coconut Soup, which is exceptionally creamy, delicious, with a truly intense flavor, however, it uses unique ingredients that aren’t particularly easy to find, including galangal.
Ingredients: 2 cups vegetable broth, 1 can coconut milk full fat, 2 lemongrass stalks (diagonally sliced), 8 slices of galangal (26 grams), 2 large carrots (chopped), 4-5 white mushrooms (sliced), 1/2 red pepper (sliced), 6-7 kaffir lime leaves torn into pieces before adding, 2 Thai chilies, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar (optional), 2 tablespoons cilantro (chopped), 2 tablespoons of lime juice.
If you’re interested in this recipe, be sure to check the website Cook with Manali.
Galangal Tofu with Lemongrass-Scented Broth
This particular recipe is light and delicate, but also rich in savory, and is particularly interesting if you wish to avoid animal ingredients, which are often used in soups of the same kind.
Required ingredients: 1 block of tofu (pressed and cut into triangles), 3/4 cup of mirin, 1 tbsp of prepared galangal root, 1 tbsp of soy sauce, a small piece of ginger (about the size of your thumb cut into thin matchstick-sized pieces), 5–6 cloves of garlic (sliced), 4–6 cups of homemade stock, 4–6 lemongrass stalks (hearts removed and reserved), 1–2 frozen cubes of vegan fish sauce (optional), 2 tbsps of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of sugar.
Optional ingredients: cooked soba noodles, gently sauteed and sliced lemongrass hearts, sliced carrots, sliced scallions, raw kale, shallots (gently sauteed), dried shiitake caps (soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes), and fresh cilantro.
If you want to make this recipe at home, feel free to visit the website Olives For Dinner.
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