Galangal Root – Alpinia officinarum
Galangal Root comes from Galangal, which is a perennial in the rhizome family, found in the tropical rainforest of SE Asia. Similar to Ginger, Galangal is a digestive stimulant and may help with loss of appetite.It is also said to be an aphrodisiac. Galangal can be found in Asian cooking, and was used in European medieval cooking as well. In botany and dendrology, a rhizome (/ˈraɪzoʊm/, from Ancient Greek: rhízōma “mass of roots”, from rhizóō “cause to strike root”) is a modified subterranean stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes. Rhizomes are also called creeping rootstalks and rootstocks.
Rhizomes develop from axillary buds and are diageotropic or grow perpendicular to the force of gravity. The rhizome also retains the ability to allow new shoots to grow upwards. Galangal /ɡəˈlæŋɡəl/[note 1] (Indonesian: Laos or Lengkuas) is a common name that is loosely attributed to any of several tropical rhizomatous spices. If a rhizome is separated into pieces, each piece may be able to give rise to a new plant. The plant uses the rhizome to store starches, proteins, and other nutrients. These nutrients become useful for the plant when new shoots must be formed or when the plant dies back for the winter.
Various galangal rhizomes are used in traditional Asian cuisines, such as Thai and Lao tom yum and tom kha gai soups, Vietnamese Huế cuisine (tré) and throughout Indonesian cuisine, as in soto). Polish Żołądkowa Gorzka vodka is flavoured with galangal. While all varieties of galangal are closely related to common ginger, and all exhibit some resemblance to the hot, spicy flavor of ginger, each is unique in its own right, and galangals are not typically regarded as synonymous with ginger or each other in traditional Asian dishes.
In commerce, galangals are commonly available in Asian markets as whole fresh rhizome, or in dried and sliced, or powdered form.
Country of origin: China