Galangal: an oriental root reminiscent of ginger

Galangal is an edible root native to Asia with benefits and taste similar to those of ginger. Let’s find out together its properties and uses in the kitchen.

Galangal (scientific name Alpinia officinarum) is a plant native to East Asia, which generally grows in humid areas and with well-drained soil. It can be considered similar to ginger, of which it belongs to the same family, due to its pungent flavor.

Also for this plant, in fact, the edible part is represented by the radice, preferably fresh, to be crushed before use to soften it and enhance its flavor.

The galangal: properties

Also due to its therapeutic properties, galangal can be considered akin to ginger. It stimulates and facilitates the digestive processes, reduces and counteracts nausea and abdominal swelling

Also in the intestine, moreover, it acts as a mild laxative and promotes intestinal regularity.

There are also tonic and antibacterial properties of this plant, ideal for assisting the treatment of infections caused by fungi but also joint and muscle pain.

On the other hand, the nutritional properties of this plant are reduced, generally used in small quantities to give a more intense flavor to dishes; in fact, there are no appreciable concentrations of nutrients, such as fibers, vitamins and mineral salts, present in the galangal root, but active chemical substances can be found, such as sequiterpenes, eugenol and a mix of substances such as cineol, isomers of cardinene, galangin.

Although there are no known contraindications to the use of galangal root, a more cautious use in case of pregnancy is recommended.

Recipes with galangal

The root of this plant is used as a useful spice to flavor Asian cuisine, especially Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian.

With a pungent aroma and a sweet taste, galangal accompanies savory dishes, replacing or pairing curry, or is used as a condiment for risotto, instead of pepper.

Alternatively, galangal finds space as an ingredient for the preparation of tea or herbal teas: 0.5 grams of dried galangal together with a small part of fresh root are poured into boiling water and then left to infuse for about 5-10 minutes; filter the tea thus obtained and consume it before meals.

The galangal: where to buy

Perhaps you have had the opportunity to taste the spicy taste of this root within a typically Asian or oriental menu.

For those who want to use this spice at home to flavor their recipes and take advantage of its beneficial properties, it is possible to find it at the ethnic fruit and vegetable markets closest to their area to buy the fresh root.

Alternatively, you can opt for the powder of this spice, on the market at herbalists, organic food stores or in online shops.

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