Cooking with Galangal


Cooking with Galangal: Recipes and Tips


Galangal, a rhizome similar to ginger, is a key ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly in Thai, Indonesian, and Malaysian dishes. It has a sharp, citrusy, and slightly peppery flavor that adds depth and complexity to various recipes. In this blog post, we’ll explore the culinary uses of galangal, share some delicious recipes, and provide tips for cooking with this aromatic root.

What is Galangal?

Galangal is a rhizome belonging to the Zingiberaceae family, which also includes ginger and turmeric. It has a tougher skin and a more pungent flavor compared to ginger. There are two main types of galangal: greater galangal (Alpinia galanga) and lesser galangal (Alpinia officinarum), both of which are used in cooking.

Culinary Uses of Galangal

Galangal is often used to add a spicy, aromatic flavor to soups, curries, and stir-fries. It can be used fresh, dried, or in powdered form. Fresh galangal is typically sliced or pounded before adding to dishes, while dried and powdered forms are used similarly to other dried spices.

Tips for Cooking with Galangal

  1. Preparation: Peel the tough skin with a knife or vegetable peeler before using. Slice, chop, or pound the galangal as needed.
  2. Usage: Fresh galangal can be used in soups, curries, and marinades. Dried galangal is rehydrated before use, and powdered galangal is added directly to dishes.
  3. Storage: Store fresh galangal in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. For longer storage, freeze the sliced or chopped rhizome in an airtight container.

Recipes with Galangal

1. Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)


  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2-inch pieces and smashed
  • 3-4 slices fresh galangal
  • 5-6 kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces
  • 200g chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 Thai chilies, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. In a large pot, bring the chicken broth and coconut milk to a boil.
  2. Add the lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves. Simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the flavors.
  3. Add the chicken and mushrooms. Cook until the chicken is done.
  4. Stir in the Thai chilies, fish sauce, and lime juice.
  5. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.

2. Indonesian Beef Rendang


  • 1 kg beef, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 3-4 slices fresh galangal
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 shallots, minced
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, smashed
  • 5-6 kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces
  • 2-3 dried red chilies, soaked and blended into a paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a large pot, heat some oil and sauté the garlic, shallots, and lemongrass until fragrant.
  2. Add the galangal, dried chili paste, ground coriander, cumin, and turmeric powder. Cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the beef and stir to coat with the spices.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk and add the kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beef is tender and the sauce is thickened.
  5. Season with salt to taste before serving.

3. Galangal and Lime Marinade


  • 3-4 slices fresh galangal, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a bowl, combine the grated galangal, lime juice, garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, and vegetable oil.
  2. Whisk until well combined.
  3. Use the marinade for chicken, fish, or tofu. Marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.


Galangal is a versatile and aromatic ingredient that adds a unique flavor to Southeast Asian dishes. Whether you’re making a comforting Tom Kha Gai, a rich Beef Rendang, or a zesty Galangal and Lime Marinade, this root will elevate your cooking. Experiment with these recipes and tips to discover the delightful taste of galangal in your culinary creations.