Spice Profile: Galangal

Spice Profile: Galangal, Alpinia Species

Galangal is pronounced as guh-lang-guh, scientific name Alpine Species. It is also known as Laos, Siamese and Thai Ginger

Types of Galangal

There are two principal types of galangal- Greater and Lesser Galangal. Both are cultivated, but greater galangal has been increasing in favor over lesser galangal. Greater Galangal grows larger and taller than lesser Galangal.

What is Galangal?

Galangal is a rhizome similar to ginger. It has a gingery lemony flavor and is used extensively throughout Southeast Asia 

How Can I Use Galangal?

Galangal is used throughout Southeast Asia in curries, stews, sambas, satays, soups and sauces. It is a common ingredient in blends, such as curry powders and laksa spices. It is sometimes used in place of ginger. 

Preparation methods

  • Fresh galangal can be peeled and sliced like ginger
  • Powdered galangal can be used in spice blends
    • Sliced dry galangal can be used in soups and stews

    Where Can I Buy Galangal?

    Galangal is available fresh at asian markets or powdered at specialty spice shops.

      What is the History of Galangal?

      Galangal is native to China and Southeast Asia. It has a rich history throughout Europe and the Arabian Peninsula for its medicinal uses. It has also been used as a base to liqueurs and vinegars.

      How to Grow and Plant Galangal

      Galangal can be grown in warm and mediterranean climates. It can even be grown in cooler climates if it is carefully protected from frost. Rhizomes with at least two buds should be planted in the early spring in a partially shady area. Rhizomes can be harvested without pulling the whole plant by carefully removing them from the sides and then cleaning them before use.

      Galangal in Other Languages

      • Kha- Thailand
      • Lengkuas- Malaysia
      • Laos- Indonesia


      • World Spice at Home By Amanda Bevill and Julie Kramis Hearne
      • Herbs and Spices by Jill Norman
      • The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart
      Written by Leah Sugar

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