[Sca-cooks] galingale/galanga/galangal

Craig Jones drakey at internode.on.net
Thu Jan 11 04:47:30 PST 2007

> As I'm understanding them, there are no mutually exclusive assertions
> being made, and no refutation needed. There are plants found in the
> far East, rhizomes related to ginger, used as a spice, known
> collectively as galingale, distinguished as Greater and Lesser
> galingale, used in the cookery of China and Southeast Asia,
> particularly Indonesia, under names like galanga, kencur and laos. To
> me, they taste a little like ginger and a lot like eucalyptus. This
> is the galingale generally referred to medieval English recipes,
> clearly seen as a spice (IOW, a flavoring to be used in small
> quantities) and listed both in recipes and shipping records with
> other valuable Eastern imports.

I always thought that Galanga and laos were different beasts. From my days
in Thailand I remember Laos (Chinese Keys) as being long, white or pale
brown and finger like whilst Galanga was a larger root with a pink tinge.  

Galanga reminded me of rattan with a really hot, sharp flavour... I love the
stuff, especially used in brewing... And it's a part of one of my commonly
made Thai dishes, Chicken and Coconut Milk Soup. 

I only ever saw Laos used in cooking on the few times I went south... It was
a part of a fantastic Chilli crab (I assumed so as there was a basket of
them on the kitchen table) I had for breakfast, lunch and dinner cooking 24
hrs a day in a 44 gallon drum (master sauce style).  It was a bit eucalyptus
like but aussies as a rule aren't very sensitive to that flavour. All those
koalas we BBQ all taste like eucalyptus, don’t you know ;)

Kenchur was something you saw rarely and had a non-hot but spicy flavour.
Had a reddish brown skin. Used to get slices in Fish soup from the
restaurant at the end of my street. Kinda of tangy with a taste hard to
describe, I swear almost violet like... But not... Kenchur was defiantly a
different spice to laos tho...

So we are talking about the same spices, yeah?

Drake - no 'drakies' lately... Unless you count the "wood stain explosion in
the face" incident...

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