[Sca-cooks] galingale/galanga/galangal

Nick Sasso grizly at mindspring.com
Thu Jan 11 08:09:41 PST 2007

-----Original Message-----
> > > > > > On Jan 11, 2007, at 12:37 AM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

> I received this message today, which I will be placing in the
> Florilegium. However, I was under the impression that "galingale" was
> the same as "galanga or galangal", probably from, as Jason mentions,
> comments from this list.
> So can any one clarify this or refute one assertion or the other?

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.< SNIP < < < < < < < < <

I checked our friend Gernot Katzer and his spice pages.  His descriptions
seem to support the general concensus here as expressed by Adamantius.
There are, indeed, two varieties of rhizome described there:  Greater
Galangale (Alpina Galanga [L.] Willd.) and Lesser Galangale (Kaempferia
galanga L.).  they are roughly similar in appearance, though the described
flavors are not so much the same.  I could not find a reference there to
cyperus longus.  The ones I find online all refer to English grasses and not
at all to anything of Asian origin.

SPECULATION It seems that there is a distinct possibility that this sedge
was found, has aromatic roots, and was named for something already known in
the culture.  Maybe to gain favor for the local plant and make a new market

Greater Galangal (fresh) is what I have found in markets, and having the
flavor profile we want.  Given the French and German recipes that we have
using this galangale, and its niteruse with ginger, I am still believing our
assertion of the identity of the spice.  Now, if the gentleman with the
sedge reference has some historical based references and case to make, I am
open to hearing and looking at his premises and sources.  Very open.

niccolo difrancesco

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list