||This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2010)|
Galangal /ɡəˈlæŋɡəl/ (also known as galingale /ˈɡælɨŋɡeɪl/, galanga /ɡəˈlæŋɡə/, blue ginger, and laos) is a rhizome of plants in the ginger family Zingiberaceae, with culinary and medicinal uses originating in Indonesia. (Lao: ຂ່າ "kha"; Thai: ข่า "kha" IPA: [kʰɑː]; Indonesian/Malay: lengkuas (Alpinia galanga); Mandarin: 南薑 or 高良薑 (traditional), 南姜 or 高良姜(simplified), nán jiāng or gāo liáng jiāng (Pinyin) IPA: [nan˧˥ tɕjaŋ˥] or IPA: [kaʊ˥ ljaŋ˧˥ tɕjaŋ˥]; Cantonese: 藍薑 laam4 goeng1 (Jyutping) IPA: [lɑm˩ kœŋ˥]; Vietnamese: riềng IPA: [ziəŋ˨˩]).[needs IPA]
The rhizomes are used in various Asian cuisines (for example in Thai and Lao tom yum and tom kha gai soups, Vietnamese Huế cuisine (tre) and throughout Indonesian cuisine, for example, in soto). Though it is related to and resembles ginger, there is little similarity in taste.
In its raw form, galangals have a stronger taste than common ginger. They are available as a whole rhizome, cut or powdered. The whole fresh rhizome is very hard, and slicing it requires a sharp knife. A mixture of galangal and lime juice is used as a tonic in parts of Southeast Asia. In the Indonesian language, the greater galangal and lesser galangal are both called lengkuas or laos, while Kaempferia galanga is known as kencur. It is also known as galanggal, and somewhat confusingly galingale, which is also the name for several plants of the unrelated Cyperus genus of sedges (also with aromatic rhizomes). In Thai language, greater galangal is called "ข่า" (kha) or "ข่าใหญ่" (kha yai), while lesser galangal is called "ข่าตาแดง" (kha ta daeng). In Vietnamese, greater galangal is called riềng nếp and lesser galangal is called riềng thuốc.
The word galangal, or its variant galanga, can refer in common usage to four plant species all in the Zingiberaceae (ginger family):
- Alpinia galanga or greater galangal
- Alpinia officinarum or lesser galangal
- Kaempferia galanga, also called kencur, aromatic ginger or sand ginger
- Boesenbergia rotunda, also called Chinese ginger or fingerroot
Polish vodka Zoladkowa Gorzka is flavoured with galanga.