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Kaempferia galanga
Lesser galangal (Alpinia officinarum)
Galangal rhizome ready to be prepared for cooking

Galangal (/ˈɡæləŋˌɡæl/[1]) is a common name for several tropical rhizomatous spices.


The word galangal, or its variant galanga, can refer in common usage to the aromatic rhizome of any of four plant species in the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family, namely:


Various galangal rhizomes are used in traditional Southeast Asian cuisine, such as Khmer kroeung (paste), Thai and Lao tom yum and tom kha gai soups, Vietnamese Huế cuisine (tré) and throughout Indonesian cuisine, as in soto. Polish Żołądkowa Gorzka vodka is flavoured with galangal. While all varieties of galangal are closely related to common ginger, each is unique in its own right, and galangals are not typically regarded as synonymous with ginger or each other in traditional Asian dishes. It was popular in medieval Europe, where it was generally known as "galingale".

In ethnobotany, galangal has been reported to be used for its purported merits in promoting digestion and alleviating respiratory diseases and stomach problems. Each galangal variety has been attributed specific medical virtues.[2][3]

In commerce, galangals are commonly available in Asian markets as whole fresh rhizome, or in dried and sliced, or powdered form.


  1. ^ "galangal". Oxford English Dictionary third edition. Oxford University Press. November 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  2. ^ "What is Galangal? Your Guide to the Spice of Life". Healthy Hildegard. February 16, 2016.
  3. ^ "Keittosanasto: Keittotaito - ruoanvalmistuksen opas". (in Finnish).