When shopping at one of the outdoor markets around Bangkok, you might have noticed a light brown root spice that looks similar to ginger. Although it’s related to ginger, galangal has its own distinct taste that is more pungent with a fiery kick. In Thailand, it is called “kha” and often referred to as the “Laos root” or “Thai ginger.” Not only can galangal be used to add an intense flavor to the dish you’re making while cooking, you can also use it to aid digestion illnesses.
Popular Thai dishes that have galangal as a key ingredient are Tom Kha Gai (the famous Thai chicken coconut soup), Tom Yum Gai, red and green curry dishes, and spicy soups. We’ll learn more on how to cook with galangal and what its benefits are so you can start creating amazing Thai food at home.
Cooking with Galangal
Since galangal is like a cousin to ginger, it’s basically a hard root that you can’t just eat by itself (although it wouldn’t be a bad thing if you did). When using it to cook, it’s better if you grate the galangal. Galangal is a fibrous root, making it hard to chew. In order to grind up the zingy spice, you can easily use a cheese grater. This will effortlessly mince the hearty root so you can quickly add it to the dish you are making.
If you wish to infuse it in a soup, then it’s best to slice thicker slices to let it marinate in the broth. The thick slices will break down in the boiling pot ensuring a warm and spicy taste. Be sure to peel it in order to unlock its true flavor and freshness. If you are using galangal to make a curry paste, you’ll want to chop and grind it. When making red and green curry pastes, galangal is usually ground with other spices to make a powder seasoning. You can easily store galangal in a freezer bag and it will stay fresh for about four to six weeks. Once you start cooking with galangal, you won’t want to stop!
Healthy Benefits by Ingesting Galangal
Galangal seems to have the same stomach curing effects that the ginger root has. Many people use galangal to aid digestion, treat nausea, and stop gas. This powerful plant can ease stomach aches and cramps, which makes most Thai dishes appetizing since galangal is one of the main ingredients.
If your stomach is upset and you’re looking to have a healthy gut again, you can use galangal to treat the symptoms. Simply cut a small chunk of the galangal root (make sure it’s peeled) and suck on it. You’ll taste the spicy warmth of the root herb so the flavor might be extreme at first but your stomach will soon feel better. You can also make a lemon tea and steep some of the galangal chunks in the cup. This will release the healing properties of the root without having to chew on the concentrated spice.
Where to Find Galangal in Bangkok
If you’re trying to buy galangal to use in your cooking or to bring back to share with your friends, there are several places you can find it in Bangkok. You can always go to the Central Silom Tower since there is a large grocery store that sells fresh and local produce. You’ll be able to find the galangal root along with herbal supplements and tea that contain galangal. Another great mall to check out that also has a Top’s Market is the Robinson’s Department store. Top’s Market is a great place to shop for galangal and other popular Thai spices.
If you’re looking to learn how to cook amazing Thai food and you’re interested in taking a cooking class, the Silom Thai Cooking School offers daily courses. You can learn how to cook the best Thai dishes to share with your friends and family. To ensure you’re staying close to all these markets and fun activities check out the Centre Point Silom location. By staying at our premium Silom hotel, you’ll be staying in the center of Bangkok without having to worry about the traffic and spending tons of time getting to and from places.
We hope you have a great stay in Bangkok and enjoy the zingy taste of galangal.