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Galangal Root Guide

Galangal Root has a hot and spicy flavour which is slightly similar to ginger root, but galangal definitely has its own unique flavour with a bit of sharpness to it.Galangal Root is most commonly used in Asian dishes ranging from Malaysia to Indonesia and the most popular, I would say, is from Thailand.

One of the classic and probably the most flavoured dish is Thai Tom Yum. This is a spicy and sour soup. It can be cooked with prawns, seafood and chicken. Another popular Thai soup is Tom Kha Gai. This is a slightly spicy coconut soup with chicken.

Galangal can be mistaken for ginger to look at, but galangal has a lighter skin with a sheen to it, whereas ginger has a darker, softer skin. Even though they are from the same family their flavours are very different.

If you can buy this spice fresh then this is, of course, the best option. If it is not available, don’t panic as there are good substitutes of dried or powdered galangal available, along with the fresh option, online.

Galangal Root Cooking TIps

Cooking with galangal can be straight forward enough. It is often used thinly sliced in soups to add a nice sharpness to the flavour. It can also be ground into a paste and added to other ingredients to make curry pastes. I personally wouldn’t go to the effort to do this as there are great pre made curry pastes available online.

Using dried galangal does not have the same sharpness as that of fresh galangal. However, that being said, it is a great substitute and goes well in delicious Asian soups.

I will be cooking a Thai red curry which has galangal as part of its ingredients.This is a fragrant curry which is simple to use. As always, do not forget to cook your rice first!

Chicken Thai Red Curry


Serves 2-3 people


250 grams thin sliced chicken

1/2 cup baby egg plant

1/2 cup Thai sweet basil

6-8 kaffir lime leaves

1 cayenne pepper thin sliced

1 packet of Lobo Thai red curry paste

250ml coconut milk

250ml water


Take a wok or large pan to a medium high heat and add the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, turning down to a simmer. Add the red curry paste and stir until completely dissolved.

Now add the chicken and the water and bring back to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the baby egg plants and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.

Take the kaffir lime leaves and tear in half. Add to the pan with the sliced chilli, cook for a further 5 minutes.

Finally add all the Thai sweet basil and stir in for no more than 1 minute and  then serve with the rice.