Greater Galangale

Update: 11/4/2013

Dried and powdered galanga is less fresh but more spicy, something in between of ginger and cinnamon. Dried galanga is also sold if form of slices that must be reconstituted in warm water and come closer to fresh galanga in their flavour.

In most South East Asian countries dried galanga is employed only whenever fresh galanga is not available. Indonesians, for example, frequently use slices or powder of the fresh or dried rhizome, e. g., for nasi goreng (fried rice with vegetables and meat) or for the characteristically sweet Jawanese curries (see tamarind). 
Galanga (plant)
Another well-known Indonesian dishes which makes use of dried galanga is rendang, a spicy beef (or buffalo) stew.

Cubed beef is cooked in thick coconut milk together with dried chiles, garlic and dried turmeric, ginger, Indonesian bay-leaves and galangale; some recipes additionally prescribe Indonesian cinnamon, black pepper or even fennel.

Rendang is famous both for the soft texture of the otherwise tough buffalo meat and for its hot and aromatic flavour; even for ordinary beef, I found a cooking time of three hours appropriate, unless the procedure is sped up by using a pressure cooker.
Rendang is a great example of the food style called nasi Padang Padang-food in Indonesia. It originates from Western Sumatra province (Sumatra barat) and is named after the capital Padang.
The region is inhabited by the Islâmic minangkabau people who are known all over Indonesia for their strong breeds of buffalo.

By Indonesian standards, Padang food is quite spicy; due to much domestic migration, nasi Padang has become available and popular all over the country, and can thus also be enjoyed in Jawa or Bali.
Galangale is sometimes confused with other spices of the ginger family; see lesser galangale for details. Its taste and appearance are, however, characteristic; it cannot be substituted by any other spice. 
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