|1. A hand of galangal rhizome|
Galangal is used as a herb cum spice in Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. Galangal is an ingredient in chicken and fish curry dishes and also my favourite Hari Raya delicacy, the rendang. The Chinese call it "blue ginger" while in Malay, it is "galangal" or "lengkuas".
As it is readily available at any wet market in this region, we are never shot of galangal. We also keep stock of galangal rhizomes in the refrigerator, ready to be used whenever the need arises.
Do you know that galangal can grow into a beautiful plant with showy foliage?
Even if you don't intent to harvest galangal for cooking, you can grow galangal plants just for their beautiful and cool-looking foliage. The whole plant is mildly aromatic. This is a cheap and low maintenance plant. Today I'll show you how to grow galangal from store-bought rhizomes.
This post is dedicated to Ash of Houris in the Garden blog. She's a new blogger, hence do visit her blog to give her your encouragement. Her enthusiasm and diligence in maintaining a little "garden by the window" has inspired me to blog on. Sometimes you can see and appreciate many things from a fresh perspective.
|2. Galangal seedling|
Freshly dug out rhizomes can be directly planted on the soil. Dig a hole, then cover the rhizome with so soil.
If you have excess galangal in the fridge, do not throw them away. You can grow them into exotic ginger plants with lovely foliage. If you like, you can harvest the rhizomes later for cooking.
Select rhizomes with "eyes" or nodes. New shoots will develop from the eyes. If the hand is too large, you can cut into smaller pieces before planting but each piece must have at least 2 eyes. In Malaysia, the galangal rhizomes can be planted directly on the soil or you can let it stand in a container of water for 1-2 days before planting. You can plant it directly on the ground or in a container. You won't see the roots yet as it will take some time for it to appear. Place it in a shaded location. The soil should be moist but well-drained.
|3. Rooted galangal rhizome|
The above is a galangal seedling showing the rhizome with shoots and roots. The edible part of the galangal is the rhizome which is a swollen underground stem, not the roots. Hence, it is incorrect to say "ginger root" as it is quite commonly used in culinary recipes.
|4. Galangal and lemon grass plants|
Galangal rhizomes can be harvested in about 10-12 months, when the plants start to flower. You don't have to uproot the whole plant when harvesting the rhizomes. Just cut enough for your requirements and it will continue to grow back.
|5. Galangal foliage|
|6. A flowering galangal|
|7. Galangal flower buds|
|8. Galangal flower buds|
Synonym: Languas galanga
Malay name - Lengkuas, Galangal
Origin: Tropical Asia (India)
Native to Southeast Asia and Indonesia
Category: Rhizomatous perennial
Uses : Medicinal herb and spice.
|9. Galangal inflorescence|
Are you growing galangal in your garden?
Do you use galangal in cooking and is so in what dishes?
This is my entry for Fertilizer Friday hosted by Glenda Tootsie Time here.
1. In answer to Sean L's question, galangal seeds are used in Chinese medicine for stomach ailments. The link is here, an extract from the book, "Flavor Chemistry: Thirty Years of Progress by Roy Teranishi.
2. Suggested sites for additional reading are (a) GlobinMed site
and (b) Wikipedia - used in African American medicine and hoodoo magic!
3. Below is picture of how a spouted galangal rhizome look like after soaking in a container of water for a week or so.
The roots have not appeared yet. You can plant it in the soil. Actually in Malaysia, we can plant galangal rhizome directly into the soil. It will root easily.