Galangal – Alpinia galanga – is a rhizome in the family of ginger. We call it “langkawas” in the Philippines from the Indonesian or Malay word “lengkuas”. It is used mainly for Asian or Thai cooking but it has some medicinal properties too. It is considered an stimulant by homeopathic practitioners. It is also a remedy for sea sickness and stomach ailments.
I got interested in planting galangal because I like Thai cooking very much. I bought a small size rhizome in the market at Chinatown and prepared to plant it. I knew it needs soil with good drainage and lots of composted materials for retaining moisture. Then I waited for months. It grew well with nice green leaves almost identical to ti leaves and the stem was tall and hard not like the common ginger. Intuitively I know when to check if it is ready for harvesting, when the leaves are turning yellow. So I dug them up and I was so surprised I got a whole lot with just a small rhizome as you can see in the picture. I just gathered these when I took the picture and they still have the roots. I felt a sense of accomplishment seeing the fruit of my labor. The good thing is I can cook as much Thai cooking as I can especially the Tom Yum soup which is my husband’s favorite.
By the way, the galangal is harder than the regular ginger so you will need a sharp knife to slice it.