Galangal is a spice from the ginger family and the root looks like ginger root.
It is used a lot in Thai, Indonesian and Malaysian cooking and has similar properties to ginger when used culinary dishes. For this reason, you can often substitute ginger for galangal if you can’t get hold of galangal. But you should be able to find galangal in shops and supermarkets that sell a complete range of spices.
Galangal is native to Java and southern China and is now grown widely in South East Asia.
Galangal used to be a common spice in Europe but is seldom used there nowadays.
As well as the culinary uses, galangal also has some medicinal applications.
Galangal is used as an herbal medicine to treat upset stomachs and loss of appetite.
Galangal is also used in cattle medicines and as a horse stimulant.
And galangal is also used in perfumes, tea and in brewing.