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Kaempferia galanga

Lesser Galangale

Kencur Zingiberaceae
 

 

Kaempferia galanga, Lesser, Galangale, Kencur

Used plant part ; Rhizome.
It resembles ginger in shape in that the subunits are flat (elliptical cross-section), but it is much smaller (5 cm). It has a dark reddish-brown skin, and the soft interior is nearly white.
Sensory quality
Lesser galanga is, in contrast to the popular greater galangale, hardly known in the West being closely tied to only a few indigenous cuisines. Actually, it seems to be used mainly by Malayic peoples in Malaysia and Indonesia (especially, in Jawa and Bali). Its strong aroma is less pleasant than that of greater galanga, at least in high concentration or on first contact.
Slices of the dried rhizome may be cooked with vegetable or meat dishes, but mostly the spice is used fresh and grated or crushed. It is essential for Jawanese cooking (Rijstafel) . For example, lesser galangale often flavours the peanut sauce (sambal kacang) made from ground peanuts, sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), raw spices (chiles, garlic and lesser galangale) and tamarind water or lime juice. Sambal kacang is typically served to sate, grilled meat on tiny skewers, but also goes well with boiled or steamed vegetables.
Even more than in Jawa, lesser galangale is much loved in the neighbouring island Bali). The most famous dish owing its character in part to lesser galangale is Balinese roast duck bebek betulu. wrapping in banana leaves, the duck is first steamed and then roasted in an oven which makes the meat extraordinarily tender. The result certainly justifies the effort.

  

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