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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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galangal (or galingale), a spice consisting of the dried rhizomes of plants of the genus Alpinia, especially A. galanga (greater galangal) and A. officinarum (lesser galangal), in parts of India and E. and SE Asia. Greater galangal grows in the tropics, while the lesser can be grown in warm but not tropical climates. They are members of the ginger family, and the spice, in the form of dried rhizomes or powder, has a general resemblance to ginger. The flavour is like a mixture of ginger and pepper; aromatic and pungent. The greater galangal rhizomes are cream coloured with pink shoots that turn brown with age. The texture is fibrous. Those of the smaller variety resemble a bunch of small fingers joined at the tip. The skin is reddish brown with a yellowish flesh.