How to grow Galangal
I was down at my local farmers market on the weekend, and I noticed some Galangal root for sale.
This is great, as it can be hard to find in the shops and local markets at this time of year. I grow my own Galangal and it will soon be in flower and after the leaves die down it is ready to harvest.
If you haven’t tried Galangal, it is a member of the ginger family ginger. And, like ginger, is used extensively in cooking.
Galangal is found primarily in Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisines. It has a hotter, more peppery taste than ginger with under-notes of pine and citrus.
To use it, add it to soups such as Thai Chicken and Coconut soup. Its also an important ingredient in many Thai curry pastes.
Depending which recipes you read, some say if you don’t have Galangal you can substitute ginger. Other recipes say that it is different and that ginger and galangal cannot be used interchangeably. I am in the latter camp as to me they have different flavours to contribute.
Galangal is closely related to Ginger and, as such, has many of the healing and medicinal uses attributed to ginger. It is said that consuming Galangal on a regular basis can help with digestion, reducing bloating, constipation and vomiting.
Like ginger, Galangal helps reduce motion sickness and nausea. It has proven anti-inflammatory properties, which means that it can help treat arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Galangal has been shown to improve blood circulation, improving oxygen supply and nutrient supply to the extremities including the hands and feet. As such it has been credited as assisting with hair growth and to treat baldness, although this is not proven.
It can also help respiratory problems. A mixture of Galangal and lime juice can be used as a tonic for coughs and colds.
As Galangal is high in anti-oxidants it helps to minimise the damage caused by free radicals and other toxins in the body.
Galangal is a tropical plant, although it grows well in Brisbane, and can be grown as far south as Melbourne with a bit of care.
It is an attractive plant, very similar to ginger with quite narrow strappy green leaves. I prefer to grow my Galangal in a pot as it makes it easy to harvest, but this becomes more of a necessity if you are going to grow Galangal further south than the central coast.
This way you can start growing your Galangal under shelter and move it outside as the weather warms up.
Galangal is really easy to grow and is seldom bothered by insects or disease.
All you need to do is get a piece of Galangal root from your local market and plant it in good quality potting mix. Keep it moist, but not wet in a warm, sheltered location.
I find mine does best with some shelter from the hot afternoon sun. It takes about 8 months to grow a crop. But in this time you will be probably find that it has pretty much filled the pot, depending on how big a pot you started with of course!
Yes, that may seem a while but at between $30 to $50 per kilo it’s worth it! So why not try growing some today?
Rohanne, your Personal Garden Expert