Ginger and Greater Galangal

Ginger and Greater Galangal

Ginger

This is probably the world's most important and popular spice and is associated with a number of different cuisines - Chinese, Indian and Caribbean, to name but a few. It was known in Europe during the Roman period, but was still fairly rare until the spice routes opened up trade in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Like many spices, ginger has the quality of enhancing and complementing both sweet and savory food, adding a fragrant spiciness to all sorts of dishes. However, while ground ginger is best in recipes which will be baked, and stem ginger, where the ginger is preserved in syrup, tastes wonderful in desserts, for savory dishes, always use fresh root ginger.

Nowadays, the pale, knobbly roots of fresh ginger are widely available in supermarkets and whenever possible, buy just a small quantity, as you will not need a great deal and fresh ginger will not keep indefinitely.

To prepare, simply peel away the skin with a sharp knife and grate or thinly slice according to the recipe.

Greater Galangal

Galangal looks similar to ginger except that the rhizome is thinner and the young shoots are bright pink. The roots should be prepared in the same way as ginger and can be used in curries and satay sauces.

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