You know our superstar, know-it-all editor and my partner at Kaplifestyle, Stephanie. You’ve seen her guest posts and recipes. We can add a new data point to her résumé. She can flavor soup. Yesterday, she introduced me to galangal.
Galangal (pronounced guh-lang-guh) is often found in Thai, Indonesian, and Malaysian cooking. It’s a rhizome – an underground creeping stem of a plant that sends out shooters to create new plants….Galangal is very hard and woody, although the center is usually a little softer and juicier than its woody exterior.
Steph sent me her version of Tom Kha Gai. It’s a Thai soup, made with chicken, coconut milk, lemongrass, and, of course, galangal. That aforementioned woodiness? I bit into it and it wasn’t pleasant.
I sent her a picture and this text:
“What the hell is this?”
She wrote back
“Ha. That’s Galangal. Don’t eat that.”
Then she got all snobby on me.
“Serving it Thai style, sorry. Flavour (yes, this is her preferred spelling…ughhh) will be there, needed to make sure it tasted okay.”
Our chef had left a large chunk in the soup as it travelled cross country from Maryland to Malibu to infuse the broth with the strength it deserved. It was a close your eyes and get lost kind of meal. Buttery mushrooms, tender chicken, you get it. There was a particular standout earthy flavor in the dish.
Now I’m grateful for two things. The palatable experience and the knowledge of a new ingredient. Of course, I dug for the health benefits. That’s my obligation to us. From naturalremedies.org:
Galangal has also been used extensively in traditional Indian medicine as well. Like the Chinese, traditional Indian herbalists recognize galangal’s ability to treat abdominal conditions. In addition to this property, traditional Indian medical practitioners believe that galangal possesses anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help to break up mucus and allow for a more productive cough in patients with upper respiratory infections. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, Indian herbalists believe that galangal is an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
Anti-inflammatory foods, herbs and spices beat the shit out of Advil.
Steph adds value again. Shocker.