Similar to ginger in appearance and a member of the ginger plant family, this root is used primarily as an Asian or Indian food seasoning. Although it looks like ginger, it varies in flavor from ginger, providing a spicy or peppery taste that may resemble a mild mustard flavor. Galanga root has a dense white-textured flesh that can be fairly hard to slice with a knife when preparing it as a seasoning in curry pastes, soups and other food dishes. To soften the root, it can be pounded or softened by soaking in hot water for a half hour. When storing, keep the root dry by placing it in an airtight container. Galanga Root is available as either "Greater" or "Lesser" Galgnga, so if it is labeled as such, the Lesser is the hotter or spicier flavored of the two root varieties.
Galanga Root can be purchased in a powdered or dried form if fresh Galanga is not available. The dried Galanga is commonly processed into slices of the root. Powdered or dried versions of this root will often have a more concentrated flavor, so recipes require only about half as much as the quantity required when using fresh. Other names for this root are Galingale, Galangal, Gao liang jiang, Iam kieu, Iam keong, Kulanjan, Kha, Laos, Lengkuas, and Siamese ginger. Galanaga Root is most often available in Asian or Indian food markets.