Lesser galangal

Lesser galangal

Lesser galangal or Alpinia officinarum (synonym Languas officinarum) is a plant in the ginger family. The rhizome was widely used in ancient and medieval Europe. The rhizome is smaller than greater galangal. The skin and the flesh are reddish brown whereas greater galangal has light yellow or white flesh. It was preferred to greater galangal because of its stronger, more sweetish taste. Its use has dramatically declined, however, and it is now only found in the cuisine of South Eastern Asia.

The word lesser galangal properly refers to Alpinia officinarum. In common usage, however, it is also applied to Kaempferia galanga, also called Sand ginger, Aromatic Ginger or Resurrection lily. Kaempferia galanga, which is grown for medicine and as a spice, is an almost stemless plant that develops its few short-lived leaves and the flower at ground level, whereas the stem of A. officinarum is two to four feet high.

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