10 Best Substitutes for Galangal - Substitute Cooking (2022)

Galangal is a member of the ginger family, native to Indonesia.

It is very similar to root ginger, and also has a similar flavor, and is usually used as a spice in Indonesian and South Asian cooking. It can be found in the vegetable section and is freshly minced or grated into dishes such as curries, stir-fries, and noodle dishes.

Although it is widely available in Asia, you might not find it in every supermarket. But you can substitute galangal for many other ingredients if needed.

Knowing what spices to use as a replacement is a great skill to have, and will take you further in all your cooking. Other spices have similar flavors, like ginger. And knowing this will make it easy to substitute spices for any recipe.

Keep reading on for more tips about substituting galangal.

Best Galangal Substitutes

Although galangal has a unique flavor, it’s not irreplaceable. You can easily replace it with some of the next ingredients and save your recipe.

1. Ginger

10 Best Substitutes for Galangal - Substitute Cooking (1)

The best substitute for galangal is ginger, as they have a similar look and flavor profile.

Ginger will provide an incredible flavor to your dish and will replace galangal perfectly in curries and stir-fries. It can also be prepared the same way, whether it needs to be chopped, diced, or grated.

Galangal has a slightly spicy, yet minty flavor, and ginger has a similar flavor to galangal which makes it a perfect substitute. You can easily find it in supermarkets, whether you need fresh or dried ginger.

(Video) What is Galangal? (and how to make Galangal Paste)

You can also add fresh lime leaves along with ginger to provide even more flavor to your dishes and replicate the galangal flavor even more.

2. Fingerroot

Fingerroot, ginger, and galangal are members of the same family, so fingerroot is another great substitute if galangal cannot be found.

It looks like a long finger and resembles a thinner carrot, with a slight orange color. So, it doesn’t look the same as galangal but still has a similar, pungent flavor.

It is used as medicine in many parts of Asia due to its healing properties. Fingerroot is used in many Thai and Asian curries and can be substituted for galangal in any dish that you need, as it will still deliver a good flavor.

To substitute, you will need about half the amount of fingerroot to galangal.

3. Lemongrass

10 Best Substitutes for Galangal - Substitute Cooking (2)

Lemongrass is used in a lot of Thai cooking and has a fragrant, pungent flavor perfect for curries and stir-fries. A pinch of lemongrass is the perfect galangal replacement, and will also add great flavor to many curries, soups, or dishes that you are making.

Lemongrass can also be put in tea if you have a lot left.

4. Black or white pepper

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Peppers can be used to make dishes a little spicier and add flavor. So, any pepper can be used instead of galanga to give it that slightly spicy kick. Pepper can also give slightly citrus notes, making it a good replacement for galangal.

(Video) Ultimate Guide to GALANGAL - Hot Thai Kitchen!

It will not replicate the same flavor. But will still add something to any dish you prepare. White pepper has a milder flavor, whereas black pepper is more pronounced.

Use a pinch or two of pepper in replacement to galangal in your dish.

5. Cinnamon and mace

10 Best Substitutes for Galangal - Substitute Cooking (4)

Cinnamon is a spice that can substitute galangal and will help replicate the galangal flavor if combined with mace.

None of these spices are related. However, cinnamon and mace together help replicate the galangal flavor. It will also add a depth of flavor to curries, stir-fries, or dishes that require galangal.

Cinnamon also has a warm flavor which is perfect for richer stews and curries. The two together produce a mild citrus flavor that is reminiscent of galangal.

6. Galangal paste

If you can’t find fresh galangal, galangal paste is a perfect replacement because it can be stored and used whenever. This can usually be found in supermarkets. You can also make your own galangal paste by bulk buying galangal and purring it in a food processor.

You can freeze it for up to 6 months and use it accordingly. Galangal paste is essentially the flavor of galangal, but more concentrated, and it can be used in any dish as a replacement.

7. Kaffir lime leaves

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Kaffir Lime Leaves are used in a lot of Thai and Asian cooking due to their slightly bitter, citrusy flavor, and are often added to curries and stir-fries.

(Video) Substitutes for GINGER, BAKING POWDER, ESSENCES, & SPICES

They have a citrusy flavor, thus they can also be used as a substitute for galangal, and will still deliver a great flavor for your curry or stir fry.

If you have extra, you can also use kaffir lime leaves as a garnish to any dish to give it a pop of color and freshness.

8. Galangal powder

You can buy galangal powder and use it instead of galangal. If it isn’t available in the spice section of your local supermarket, you can find it online.

One good thing about galangal powder is that it lasts a long time. So, you can use it many times before running out in all recipes to get that same galangal flavor.

The only disadvantage is that it is not as flavorful as fresh. But if needed, galangal powder is a good replacement for fresh galangal.

9. Ginger powder

10 Best Substitutes for Galangal - Substitute Cooking (6)

This powder is the best alternative to galangal because of its flavor profile. So, if you can’t find ginger either, you can use ginger powder instead.

Ginger has the same citrus notes as galangal and is quite similar. And although fresh ginger would be better, the ginger powder would still deliver great results in any curry or stir fry.

10. Cinnamon and ginger

Cinnamon and mace have been talked about before. However, if you’re looking to imitate the galangal flavor without the mace, try ginger instead.

When you combine cinnamon and ginger, they do a good job of replicating the galangal flavor to any dish. The two spices can substitute galangal in curries, stir fry, or other dishes.

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FAQs

Can I use turmeric instead of galangal?

Turmeric is a much less pungent spice than galangal. It also has a bright orange color that makes it distinctive in any dish.

Although they do not have the same flavor, you can use turmeric if needed, as long as you use another spice as well, such as ginger.

Turmeric will give your dish a vibrant orange color as well.

Are galangal and ginger the same?

Galangal and ginger come from the same family and look very similar, but they are not exactly the same. You can use them interchangeably due to their similar looks and flavors, so if you don’t have ginger and you need it, you can use galangal in your dish instead and vice versa.

What does galangal taste like?

Galangal has a pungent taste with citrusy and slightly spicy notes, a lot like ginger.

It is slightly more pungent than ginger and has a slightly more pronounced flavor. Galangal can also be compared to pepper, as it has quite a peppery, sharp taste.

Can you use galangal in place of ginger?

Yes, you can use galangal in place of ginger, as the two have similar flavor profiles and you can prepare them the same way. If you’re using galangal, you may want to use a little less at first as the flavor is slightly more pungent than ginger, and you don’t want to overpower your dish.

Where does galangal originate from?

Galangal root is native to China, Thailand, and Indonesia, which is why it is such a popular root to flavor Asian dishes, specifically Thai curries, and noodle dishes.

Galangal is a fragrant root and adds to the flavor profile of South-East Asian curries and soups, giving it a distinct slightly pungent, citrus flavor that is unique to South-East Asian cooking.

FAQs

What can I use instead of galangal? ›

ginger substitute

This is the number one substitute for galangal. If the ginger does not carry that piney or citrusy flavour you desire, then add a little bit of lime zest or fresh lime leaves.

Can I substitute galangal with ginger? ›

Ginger and galangal are quite similar in overall flavor, so if you can get it at your grocery store, the two can be swapped 1:1. The same goes for ground galangal and ground ginger.

Is galangal similar to turmeric? ›

Galangal is closely related to ginger and turmeric, and all three roots can be used fresh or dried to add flavor to your dishes. Ginger offers a fresh, sweet-yet-spicy taste, while galangal's flavor is sharper, spicier, and slightly more peppery. Turmeric has the most pungent and bitter flavor of the three.

What is galangal in Thai cooking? ›

Galangal is also know as Thai ginger or Siamese ginger (because it resembles fresh ginger so much), but it really is its own ingredient. It's commonly found in Thai, Indonesian, and Malaysian cooking. The skin of galangal is smoother and paler than ginger and its flesh is much harder.

Is galangal a horseradish? ›

Galangal is often referred to as Thai horseradish. While both the roots from these plants can be used, they are completely different plants that both have bold flavor profiles.

Where can I find galangal? ›

If you find yourself at the grocery store, the aisle you're most likely to find fresh galangal is in the produce area, namely in the section where other exotic vegetables and fruits are located.

What is the taste of galangal? ›

Taste: Galangal has a citrusy flavor with a bite to it and a slight taste of pine, while ginger possesses a spicy, peppery flavor. Though they look similar, they are not ideal to use interchangeably due to their sharp divergence in taste.

Is ginger used in Thai cooking? ›

Galangal - Also known as Thai ginger, galangal belongs to the rhizome family which includes ginger and turmeric. Galangal is widely used in Thai soups and curries to add flavour and to tone down the heaviness of meaty preparations.

Is galangal yellow ginger? ›

Ginger when sliced open is a yellow hue while galangal is a much paler yellow color compared to the yellow color of the ginger.

Is galangal same as lemongrass? ›

To describe the unique taste of galangal is indeed quite complicated. It is almost piney, a bright, citrusy flavor similar to lemongrass but also has the pungent taste left in the mouth like that of ginger. It is still a bit less spicy than ginger.

Is galangal same as Blue Ginger? ›

Blue ginger, also called 'galangal', 'Thai ginger' or 'Siamese ginger', was first harvested in central Asia. For centuries, blue ginger has been used in cooking and for medicinal purposes. As the years passed, blue ginger spread around the world. It is commonly eaten, especially in Asian cooking, or drank as a tea.

Is galangal better than ginger? ›

Although they are from the same family, you'll find galangal has a stronger citrus flavor; it is sharp and punchy, perfect for a Thai soup, but not ideal for many desserts that commonly use ginger. If you are in a pinch, you could use them interchangeably, but we don't recommend it.

What is turmeric called in Chinese? ›

Known as jiang huang in Chinese and yellow root in many languages, turmeric's main active ingredient, curcumin, is a potent antioxidant.

Is galangal good for high blood pressure? ›

Galangal extract is considered as one of the best remedies for cardiac ailments such as palpitations, irregular heartbeats, chest pain, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.

What is the herb galangal? ›

Galanga or galangal is a plant in the ginger family (Zingiber officinale). The galangal plant has a long history of medicinal and culinary uses. The entire plant contains many beneficial properties. But the most commonly used portion is the rhyzome – or mass of roots.

How many types of galangal are there? ›

Galangal is of three types: lesser galangal, greater galangal, and light galangal. The reddish-brown rhizomes are used as condiment and have an aromatic spicy odor and a pungent taste. The lesser galangal (Alpinia officinarum Hance.), a member of the family Zingiberaceae, is a native of southern China.

Can I use dried galangal instead of fresh? ›

You may even be able to find galangal paste in certain specialty Asian grocery stores. If a recipe calls for fresh galangal, you can substitute one teaspoon of dried galangal for 1-inch of the fresh version.

Is galanga the same as galangal? ›

Galanga Root (kah): Galanga, called kah in Thai and known variously as "galangal" and "laos root," is an immensely pungent and fiery rhizome related to the common ginger but with a personality distinctly its own.

Is galangal vegan? ›

Galangal is vegan. A vegan dietitian reviewed this note on galangal for Fig.

How do you grow galangal? ›

5 Tips How to Grow a Ton of Galangal in Container or Garden Bed

What is galangal called in Bengali? ›

Galangal, often used in Bengal in making chutneys. It is the rhizome of a plant of the ginger family, although it is smaller and more shrivelled.

Is galangal good for acid reflux? ›

As mentioned, galangal (specifically Alpinia galanga, or “greater galangal”) may potentially increase the amount of stomach acid you produce. If you have GERD or peptic ulcer disease, it's probably best to avoid this one unless recommended by your primary care physician.

Does galangal need to be peeled? ›

Fresh galangal is used in two different ways in cooking; it is either sliced or crushed. First, you should always peel the section of the root that you want to use with a vegetable peeler. Cut the root into slices. If the recipe you are using calls for galangal slices, you can stop here.

What goes well with galangal? ›

As a cornerstone of South Asian cuisine, galangal can be found in many familiar Southeast Asian recipes. It pairs well with everything from roasted chicken to grilled prawns and braised tofu.

What spice makes Thai food spicy? ›

Common spices in Thai food

Many of Thailand's most popular dishes contain one, if not several ingredients that make them spicy. This stinging, tingling sensation is most often caused by a combination of chili peppers, ginger, garlic, and peppercorn. Chili peppers are popular around the world.

What is the green leaf in Thai food? ›

Basil is popular in Thai dishes because of its sweet flavor. It is used for flavoring and as a vegetable in many of our most popular dishes. Basil only releases its aroma when cooked, but fresh basil leaves are usually green with a tinge of red-purple.

What kind of mint is used in Thai cooking? ›

Mint: Mint is used liberally in Thai cooking, where its fresh taste enlivens salads, beverages, seafood, soups, and sauces. Peppermint or spearmint leaves may be used in recipes calling for mint.

Is galangal anti inflammatory? ›

"Galangal also has been shown to have both anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, meaning it helps to lower inflammation that leads to joint pain in the body while also protecting the body against harmful microorganisms and bacteria.

Is galangal good for diabetes? ›

Potential Uses of Galangal for diabetes

Animal studies have shown that galangal could be helpful in diabetes. In laboratory studies, the alcohol extracts of galangal have been shown to reduce the blood sugar level in animals with diabetes.

Does galangal increase testosterone? ›

galanga significantly increased sperm percentage, viability, motility and testosterone hormone. This suggested that this plant may be promising in enhancing sperm healthy parameters.

What is galangal root used for? ›

Contains anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties

"Galangal also has been shown to have both anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, meaning it helps to lower inflammation that leads to joint pain in the body while also protecting the body against harmful microorganisms and bacteria.

What is a good substitute for lemongrass? ›

The Best Lemongrass Substitutes
  • Lemon Zest. While the fragrance isn't as intense and complex, lemon zest is the closest common ingredient to lemongrass. ...
  • Lime Zest. ...
  • Lime Leaves. ...
  • Basil, Mint or Coriander (Cilantro) ...
  • Preserved Lemon.

Can I use dried galangal instead of fresh? ›

You may even be able to find galangal paste in certain specialty Asian grocery stores. If a recipe calls for fresh galangal, you can substitute one teaspoon of dried galangal for 1-inch of the fresh version.

What's a substitute for ginger? ›

Allspice, Cinnamon or Nutmeg

This is an ideal switch for recipes that call for ground ginger, but it can help if you're all out of fresh ginger too. Allspice is a popular dry spice replacement, thanks to its mildly sweet-and-spicy flavor.

What is the taste of galangal? ›

Taste: Galangal has a citrusy flavor with a bite to it and a slight taste of pine, while ginger possesses a spicy, peppery flavor. Though they look similar, they are not ideal to use interchangeably due to their sharp divergence in taste.

Does galangal raise blood pressure? ›

Being intrinsically high in potassium levels, galangal assists in the maintenance of normal blood pressure. It also functions in promoting cardiac muscle activity, lowers the amounts of bad LDL cholesterol and raises levels of good HDL cholesterol.

Is galangal same as blue ginger? ›

Blue ginger, also called 'galangal', 'Thai ginger' or 'Siamese ginger', was first harvested in central Asia. For centuries, blue ginger has been used in cooking and for medicinal purposes. As the years passed, blue ginger spread around the world. It is commonly eaten, especially in Asian cooking, or drank as a tea.

Does lemongrass taste like lemons? ›

It is a popular misconception that Lemongrass must taste very similar to lemon. However, Lemongrass has a flavour profile all of its own. While it is citrusy with a lemony flavour, it tastes almost like a mix of lemon and lemon mint. The flavour is quite light and does not overpower other flavours in a dish.

What is the side effect of lemon grass? ›

Rarely, lemongrass oil might cause a rash of skin irritation when applied to the skin. However, there have been some toxic side effects, such as lung problems after inhaling lemongrass and a fatal poisoning after a child swallowed a lemongrass oil-based insect repellent.

Can I use lemon juice instead of lemongrass? ›

Adding a plain, freshly squeezed lemon juice can also be a great alternative to using lemongrass. Be careful with the quantity, as too much lemon juice will dominate other flavors by making your food overly acidic.

How do you use dried galanga? ›

To prepare it for soup or curry, peel off the skin and grate or mince it for a stir-fry. You can also add whole slices to your dish, but remove them before serving as the fibrous root itself is tough and inedible.

Can you get dried galangal? ›

Product Description. Before use, soak dried galangal slices in water first for 30 minutes or until softened. The taste of the dried slices galangal once rehydrated approaches that of the freshness. Galangal has a strong, aromatic, punchy flavor that can be overwhelming, so use the root sparingly.

Does galangal need to be peeled? ›

Fresh galangal is used in two different ways in cooking; it is either sliced or crushed. First, you should always peel the section of the root that you want to use with a vegetable peeler. Cut the root into slices. If the recipe you are using calls for galangal slices, you can stop here.

Can I replace ginger with nutmeg? ›

Another spice you may already have in your pantry is nutmeg. Like cinnamon, nutmeg has similar sweet and spicy notes that resemble ginger. Nutmeg also pairs well with both savory and baked dishes. Therefore, this can be a good flavor substitute for ginger in many dishes.

Can allspice be substituted for ginger? ›

If you're making a bread, baked good, or dessert that calls for ground ginger, an equal amount of allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, mace, or nutmeg just might work. It's not that allspice or cinnamon tastes like ginger, but that they're complementary spices. Pumpkin pie spice is another option to consider.

What is allspice made of? ›

Also known as a Jamaica pepper, myrtle pepper, or pimento, allspice is the unripe fruit of the Pimenta dioica, an evergreen tree in the Myrtle family native to the West Indies, Southern Mexico, and Central America.

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