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Sam is a trusted home cook.
I've never seen dried galangal. I find the roots frozen in my local asain store and in use I found it's a bit overwhelming for my tastes if used with a heavy hand.
I would think a substitute would be fresh ginger and a peppery element, such as Szechwan peppercorns of Japaneese pepper mix--sansyo.
In fact the Sansyo is the same tree as Szechwan peppers, I find it a bit more delicate in effect and prefer it to Szechwan peppercorns.
Sam1148, where do you get sansyo? I've never heard of it. How interesting! I find Szechuan peppercorns to be a bit strong, so I'd like to try the sansyo. Thank you. ;o)
Find it at a Japaneese market here, it's a great alternative to Szechuan peppers.
It's sold dried in a little shaker top tube. Fairly specific to Japaneese markets.
Galangal is a pretty unique taste--so my comments about the peppery element are just from my taste and preference. I've only ever used the frozen product tho from a store that speclizes in Thai and Indian/Asian foods.
No No & NO... Powdered galangal is sawdust.. The closest alternative to fresh & frozen is the dried sliced coins of galangal. I was pleasantly surprised by its flavor
Thanks, both of you. Do I feel stupid. I was at Penzey's last year and saw some, and remembered seeing galangal in some recipes that interested me, so I bought the ground powder. Oh well, my spice shelf will benefit from a bit more room, once I toss it. Live and learn. ;o)
I used to emphatically say no, but actually Leela of SheSimmers.com (an awesome Thai food blog of Thai woman living in Chicago) does use it. I HIGHLY recommend you find fresh and freeze it, but depending on what you are using it for (I think Leela would say that too, would avoid it in some dishes, like tom ka) the dried seems to be acceptable (the dish where I used it at Leela's suggestion was laab gai).
PS what's the dish you needed it for?
I have never seen galangal fresh, but when I saw it powdered I grabbed it. It's a product of Vietnam (Bot Rieng), and has a smell which makes me think of ginger and mustard. I suppose, like powdered ginger, it's an inadequate substitute, but I'll take it until the real thing comes along.
Fresh Galangal has a deep salmonish red color, with leaves similar to ginger.. The leaves are brewed into a tea which is great for soothing a cough. it has an aroma thats a cross between ginger & turmeric.
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