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Home grown Greater Galangal Alpinia galanga

Like many a tourist, I bring home souvenirs. I have a preference for the botanical, non endangered kinds. Two years ago I brought greater galangal and lemon grass home from Thailand. They have both grown well since, but this post is only about the galangal.

In the early 1980’s I saw forests in Himalayas crowded with cardamom plants in the forest floor. These conditions I’ve visualised, when growing my greater galangal. Warm, shadow, nutritious, humid, but not wet. I’ve transformed it into a large pot, 23cm across, could have been even larger. Soil recycled from used growing bags from the greenhouse. The galangal never get direct sun. In winter I keep it withdrawn from the windows in the living room. In summer in the shade of the tomato plants in the greenhouse.

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Peeled galangal

What to do with the root of greater galangal? It is always the problem when growing something exotic (to you that is) – how can I make use of it in a pleasing way?
Galangal soup tasted delicious in Thailand. But I’ve never learned to cook Thai food. Really I was just re-potting the plant, never expected a harvest!
A quick search on the internet: Galangal is sold frozen in Asian shops.

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Sliced greater galangal ready for the freezer

The galangal was thinly sliced in a hurry, spread in a thin layer in a zip lock food grade bag. This way, we can pick a few pieces at a time to use in our cooking. Hope we learn to use greater galangal in our food.

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Galangal going into the bottle

The annoying end pieces shouldn’t be wasted…what to do…..Oh-yes..I cut them in tiny cubes, in a little bottle, cover with vodka and a dog tag around the neck:

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Greater Galangal Vodka

Now patience, let the galangal and vodka rest some months.
Will be a joy to sip in the midsummer nights.

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