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Galangal, Thai Ka (ข่า), Malay lengkuas, Mandarin[clarify](Traditional: 南薑/Simplified: 南姜, also termed as: T:高良薑/S:高良姜), Cantonese lam keong (藍薑, also known as blue ginger), is a rhizome with culinary and medicinal uses, best known in the west for its appearance in Thai cuisine and other Southeast Asian cuisine. Though it resembles (and is related to) ginger in appearance, it tastes little like ginger. In its raw form, galangal has a soapy, earthy aroma and a pine-like flavor with a faint hint of citrus. It is available as a powder from vendors of Oriental spices and is also available whole, cut or powdered from vendors of herbs. A mixture of galangal and lime juice is used as a tonic in parts of Southeast Asia. It is said to have the effect of an aphrodisiac, and act as a stimulant. Galangal is also known as laos (its Indonesian name), galanggal, and somewhat confusingly galingale, which is also the name for several plants of the unrelated Cyperus genus of sedges (also having with aromatic rhizomes).
The word galangal, or its variant galanga is used as a common name for all members of the genus Alpinia, and in common usage can refer to four plants, all in the Zingiberaceae (ginger family):
Alpina galanga is also known as Chewing John, Little John Chew and galanga root. It is used in folk medicine and in voodoo charms (see John the Conqueror for related lore).
Galangal oil is also used in various oils for anointing.
Categories: Wikipedia articles needing clarification | Zingiberaceae | Spices | Thai cuisine