This spice is popular in Asiatic cooking and was well known in European medieval cooking. The plant Alpinia galanga (or Languas galangal) has numerous common names, including greater galangal, galangale and galang. It is also known as Siamese ginger or Laos, since the plant is indigenous to Southeast Asia, and its rhizome (root) resembles ginger in appearance and in taste. The word galangal is probably derived from the Arabic translation of its Chinese name, liang-tiang, which means "mild ginger". Like ginger, it's said to have healing properties and is used in homoeopathic remedie. HOW TO STORE: Galangal can be stored in the vegetable drawer of a refrigerator for two to three weeks. First wrap the galangal in plastic wrap or, preferably, wrap the root first in a damp cloth, then in a plastic bag.
Galangal can be frozen without losing any flavor. Cut the unpeeled root into slices a quarter-inch thick, wrap in plastic and freeze for up to three months.