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Aug 7, 2009 01:36 PM

Galangal in Calgary??????

I have plans to make Tom Yum Gai tonight, and the recipes all call for Galangal. Ive done some research, and it looks as if ginger will not do as a substitue. Does anyone know where to get it? I've tried T&T, Community Natual Health, Aneranth, and Sunterra.....noone of them carry it.....

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  1. Can you substitute Galangal powder?
    This blog entry (from 2007) says Calgary Spiceland carries the powder

    Silk Road carries dried galangal
    But the only contact is via email so it might not be timely enough for you.
    On the other hand, a quick email and you could pick up it yourself and bypass the delivery.

    Longshot: Do you have any Thai places (The King & I uses it in some dishes) you frequent? Maybe they can raid their kitchen and sell you a bit? I did this once (20+ years ago) looking for chorizo and Cannery Row was kind enough to supply me.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cancowboy

      I will try them both, as it is for sup, it shouldnt make a huge deal if its dried or not.

      Cannery Row was a special place. I lived in a studio upstairs, and they always let me mooch the free appies every day from 5-6......

      Thanks for the advice!

    2. One more suggestion
      Superstore - particularly ones in the NW - bigger Oriental population that they cater to.

      1. If you don't mind it in the frozen form, I managed to buy some at the T&T Harvest Hills location a while back. It was in the freezer section where they sell banana leaves, coconut juice, minced lemongrass, etc. It was sold in chunks like ginger in a vacuum-sealed package. I have not come across any in the fresh form here in Calgary yet.

        1. I have seen galangal powder at the Dalbrent Spice Rack, across from Simon Fraser Junior High in the NW, and also at Hang Fung Foods in Chinatown.

          1. I've bought fresh galangal at T&T, the market on 16th ave and Centre st N (used to be Jay's, name escapes me now) and the market on Centre st N and about 13th ave. It isn't always available though (obviously) so it may have a season. Look to an Asian market but if T&T doesn't have it this may not be the season..

            Ginger is similar but galangal is much milder, you can put 6 slices in a dish where 1 of ginger would be enough. You can eat a piece without clearing your sinuses.

            5 Replies
            1. re: sharonanne

              Please note this comment- ginger CAN substitute as long as you note the difference in strength you won't even notice the difference. Use ginger.

              1. re: John Manzo

                Begging to differ...they taste very different. Galangal has a strong menthol note that ginger does not have. The dish (whatever it is) will not taste right ( might still be good, however). For example, Tom Kha/Yum Ga that uses ginger instead of galangal just doesn't do it for doesn't even taste "Thai". This is a common restaurant substitution that annoys me considerably considering galangal is so readily available fresh or frozen.

                I personally would prefer to use frozen galangal (even brine pickled galangal if that is all you can get) over galangal powder (which tastes much different from frozen or fresh...similar to how dried ginger tastes very different from fresh ginger.)

                A tip on fresh galangal - cut the extras into approx 1" chunks then freeze them. When cooking soup - don't bother defrosting. Just throw it in frozen.

                Sorry for the intrusion...As you were.

                1. re: fmed

                  fmed - what's your notion on using a frozen vacuum packed set in my post below. If I buy fresh for tom yam, the separate ingredients far exceed my needs, cost 4 times frozen, and eventually are tossed.

                  1. re: rosetown

                    I have never used the frozen soup kits, but in theory they should work well.

                    On a related tangent....I regularly freeze lemongrass stalks, galangal, and makrut leaves. If you buy fresh and you end with extras - prep and freeze it all immediately in ziplocs bags. I freeze the items separately, but you can certainly make your own Tom Yum kit by freezing the common ingredients together in bags. I don't freeze cilantro leaves, but the roots freeze well.

                    When you are making soup, just use it straight from frozen (assuming you had prepped the ingredients prior to freezing). Just toss it frozen into the stock as it is coming up to simmer. It will defrost nicely and you lose little of the aroma, flavour or colour. The makrut leaves become a bit darker green than if you had used fresh.

                2. re: John Manzo

                  I couldnt find Galangal in time, so I used fresh ginger, and added some lemon juice to servce as the citris note found in galangal, and it worked out very well. I cant say if it was perfect, or would fool anyone, but it came out tasting great.

                  fmed- I have a vacuum sealer, and love your notion of preparing kits. will do so soon.

                  Thanks all.