Galangal, known as kha in Laos, is a root in the ginger family. This ingredient is very important in Lao cooking. But don’t let it’s similar looks fool you. Raw galangal is tougher and stronger flavor, and it requires a very sharp knife to slice or chop for larb. It is used in curry, smashed flat to add to soup bases and are discarded after cooking. Frequently it is used in fish and seafood dishes, to take way the fishy taste and smell.
Not only does it enhance food, it can be used as an herbal medicine as well. After giving birth, women can eat grilled young galangal and sticky rice with their meal for a couple months. Young galangal root helps them to heal quickly. This can also be accompanied with steamed galangal flowers and eaten with Jeow or pounded fish.