17 Galangal Substitutes to Improve Your Asian Cooking

Galangal is a member of the ginger family and has a taste profile that is comparable to many root spices used in Asian cookery.

It’s one of the Asian elements that will be tough to replace, thus this list. Galangal has a strong spicy taste, although it may be substituted with other substances.

Here are some of the greatest galangal substitutes:

  1. Galangal or Thai Chili Paste
  2. Galangal Root Powder
  3. Ginger
  4. Fingerroot
  5. Lemongrass
  6. Kaffir Lime Leaves
  7. Turmeric Root
  8. Horseradish
  9. Mustard Seeds

Don’t be concerned if you can’t locate any appropriate alternatives. A complete list is provided below.

But first, let us learn more about the history of this Asian cuisine component.

17 Best Substitute For Galangal 

Southern China and Java have some of the earliest accounts on galangal usage and presence. The smaller galangal is indigenous to China, but the bigger galangal is indigenous to Java, Indonesia.

If you live in North America, you may not have easy access to it. If you’re making an exotic Asian meal that calls for galangal, ginger or lemongrass are good replacements with comparable spice and flavor.

Of course, you are free to experiment with the other replacements on this list.

Galangal or Thai Chili Paste


If you chance to wander into a Thai shop that offers Thai ingredients, ask for galangal paste. It is a suitable replacement, although it will not be as fresh.

This chile paste may be cooked with rice or used as a dipping sauce. It may also be used to season Thai dishes such as coconut chicken soup and tom yum soup.

The chili paste galangal versions provide the same nutrients. It strengthens the immune system, reduces inflammation, and protects against some forms of cancer. [Source]

Galangal Root Powder

If you can’t get galangal paste, powdered galangal root is another choice. It should be noted that it lacks the taste of fresh galangal or its paste counterpart.

The powdered galangal root has the same taste profile as the raw roots, which is ginger-like. It also has undertones of pine and tart citrus tastes, which adds zing to foods, particularly soups.

It may be used in both Vietnamese and Thai curry meals. It’s also fantastic for Indonesian Satay and coconut curry chicken. [Source]


Ginger has a similar taste characteristic to galangal, making it a viable substitute. It also adds a subtle sweetness to the meal, which is common in Asian cooking.

If you’re substituting it for galangal, be sure you use grated ginger. When creating stews, you may marinade fish or meat in it.

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Because of its high antioxidant content, ginger has several health advantages. It promotes healthy aging, decreases inflammation, reduces blood pressure, and avoids heart disease.

You should bear in mind that ginger is spicier than galangal root. In your recipes, use half the amount of ginger and half the amount of galangal.


Fingerroot is another excellent galangal replacement, albeit it is not as fiery or delicious as ginger. If you want something with a gentler fragrance, this component will do the trick.

Fingerroot complements many seafood dishes, particularly those from Cambodian and Thai cuisines. Its extracts aid in reducing the overpowering fishy tastes found in many Asian foods.

It has several therapeutic characteristics and is utilized in a variety of herbal therapies. It aids in the prevention of bone degradation, the reduction of blood pressure, the enhancement of cognitive function, the relief of gastrointestinal pain, and the reduction of inflammation.


Lemongrass is a common component in many Asian dishes, particularly in Vietnam. It’s used in a variety of cuisines, including dips, stir-fried vegetables, and soups.

It may compete with galangal’s spicy, fiery, and pungent qualities. It also provides a citrus lime flavor to any dish, making it an ideal replacement.

Lemongrass may aid in the prevention of yeast and bacterial infections. Its extracts may also help to lower blood cholesterol, as well as discomfort and edema. [Source]

Kaffir Lime Leaves

If you’re making Malaysian meals that call for galangal, consider replacing kaffir lime leaves. Kaffir lime leaves have a similar texture and usage to bay leaves.

To get the maximum taste out of these lime leaves, cut them up into tiny pieces. This works for both single and double leaves.

When you slice the leaves into extremely small bits, you get more of the mild spiced citrus taste. It’s also a tasty ingredient to a variety of stir-fry dishes.

Kaffir lime leaves give any food a lime-like fragrance. They also eliminate fishy odors from seafood dishes.

It is advisable to use tiny quantities of these leaves at a time. It may produce an extremely strong smell, and adding too much might affect the taste of your food.

Turmeric Root

Turmeric root is another tasty spice that may be found in many Asian recipes. Did you know it’s also used as a food coloring?

This root is utilized in a variety of Vietnamese, Indian, and Thai dishes. This ginger cousin removes bad odors from meat and fish.

Curcumin, the main ingredient in turmeric, is recognized to offer several health advantages. It has the potential to enhance heart health, function as an anti-inflammatory, ease arthritis, and cure symptoms of depression.

Turmeric is best used as a replacement for galangal in curries and stews. Because of the apparent taste change, it will not work well in pastes and stir fry.

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Horseradish is related to broccoli, kale, and mustard in the mustard family. As a condiment, it imparts a strong aroma to any food.

Some people confuse the aroma of horseradish with the hot wasabi used in Japanese cuisine. It is, however, less spicy and has a trace of mustard oil in its aroma.

Horseradish may be prepared by grating it first and then combining it with the remaining components. It works well as a replacement for galangal in fish, meat, and beef recipes.

Horseradish provides several health advantages. It is high in antioxidants, which protect the body from cell damage, and it may aid in the prevention of lung, stomach, and colon cancer.

Mustard Seeds

White mustard seeds are the most popular, followed by brown and black mustard seeds. White mustard seeds are considered as the finest galangal alternative.

White varieties have the mildest spicy character as well. If you can’t locate any white ones, use the black or brown equivalents and layer them in.

To substitute galangal in pickled side dish dishes, use mustard seeds instead. Before adding them to your dish, sauté them first.

Mustard seeds are high in calcium, fiber, and other vital elements. Its nutrients, in addition to the antioxidant concentration, can protect the body against certain malignancies, heart attacks, and asthma.

Black Pepper

Because black pepper is one of the most widely used spices across the globe, it is the most easily accessible galangal alternative. It gives any dish a powerful earthy flavor with a sharp pungent warm flavor.

Black pepper is advised for use in meat and fish dishes such as stir fries, stews, soups, and marinades. To get the most flavor out of fresh whole black peppers, ground them as required.

According to research, black pepper has several health advantages. It reduces inflammation, improves blood sugar management, decreases cholesterol levels, and fights some forms of cancer.

White Pepper

Both black and white pepper have the same flavor. As a result, some people wonder what the distinction between these two varieties of pepper is.

To begin with, white pepper is less pungent, making it ideal for mild-flavored recipes. However, adding extra white peppers to your dish will easily increase the fiery characteristics.

White pepper works well in galangal marinade recipes and stews. It’s also good in cheese soups and fondues, particularly if you want to boost the fiery taste.

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Cinnamon and Mace

Some may find the cinnamon and mace combination strange, but they work well as a replacement for galangal. The distinct citrusy flavor, sweet flavor, and subtle spicy aroma provide distinctive accents to any cuisine.

Mace gives the concoction a strong woody taste. Using the two spices together has the same impact on your food as using fresh galangal.

Cinnamon aids in the neutralization of free radicals, so reducing their negative effects on the body. Mace, on the other hand, improves bloating, constipation, and gas sensations.

Mustard Oil


Some individuals may not consider mustard oil as a replacement for galangal in their cooking. However, because to its spicy and somewhat bitter flavor, it might work nicely in certain dishes.

If you’re making Indian or Pakistani dishes, mustard oil might be a great substitution for galangal. Cooking food at 480 degrees Fahrenheit will minimize the bitterness and give a sweet flavour.

Typically, one teaspoon of mustard oil is sufficient to improve marinades for barbecues and roasts. It’s also a tasty addition to stir fries and pickled foods, giving them a distinct scent.

Cinnamon with Ginger

Some cuisines that call for galangal might benefit from the addition of cinnamon and ginger. This herb combination is also a great replacement for mace.

Ginger gives a spicy note that complements the lemony notes of galangal. Cinnamon, on the other hand, complements ginger tastes.

Ginger Powder


Ginger powder is powdered dried ginger root. It’s found in a variety of Asian soups, candies, and desserts.

It works well as a replacement for galangal, particularly in soups. It can keep its taste even when heated to high temperatures.

In your recipes, use half a teaspoon of ginger powder for every teaspoon of galangal. Because of the powerful flavors of ginger powder, this ratio is strongly recommended.


If you can’t obtain mustard seeds, the herb will do as a replacement for galangal. If the recipe asks for galangal paste, you may substitute it.

If you want the same consistency and taste as galangal, mustard will work just well. It’s just as thick. fragrant and lends a bit of pungency to any meal.

It’s ideal for burgers, hotdogs, and other grilled meats. Furthermore, this flavorful spice is simple to integrate into any dish.


In certain recipes, cinnamon may be substituted for galangal. It gives meals a warm spicy taste.

If your recipe calls for mace, ginger, or galangal, cinnamon is a good replacement. Cinnamon imparts a sweet, pungent taste to baked items, soups, pies, and snacks.


What is a good substitute for galangal?

ginger replacement

This is the most popular galangal replacement. If the ginger does not have the desired piney or citrusy flavor, add a pinch of lime zest or fresh lime leaves.

What can I use instead of galangal in Tom Yum soup?

If you can’t locate galangal, ginger will suffice. Lime juice – Tom yum traditionally uses kaffir lime leaves, but a splash of fresh lime juice gives the same tart, sweet flavor.

Can I use ginger instead of galangal in Thai curry?

Galangal rhizomes are used to add aroma and taste to dishes in traditional Thai cuisine ranging from curries to soups to salads. We don’t advocate replacing galangal for ginger since it looks similar but tastes very different.

What is the Indian substitute for galangal?

Vegetables that may be used in place of galangal ginger. Ginger is not only a tasty spice, but it is also used as traditional medicine in Asian nations.
Fingerroot. Fingerroot, commonly known as Chinese ginger, looks like fingers! …
Leaves of Kaffir Lime.
Galangal Powder.
Powdered ginger.

Do Chinese use galangal?

Galangal, like ginger and turmeric, may be consumed fresh or cooked and is a common ingredient in many Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian, and Thai meals (2).

Is galangal the same as Chinese ginger?

The flavor of galangal and ginger is the most noticeable distinction. Because galangal has a harsh lemony, almost piney taste and ginger is fresh, pungently spicy, and scarcely sweet, they cannot be used interchangeably.

What Thai cooking spice is like ginger?

Thai ginger (galangal) Galangal is similar to ginger in both appearance and taste.

Why does my tom yum soup taste bitter?

When cooking Tom Yum Soup, the first secret tip is to utilize FRESH shrimp. The shrimp head cooked in oil has a lovely crimson color as well as a wonderful umami taste. The second rule is to NEVER add lime to the soup until it is completely cooked. If you add the lime too soon, the soup will become bitter.

Is galangal spicier than ginger?

Galangal is hotter and more astringent than ginger, with a strong bitter aftertaste. Its taste is substantially stronger than ginger’s.

Can I sub ginger for galangal?

Ginger and galangal have quite similar flavors, so if you can find it at your local grocery shop, you can change them out 1:1. The same is true for ground galangal and ginger.

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