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Ginger & Other Rhizomes

Rhizomes are knobby underground stems that have pungent and flavorful flesh.  Ginger is the most familiar example, other rhizomes include turmeric, galangal, lesser galangal, and fingerroot.  

Pronunciation:  RYE-zome


baby ginger  See green ginger.

Chinese ginger  See fingerroot

Chinese key  See fingerroot

fingerroot = Chinese ginger = Chinese key = ka chai = kra chai = krachai   Latin name:  Kaempferia galanga  Notes:   This ginger relative is popular in Thailand. It resembles long fingers jutting from a hand.  Substitutes:   lesser galangal OR galangal (sharper flavor) OR ginger

fresh ginger  See ginger root

fresh turmeric  See turmeric

galanga (ginger)  See galangal


galangal = galanga (ginger) = greater galangal = (greater) galingale = (greater) galangale = Java root = Java galangal = kha = khaa = languas = lengkuas = laos (root or ginger) = Thai ginger = Siamese ginger    Latin name:   Alpinia galanga   Notes:   Look for this in Asian markets. It's sold fresh, frozen, dried, or powdered, but use the dried or powdered versions only in a pinch.  Substitutes:  ginger (not as pungent as galangal)

galangale  See galangal.

galingale  See galangal

geung  See ginger root

ginger root = gingerroot = ginger = fresh ginger = geung = khing = shoga   Equivalents:  1/4 cup, sliced = 1 ounce   Notes:    With its sweet yet pungent flavor, ginger has become a mainstay of many of the world's cuisines.  European cooks like to use dried, ground ginger to flavor gingerbread and other baked goods.  Asian and Indian cooks prefer their ginger fresh, and they use it in spicy sauces and stir-fries.  Ginger not only tastes good, it's also believed to have medicinal properties, and people sometimes use it to soothe their upset stomachs and boost their energy.   Ground ginger isn't a good substitute for fresh, but dried whole ginger will work in a pinch, as will the minced or puréed ginger that's sold in jars.      Equivalents:  1 tablespoon fresh = ¼ teaspoon ground   Substitutes:   green ginger (not as flavorful) OR galangal (More pungent than ginger, but works well in many spicy Asian dishes.) OR  crystallized ginger (Substitute 1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger for every tablespoon of minced fresh ginger called for in recipe. Rinse off sugar before using.)   

gingerroot  See ginger root


green ginger = spring ginger = new ginger = young ginger = stem ginger = pink ginger = baby ginger  Notes:   These pink-tipped, shiny pieces of young ginger are mild and usually don't need to be peeled.   They're easy to find in Asian markets.  Substitutes:  ginger (more pungent)

greater galangal  See galangal

greater galangale  See galangal


Indian ginger  See turmeric

Java root  See galangal

Java galangal  See galangal

ka chai  See fingerroot

kencur root  See lesser galangal

kentjur root  See lesser galangal.

kha  See galangal

khaa  See galangal

khing  See ginger root

kra chai = krachai  See fingerroot.

languas  See galangal

laos (root or ginger)  See galangal

lengkuas  See galangal

lesser galangal = lesser galangale = kencur root = kentjur root = zedoary   Notes:    This Indonesian rhizome looks a bit like ginger, only it's smaller and darker. It's hard to find in the U.S., but your best bet is to look in Asian markets. It's sold fresh, frozen, pickled, dried, or powdered. Used the dried or powdered versions only in a pinch.  One teaspoon powdered = two teaspoons fresh minced.   Substitutes:   fingerroot OR galangal (sharper flavor) OR ginger

lesser galangale  See lesser galangal

mango ginger  See turmeric.

miyoga = miyoga ginger    Notes:   These are flower buds that emerge from a variety of ginger.  They're quite mild.  Look for them in Japanese markets.   Substitutes:  green ginger

new ginger  See green ginger

pink ginger  See green ginger

shoga  See ginger root.

Siamese ginger  See galangal.

spring ginger  See green ginger

stem ginger  See green ginger

Thai ginger  See galangal

turmeric = fresh turmeric = Indian ginger = yellow ginger = mango ginger  Pronunciation:  TUR-muhr-ik  Shopping hints:   Turmeric has a pungent flavor, but it's more widely known for it's brilliant yellow color.  You can find fresh roots in Southeast Asian and Indian markets, but dried ground turmeric is far more commonly used.  Be careful when handling fresh turmeric--it can stain your hands and clothes.   Equivalents:  1 piece fresh turmeric = 1 teaspoon powdered turmeric.  Substitutes:  ground turmeric OR saffron (much more expensive, and more flavorful) OR Steep annatto seeds in boiling water for 20 minutes, then discard the seeds.

yellow ginger  See turmeric

young ginger  See green ginger

Copyright © 1996-2005  Lori Alden