Homemade Galangal Pickle

Homemade Galangal Pickle

Galangal pickle, homemade, is a luscious salmon pink colour, as I had hoped it would be. This recipe is for long term pickles, that don't need to be kept in the fridge before using. It has taken four hours concocting this Asian delicacy, but well worth it. The idea started when Neil and I realised we needed to severely cut back our very tall galangal plants to create some more light in the adjacent raised garden for the winter crops. Whilst thrashing back the galangal, we also discovered where our Great Southern nation's population of grasshoppers, that have been feasting on our other vegetable and herb plants have been very comfortably feeding, resting and breeding during the day, before partying and generally misbehaving in the evening.

As you can see, this recipe, when almost doubled only makes 2 jars of pickle and around 8 large roots were needed for that amount. An essential piece of equipment for this pickle is a mandolin, as the galangal needs to be sliced paper thin. Watch your fingers. This can only be achieved with the freshest, tenderest sections or knobs of the root. You will know that the galangal isn't tender enough when the mandolin refuses to slice it. However, fresh tender root sections can be found at good Asian shops if you don't grow it.

This is my first batch, and I am so pleased with it that I will be making more, however because it will also make great gifts, and is somewhat of a delicacy, I suggest it be bottled in smaller jars. A little bit of the finished product goes a long way.

If you grow your own, dig out the roots where you see the tender, pink new growth shooting. 

Wash the roots carefully and remove all of the finer roots, imperfections and dry brown skin that you can find and cut into pieces that can easily be sliced. The knobs should be sliced lengthwise if possible on your mandolin. Slicing the knobs of galangal is the most difficult part of the process. The rest is easy.

150 g freshly peeled young galangal root
2 tablespoons sea salt

Pickling mixture:
90 g white sugar
1 cup rice wine vinegar, or use half cider vinegar which is what I did for this recipe
1 teaspoon salt

  1. Cut the galangal into knobs. Using your mandolin, slice each knob lengthwise into paper-thin slices.Place slices into a bowl.
  2. Cover the galangal slices with the 2 tablespoons of sea salt and mix the salt through the slices with your fingers. This is a very important pickling step as the slices will soften,  and a lot of the liquid will drain out of the galangal. Set aside for 3 hours to soften.
  3. Thoroughly rinse the galangal slices, pat dry, and put into sterilised jars.
  4. Bring to boiling point the sugar, vinegar, and salt.
  5. Pour the hot, but not boiling pickling mixture over the galangal, and place the lids on the jars.
  6. Allow the jars to cool slightly, and place them into a large saucepan, the bottom  lined with a tea towel folded in two. This prevents the jars from breaking, and cover to just below the lid with hot but not boiling water.
  7. Bring the water in the saucepan to the boil, and simmer on a very low heat for about 15 minutes.

These should keep for at least a year in your pantry. Stick on pretty self-adhesive labels, marked with the date, your name,  and the type of pickle.

This is still a job I need to do.

I hope you enjoy this pickle. Do you regularly eat pickled galangal and what do you eat it with?




  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Well, this is a recipe for pickled galangal, not pickled ginger. you can clearly see it's galangal in every picture.
      They surely doesn't taste anything like eachother, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, looking forward to try and make some pickled galangal!

    2. I hope you get to try making this. The result is well worth it.

    3. What would you eat it with though
      Thai food or does it go with other cuisines?

    4. This is delicious with all kinds of Asian foods, in particular sushi.

  2. Hope to try this soon. For your amusement, here is the story of how I got my galangal plant. Last year we went to a farmers market and one guy was selling galangal (and other herbs). Unfortunately, he was selling them in centimeter thick slices :-( . I suspect he did so to avoid other people (me) from growing it themselves and ruining his monopoly LOL. nevertheless, I took every single piece and planted them. The slice that looked like it had a growing tip did nothing, but one of the slices with no apparent growing tip developed a shoot. Yay. I have since divided the resulting plant into two plants (as backup since galangal isn't common here). I made a bit of tea just to see the flavour. I can see this going well with soups. I've made ginger pickle with satisfactory results and I expect this will do nicely too.

  3. Hi. I wanted to know if we can add water to the vinegar mixture?

    1. I wouldn't add water to the vinegar mixture, it would dilute the vinegar and reduce the lovely pickled flavour, and the galangal might not keep as long either. Thanks for your query.


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