Galangal has a citrus like aroma, working extremely well with its relative, ginger. Unlike ginger though, galangal isn’t spicy, it’s in fact, a little sweet. You can buy it whole, cut or powdered. The whole fresh rhizome is very hard, and slicing it requires a sharp knife. Some of the major supermarkets sell it fresh in little packs with shallots, garlic and chillies and label them Thai pack. You’ll find it next to the onions & stuff.
Sold in paste form in jars in major supermarkets too. It’s actually quite good and saves you the hassle of chopping/grinding it. I always have a jar in the fridge. Of course when I can get hold of a lot of fresh galangal, I make a paste with a little bit of water, pour it into a sterilised jar, top with oil and keep it in the fridge for up to a month. I’d say an inch/2 cm of fresh galangal is roughly 1 tsp of paste.
I’ve often come across recipes saying you can substitute it with ginger – YOU CAN’T! Trust me, it’s not the same!