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I have a cookbook from a Thailand cooking school for tourists that lists

1 Tbsp galangal chopped finely

and then

6-8 cm ginza, skin removed (substitute: old dull ginger)

I assumed from this recipe that they’re separate ingredients but in looking online I’ve found some few sources containing both terms and they seem to indicate they are the same ingredient.

Are they the same? Different? It’s difficult to find information on “ginza” as an ingredient, and much easier to find articles on galangal.

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    There are a whole bunch of things that are called galangal; any flavorful root that isn’t ginger or turmeric is going to be called “galangal” by somebody. But I’m not sure if “ginza” is more consistently specific.
    – Sneftel
    Jul 4 at 20:45
  • Sounds to me like they might mean "ginger" and just had a guess at the spelling.
    – Tom Fenech
    Jul 5 at 12:24
  • Can you post the whole recipe or suggest what the menu is at least we can guess what is it talking about.
    – vasin1987
    Jul 5 at 20:27
  • @TomFenech good guess- I just added another part of the ginza line that suggests that they do differentiate between them!
    – arturomp
    Jul 5 at 21:17
  • @vasin1987 Good idea! It’s also a good recipe so at least it will be useful to someone at some point. I’ll try to make some time to transcribe the whole thing later this week, but afaik these are all the important parts now.
    – arturomp
    Jul 5 at 21:18
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Welcome to the extremely confusing world of rhizomes! Thai cuisine uses different rhizomes for curry pastes extensively, and naming of these is not at all consistent. For example, any of the following three roots might get referred to as "galangal":

However, none of these appear to be commonly referred to as "ginza", or any word that could be poorly transliterated that way. However, I have found a handful of references to "ginza root" and they seem to always refer to greater galangal. So in the recipe that refers separately to "galangal" alongsize ginza, the second reference probably refers to either fingerroot or lesser galangal. I'd try fingerroot first, since it's more common.

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    Are there noticeable flavor differences between the different rhizomes, and if so, how might you describe them? When would a Thai chef use one or the other? For example, if you make a recipe with fingerroot, what sort of flavor notes could indicate that it might be worth seeking out lesser galangal (or greater galangal) instead?
    – R.M.
    Jul 5 at 11:49
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    That's a whole separate question. Feel free to ask it.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jul 5 at 20:20

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