Ramen Noodles with Sautéed Mushrooms

Ramen Noodles with Sautéed Mushrooms by SeasonWithSpice.com

What is the difference between Ginger and Galangal? 

With the nickname “Blue Ginger” – and also being from the ginger family of flowering plants (Zingiberaceae) – greater galangal may be confused quite often with its better known cousin.  Both plant’s rhizomes – culinary spices - have a similar appearance, especially in their younger form.  And when tasted, both ginger and greater galangal wake up your tongue with an intense, but short-lived burning sensation. 

However, when that burn subsides, you are left with two very distinct spices.  Ginger has a pungent taste with a hint of lemon; basically a one-dimensional flavor.  While galangal also has that sharp taste, there is much more depth to the spice.  One whiff of fresh galangal, and you’ll imagine tropical flowers and fruits.  Not a specific one – all of them.

chopped young galangal spice and swiss brown mushrooms

That warm, sweet, multi-layered flavor of galangal is more often than not found in soups - Thai Tom Yum soup, Indonesian Soto soup, Malaysian Asam Laksa, Cambodian Samlor Kor Ko soup, and so on.  But the spice can also be used as a substitute for fresh ginger in a variety of dishes.  Not just as a substitute, but as a way to enhance the flavor of a common ginger recipe. 

As with an easy Asian recipe like Ramen Noodles with Sautéed Mushrooms.

Ramen Noodles with Sautéed Mushrooms by SeasonWithSpice.com

Young galangal is an excellent replacement for ginger in dishes like ramen noodles with sautéed mushrooms.  Why young galangal?  Mature galangal is dry, dense, and almost impossible to slice.  Young galangal – like young ginger – is juicy, tender, and sweet, as well as simple to chop and add into a sauté dish. 

But unlike young ginger, young galangal will give a familiar dish, like ramen noodles with sautéed mushrooms, a touch of the tropics, and a delicious appreciation for the differences between the two spices.

Ramen Noodles with Sautéed Mushrooms by SeasonWithSpice.com

Ramen Noodles with Sautéed Mushrooms 
by Season with Spice
Serves 2

2 servings of your choice of noodles (soba, ramen, or any Asian noodles)
2 tbsp oil
2 dried red chili peppers - broken into half (optional)
4 cloves of garlic - chopped finely
1/2 tbsp young galangal (or ginger) - peeled and chopped finely
1/2 yellow onion - sliced
300g or 3 cups of cremini mushrooms - sliced thinly
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce (or salt to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Generous dashes of sesame oil
Sliced spring onion and fresh red chili peppers for garnish

1. Cook noodles in boiling water according to package instructions. When cooked, drain the water, and then run noodles under cold tap water to stop the noodles from further cooking. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium fire, then toss in dried red chili peppers, and sauté for a minute until the chili infuses the oil (the oil should smell spicy). Skip the dried red chili peppers if you do not want the dish to be spicy. Add in garlic, young galangal, and yellow onion, and sauté for another minute or until the onion slices soften.
3. Add in the mushrooms, light soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and oyster sauce (if using). Sauté until mushrooms are cooked and tender, about 2-3 minutes.
4. Continuing on medium fire, add in the cooked noodles, and quickly stir to combine all the ingredients. Then season with black pepper and dashes of sesame oil.
5. Turn off heat. Serve noodles in individual bowls and garnish with spring onion and fresh red chili peppers.

easy chinese ramen noodle recipe with mushrooms and ginger or galangal herb