Fingerroot (Temu Kunci – Kra Chai)

FingerrootHave you ever seen this herb before? It does look like fingers growing out of a center piece and the reason why it is called Fingerroot in English. This herb is known as Temu Kunci in Indonesian and I have tasted ever since I can remember.

Fingerroot is popular as a medicinal and culinary herb in China and Southeast Asia. It has a strong and dominating flavour. Many people would think to classify this as a medical due that reason. The fingers and the central, globular part of the rhizome have different odour.

Temu Kunci is mostly used in Javanese cuisine, but I haven’t found any recipes from other regions of Indonesia using this herb. I surely will share with you two Javanese dishes that I ate for lunch while I was still young and lived in my parents’ house. If you wonder what those foods are, please do come back for my two next postings.

Meanwhile, you can look through other common names of this plant.
Botanical name: Boesenbergia rotunda (L.)
English: Chinese ginger, Chinese key, Lesser ginger
German: Chinesischer Ingwer, Fingerwurz
Indonesian: Temu kunci
Thai: Ka-aen, Wan-phraathit, Khingsai khingkaeng, Ka chai, Kra chai
Vietnamese: Bแป“ng nga truแบญt, Cรบ ngรกi

Source: Wikipedia and Gernot Katzer’s Spices Pages

About the Author

An Indonesian born who lives in Winnipeg, Canada for more than a decade and decided to move a bit west. Edmonton is now where she is based on. Indonesia Eats is a memoir of her homeland.