Kencur (Kaempferia Galanga) and Kencur Sambal

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Lacking of this plant common English name, it’s become a confused subject. Some poeple refer to it as zedoary which is a name for Curcuma zedoaria. Others call for lesser galangal (actually I did too), which it’s a different rhizome found in Southern China.So, what is this plant name, exactly? According this book, it’s called kencur (Kaempferia galanga), just the same like the Indonesian’s called for it and in Malaysia it’s known as cekur and in Thailand pro hom.If you want to know what kencur is, just click on the link above.I found out some websites that sell Indonesian spices on the internet, wrote a wrong name of kencur. While I was at the Asian market on King street, it was said lesser galangal or zeodory, but when I sniffed it, I know it was kencur.

I also have a recipe of Kencur sambal. Don’t get confused every time I write sambal. Sambal is a popular Indonesian condiment that refers to chili paste, it’s thicker and richer in taste than Mexican salsa. Please read about sambal at wikipedia to know more and variety of sambal in Indonesia.

Kencur and Kencur Sambal are my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Kalyn.


Sambal Kencur
modified from Tabloid Nova

7 red chillies
7 bird’s eye chillies
5 candlenuts, toasted, sangrai
3 tbsp oil minyak goreng
3 shallots, chopped
7 cm fresh kencur, minced
1 1/2 tsp tamarind, dissolved in 45 ml water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp roasted dried shrimp paste (Indonesian: terasi)
4 kaffir lime leaves, f
old the kaffir lime leaves in half along their spines and cut off and discard the spine

Sambal Kencur close up

1. Grind red chillies, bird’s eye chillies, and candlenuts. In a skillet, add oil and heat up at medium-high. Stir fry chillies mixture, shallots and kencur until fragrant.
2. Add tamarind mixture, salt, sugar, terasi and kaffir lime leaves; reduce the heat to low and stir occasionally until done.
3. Serve this sambal with fried tempe, fried tofu, cooked (blached, steamed or boiled) vegetables and warmed cooked rice.

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About the Author

An Indonesian-born who lived in Winnipeg Edmonton, Canada for more than a decade prior to move to Edmonton in 2017. Indonesia Eats is a memoir of her homeland.