Both galangals are closely related members of the ginger family Zingiberacae and are important in the cooking of Southeast Asia. The Greater galangal (Alpinia galanga), native to Indonesia, has large spicy roots which are knobbly like ginger with a reddish brown or pale, creamy coloured skin. With its' ginger-like flavour, it is much used in the cuisine of Thailand where it almost replaces ginger as a spice. The Lesser galangal (Alpinia officinarum) is used more as a vegetable than a spice in Southeast Asia and is peeled or shredded before being added to curries or stews.
Sids Suggestion - Southeast Asian Style Chicken.