Zedoary Root in our A-Z - Cooking Index
Zedoary is the name for a perennial herb and member of the genus Curcuma Linn., family Zingiberaceae.
In Indonesia it is ground to a powder and added to curry pastes, whereas in India it tends to be used fresh or pickled. The essential oil produced from the dried roots of Curcuma zedoaria is used in perfumery and soap fabrication, as well as an ingredient in bitter tonics.
The edible root of zedoary has a white interior and a fragrance reminiscent of mango; however, its flavour is more similar to ginger, except with a very bitter aftertaste.
The plant is native to India and Indonesia. It was introduced to Europe by Arabs around the sixth century, but its use as a spice in the West today is extremely rare, having been replaced by ginger.
Zedoary is also used in some traditional eastern medicines where it is reputed to be an aid to digestion, a relief for colic and an agent for purifying the blood.