Finger-root or Krachai (Boesenbergia rotunda) (Kaempferia pandurata Roxb.)is used in southern Thai fish dishes, some Cambodian, Lao, Indonesian and Malay dishes. It's not a commonly seen ingredient out of the region. It's common names are many: Krachai is the Thai name, Chinese Keys, Chinese Ginger, Lesser ginger to name a few. It is most commonly confused by Thai and Indonesian cooks as the Lesser Galangale which it most definitely isn't. The advice by "Celtnet" is to use Fingerroot for any Thai fish curry that states Lesser Galangale because they really do mean Fingerroot.Occasionally it is seen in Asian grocers and that's the time to grab it. The Finger-root can be frozen in a sealed plastic bag, brine or vinegar pickled and also prepared as a dried powder. The dried powder can be quite bitter and is the least true of the preserved styles.
Brine pickling is very straight forward. It's simply a process of submerging the rhizome in a brine solution. There is no need to enhance the brine with spices as the flavour is quite definite and the root isn't used as a single ingredient for eating.

  • Salt, 1½ Tbsp
  • Hot water, 500 ml (2 cups)
  • Finger-root.
  1. Add the salt in the hot water and when dissolved then make up the final volume to 1 litre.
  2. Wash the Finger-root very well. There's no need to peel this but separate the fingers from the body if you prefer.
  3. Place the Finger-root into a litre mason (~1 qt) or jar and pour the pickling brine into the jar with enough to immerse the finger-root completely.
  4. Weight the tops of the rhizome so that it is all below the liquid level.
  5. Cover the top of the jar with clean cheesecloth and secure this with a rubber band.
  6. Allow to steep and pickle for a week minimum at room temperature 20ºC( ~70F). If keeping the finger-root in the jar, then replace the cloth cover with a solid cap and make sure that the root is completely submerged to prevent mold growth.
  7. Store in a pantry or refrigerated.
This is probably a low use rate ingredient and I would store the wet Krachai in small sealed plastic bags noting the date of preparation and sealing.
This product is ready to use as is.