Curcuma zedoaria (zedoary, white turmeric, or kentjur) is a perennial herb and member of the genus Curcuma, family Zingiberaceae. The plant is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia but is now naturalized in other places including the US state of Florida. Zedoary was one of the ancient food plants of the Austronesian peoples. They were spread during prehistoric times to the Pacific Islands and Madagascar during the Austronesian expansion (c. 5,000 BP). Its use as a spice in the West today is extremely rare, having been replaced by ginger, and to a lesser extent, yellow turmeric.
The edible rhizome 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. In Indonesia, it is ground to a powder and added to make white curry pastes, whereas in India, it tends to be used fresh or in pickling. In Thai cuisine it is used raw and cut in thin strips in certain Thai salads. It can also be served cut into thin slices together with other herbs and vegetables with certain types of nam phrik (Thai chilli pastes).
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