I'm afraid that zedoary is another spice that I have yet to experience the pleasure of working with.
Dried powdered zedoary
Probably Southern Asia.
The plant is believed to stem from North-Eastern India, but today is widely cultivated in India, South-East Asia and China.
Zingiberaceae (ginger family).
Strongly aromatic, medical and not very pleasant. The taste is rather bitter.
The European names for zedoary originate from Arabic jadwār and Farsi zedwaar. For derivation of the Slovenian and Croatian name isiot, see ginger.
The genus name curcuma likens zedoary to turmeric, another member of the genus with similar rhizomes.
Zedoary is much used as a medicine in China and Japan and the essential oil has some importance for perfume and in the liquor industry. Zedoary is not, however, an important spice plant.
In Thailand, the young rhizomes are often eaten as an aromatic vegetable and zedoary can also be used in the preparation of Thai curry pastes. In India, zedoary is occasionally used to flavour pickles (achar), the fresh rhizome being grated and added to the pickling mixture.
Due to its bitter taste, the dried rhizome is seldom used today as an individual spice, but is employed in spice mixtures. Medieval European sources up to the C16th, however, often speak of dried zedoary as a spice. Assuming that this is not by confusion with another fragrant rhizome, it demonstrates how radically tastes can change within a few centuries.