born, raised and educated
born, raised and educated
This is a sponsored post by Menulog, whereby Menulog gifted myself with a voucher for use on their website in return for a review. We used the voucher in the payment for our order/meal and then paid for the difference. I would like to point out that the opinions in this post are my own. Also, thanks Menulog for providing me with the voucher and the opportunity to write my very first sponsored post. Woo-hooo! 1
Last week, when I was sent an email from Josh at Menulog with kind and encouraging words about my blog and ideas on how to grow my audience (one of which was to review a local restaurant courtesy of Menulog), I was admittedly flattered and excited. Not just from the prospect of receiving a complimentary meal, but also the knowledge that my food blog is being appreciated and recognised by a wider community and other members of the food industry. 2
If you live in Oz – there’s a good chance that you already know about Menulog. If not, here’s a quick summary. Menulog is an Australian online takeaway ordering website/service that allows you to quickly and conveniently search for your favourite cuisine or restaurant in your local area and place your order (either for delivery or pick up) – all on the convenience of the one website. They also provide free to download iPhone and Android apps, so ordering takeaway via Menulog is now easier and more convenient for people on the go!
Menulog market and pride themselves as ‘No.1 For Online Takeaway’. They are Australia’s largest takeaway/home delivery website with 3500+ restaurants from around Australia to choose from, and their cuisine categories range from American to Vietnamese (and more). Here’s an infographic on how Menulog works and how they can benefit you. 3
The Menulog website is easy to use/navigate/intuitive and packed full of features to help make the process quick and hassle-free. The search feature in particular is fast and effective. You can refine your search by restaurant or dish, and further refine your search results based on cuisine, (delivery) speed, minimum order, promotion and rating. Placing and editing your order on Menulog is a cinch, and there are many restaurants that offer their customers with first order and loyalty discounts, meal deals, etc. We’ve used Menulog several times before, and can vouch that their service is convenient and efficient.
This time round – I wanted to order home delivered Lao food but as I suspected, there are no Lao restaurants that deliver to the Newtown, NSW area – so I had to think outside the box. Knowing that some Thai restaurants offer dishes similar to Lao food, eg sticky rice, larb and som tum – I decided to use the search by dish feature and searched for ‘sticky rice’ instead.
My search returned several results, and although most of the results were sticky rice of the dessert kind, eg – custard with sticky rice, some of the results were sticky rice as a side dish. After perusing the menu of all the restaurants that offer sticky rice as a side dish – bingo – I decided to make my order with Crocodile Senior Thai – based on their extensive and enticing menu.
Crocodile Senior Thai Restaurant is located in Haymarket, NSW – centrally located and a couple of suburbs away, so I was surprised and very lucky that they delivered to Newtown. Their menu is extensive and impressive, with several dishes reminding me of home, including – larb, som tum, sai oua, stir fried morning glory, etc and of course sticky rice.
After viewing the positive user reviews and rating for Crocodile Senior Thai on Menulog, and noting their generous 15% 1st order discount, I was almost ready to make my order. A quick Google search for Crocodile Senior Thai revealed images of their food and venue, and more positive reviews (including them being popular with the Thai community, and the food tasting authentic) – this sealed the deal and I was now ready to make our order.
As we selected our dishes on Menulog, the subtotal and total was automatically calculated – this made our choices easier. When ready, I entered the voucher code, paid the difference with cc, entered the delivery address details, etc and voila – our order was made and I soon received an eta and email confirmation. About a quick half an hour of waiting with drinks and laughter later, there was knocking on the front door, and our meal was presented by a cheery/friendly delivery gentleman.
The food arrived fresh and hot in their typical plastic takeaway containers. From the moment we opened each container, we were enticed by the wonderful trademark Thai food aromas that wafted from each dish. We could’ve happily left the food in their containers and served portions of each dish to our plates – but in the name of publishing a good/attractive blog post, we transferred each dish to individual serving plates/bowls. I’m glad that we did this because the food looks and tastes so much better this way!
Finally – after several photos (and I thank my lovely partner and our friend/dining companion AY for their patience), it was time to eat. I provided a quick explanation on how to eat sticky rice using our hands/fingers, and we then all eagerly dived in and enjoyed a wonderful Thai-Lao meal together. 4
Needless to say, our meal from Crocodile Senior Thai was delicious! It was one of the best Thai-Lao meals that I’ve ever eaten. My partner and AY were equally impressed and although some of the dishes, in particular the som tum was expectedly spicy, the combination of all the different dishes, flavours and components provided a wonderfully mixed/assorted meal. Some of the words we used to describe the meal were vibrant, fresh, flavoursome, spicy, uplifting, colourful, multi-layered and sophisticated.
The good word/reviews that I’ve read about the food by Crocodile Senior Thai is true folks! It really is delicious, authentic Thai dishes/flavours with some north-eastern Thai/Isaan/Lao influence. If you love tasty/flavoursome classic Thai dishes and if you’re looking for some dishes similar to Lao food (including sticky rice) – I highly recommend Crocodile Senior Thai.
Also, as the cold weather sets in Sydney/Oz and if you can’t be bothered cooking or going out for dinner – I recommend you consider using the convenient service of Menulog. Their user-friendly website and phone apps make ordering takeaway/home-delivery food online so much easier. Enjoy your meal!
Khao khua is Lao ground roasted glutinous rice powder, and is an indispensable ingredient in Lao cooking. It’s traditionally used in the final stages when preparing “larb”, Laos’s national dish, where it’s sprinkled on and mixed into the salad, imparting a delicious and distinctive toasty, nutty, smokey, aromatic and sweet flavour and aroma to the dish. It also adds a wonderful colour and grainy texture to the dish making it even more delicious to eat.
Among other Lao dishes, khao khua is also used to make a popular spicy Lao dipping sauce (“jeow”) for sour fruits, where it is mixed with other ingredients such as chilies, garlic, shallots, sugar, salt, fish sauce, padaek, etc – creating an intense and powerful sweet/spicy/savoury sauce that complements the sour fruits very well.
Back at home, if my memory serves me correctly, my mum and sister made khao khua by simply dry roasting/frying raw/uncooked white glutinous rice (Oryza sativa var. glutinosa) grains (usually outdoors) in a wok/frying pan until it turned golden brown, and then grinding the grains with a coffee grinder (or with a mortar and pestle – the traditional way) until it became a fine powder.
I recently discovered a recipe for khao khua by Luke Nguyen on SBS food (where you’ll also find other wonderful Lao and Southeast Asian recipes) where he fries the rice grains with kaffir lime leaves and chopped lemon grass which consequently impart a lovely aromatic fragrance to the dry roasted rice. 1
I was not aware of this method and thought it sounded wonderful and simply had to try it.
So, in preparation for a larb inspired recipe that I’m working on, I made khao khua using kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass as aromatics, as demonstrated by Luke Nguyen, and it worked a treat! The scent of the kaffir leaves and lemon grass are subtle in the final ground rice powder but is obvious enough to make the method worthwhile.
In the following recipe, I used 3 cups of raw/uncooked glutinous rice, but you can use and make as much as you like, and store the finished product in an airtight container/jar in a cool kitchen cupboard or fridge for several months.
The kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass are optional, and if you’re feeling adventurous – instead of kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass, perhaps you might want to try other aromatics such as galangal, ginger, star anise, cinnamon sticks and chilies? I personally haven’t tried these ingredients to make khao khua before but I can only imagine how delicious/wonderful they would make the ground rice grains smell/taste.
Also, if you do not have raw white glutinous rice at hand, perhaps you want to experiment with jasmine or other rice grains instead? Again, I’ve only used glutinous rice before, but I trust the results will be quite similar? If you do use non-glutinous rice grains to make khao khua, please let me know how it turns out.
And if possible, I advice to dry roast/fry the rice grains outdoors. If cooking it indoors, be sure to have your kitchen well ventilated/windows open because the process can cause a lot of smoky smell. Also, when pounding/grinding the rice grains, be careful to not deliberately inhale the rice dust, especially if it’s been infused with aromatics, because it can cause sneezing.
Besides that, have fun making khao khua and stay tuned for a special Lao larb inspired recipe coming soon!