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Rice paper rolls

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I've become a fan of rice paper rolls. Easier to make than you might think, they look great and are very versatile. The rolls provide a thin wrap for the filling of your choice; the rice paper has a slightly chewy texture; opaque, you get a pretty good idea of what's inside; think pita pocket with less calories! Rice paper has little taste of its own.

Firstly, ROLLING. There are 3 basic shapes.
- the 'cigar' shape is made like this:

- the 'parcel' shape is made in a similar fashion, BUT start with a square rather rectangular gob of filling and roll up each side equally
- the 'open' style is made like the cigar, but start with the filling in a rectangle that touches one edge of the circle of rice paper. Fold left side toward centre, bottom side toward top, and right side toward centre to seal, leaving one end open at the top. See here:

Another way to make small opens is to do cigars and then cut them in half (at a snazzy angle) to expose the delectable and attractive fillings, voila.

Typical Asian-style fillings include
- vegetables: carrots, yam (jicama), red pepper, chinese cabbage, kang kong, green paw-paw, cucumber
- zingy bits: garlic, onion, chilli
- fillers: vermicelli
- protein: tofu, tempeh, nuts, sunflower seeds
- live spices: (Thai) basil leaf, mint leaf, spring onion, coriander, rocket, sprouts
Non-traditional fillings: whitlof, purple cabbage, grated parsnip, slivered almonds, julienned summer squash or zucchini, celery leaves, refried beans, snow peas, raisins, pickled anything, leftover cooked vegetables, etc.
Otherwise you go with whatever you like, don't you? The thing is you can do a bit of a cross-over between stuff you would put in a bowl salad and stuff you would put in a bread roll. Traditional fillings are mostly raw or only lightly cooked; you want the end result to have some crunch about it.


This is a typical kind of dipping sauce to have them with:

Otherwise tweak it how you like. Sometimes I just put a splodge - that's a technical term some of you beginners might not know - of sweet chilli sauce inside the roll itself and that's enough for me. These fillings go well with peanuts so a gloppet - another technical term, I'm convinced of that - of peanut butter works great too.

Serve at room temperature. Hence can be prepared beforehand if necessary. Think lunch, lunchbox, healthy and neat-o party snack, dinner entree, etc. If you do the cigar shapes you can tie them up with a chive for an extra flourish (they don't need it to hold together, the rice paper gets tacky and stays stuck just fine on its own). Note: if making rolls for a platter, try to not have them touching or they will stick together like tax fraud to dodgy accountants.

Cheap! A packet of 30 costs me $2. They're the large-ish size, about 22cm diameter. For a man, 5 makes a lunch. For a woman maybe 3. Hence 1 packet goes a long way. No need to keep in fridge, they are dry goods. There are different sizes so if you want to make delicate canape-style rolls that have just a sliver of this and that inside get the ones that are about as big as a bread roll plate.

Each rice paper sheet/wrapper (22cm diameter) is 23 calories, 4.5g carbohydrate, 5g protein, 0g fat. Win!

This guy suggests using them in place of nori for those who don't like the taste of seaweed:

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  • no profile photo CD15212119
    I'm glad I read this blog. I've been thinking about trying some rice paper. I'm thinking taco filling. I love anything with beans and veggies. I saw where Ellen DeGeneres personal chef made fake fried chicken out of seitan and rice papers. It was interesting but too much oil for me. Thanks for the information.
    1869 days ago
    they look great!
    2260 days ago
    I have a pack of these wrappers at home & have used them to make basil rolls when I have asian food. I never thought of using them as a wrap for lunch instead of pitas or bread!!
    Thanks for the idea!!!
    2489 days ago
    These look fabulous! I can see making these in my very near future, especially while there's still fresh basil in the garden.
    3259 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1454540
    3459 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5571592
    thanks on the suggestions of using the rice paper. I bought a pack since they are gluten free, but I have yet to use them. This gives me plenty of ideas and lets me use less calories doing it! :)
    3473 days ago
    I have been looking for a substitute for bread or pita as I am not keen on any. This could be my answer. Thank you for the info. As soon as I go to the smoke I will get some.
    3485 days ago
  • DS9KIE
    that looks sooo yummy
    3489 days ago
  • JUGE300000
    Sounds good!

    3490 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6896762
    Fabulous! Thanks for all of the information. I've recently started doing lots of these. My family goes gaga over them. They are so fresh. Here, in France, they are called Spring Rolls - I suppose because of all the springtime veggies inside. Only problem is that it takes some time to make for whole family. I get my kids involved. We set up a factory line and get rollin'.
    3490 days ago
    Looks so good.
    3490 days ago
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