Love rice paper rolls but looking for more ways to use up the wrappers? You’re in the right place! Check out this amazing collection of our favourite recipes using rice paper that are super delicious and easy to make at home.
Why We Love This
Vietnamese rice paper sheets are one of our favourite ingredients. They’re convenient, versatile and super fun to work with at home. They also last almost indefinitely, so it’s easy to keep them stocked in your pantry and ready to go for your favourite recipes.
Rice paper is best known as the soft and flexible wrapper for Vietnamese rice paper rolls, but they’re also super useful in lots of other ways!
What is Rice Paper?
Rice paper (known as bánh tráng in Vietnamese) is a type of edible wrapper made from finely ground rice flour, water, salt and tapioca. They’re super thin and feel a bit like plastic when they’re dry, but turn soft, stretchy and transparent when moistened with water.
In Vietnam the rice paper ingredients are mixed into a runny batter then cooked either on a hot pan similar to a crepe, or steamed over boiling water. This fresh, hand-made rice paper is then placed onto a bamboo mat and sun-dried, which is what gives the paper its iconic pattern. Modern commercial brands of rice paper are made using machines that try to replicate this look and feel in the finished product.
Rice paper is most commonly used to make cold rice paper rolls (gỏi cuốn), crispy fried spring rolls (chả giò) or a Vietnamese pizza known as bánh tráng nướng. We’ve also come across thin strips of crispy fried rice paper called bánh tráng tỏi, seasoned with garlic and/or chilli and sold at supermarkets or as a street food snack.
There are countless more varieties available in Vietnam; from sesame rice paper (bánh tráng mè), with a crunchy rice cracker texture, to bánh tráng sữa made with added milk for a meltier texture.
Recipes Using Rice Paper
Store rice paper wrappers in their original packaging or an airtight container in a cool, dry place such as your pantry. They last almost indefinitely this way. However once moistened, they won’t last long. It’s best to work quickly when using them so they don’t soften too much or stick to your plate and tear when rolling them up.
There are lots of brands out there depending on where you live, but the most widely available are Three Ladies Brand or Bamboo Tree. In Australia you’ll also find Valcom and Pandaroo wrappers in large supermarkets and Asian grocery stores.
Yes it’s possible, but it’s a somewhat fiddly process that we haven’t tried for ourselves yet! This video will show you how to make rice paper wrappers at home, or check out this video to see how it’s made the traditional way in Vietnam.
The most common way to do this is to take a rice paper wrapper and dunk it half way into a large, wide bowl of just lukewarm water. Quickly rotate the wrapper until the entire surface has been moistened, then take it straight out of the water. If you’re making rice paper rolls, work quickly to wrap up your ingredients and roll up before the rice paper becomes to soft or soggy to work with.
It sounds like you left the wrapper for too long. Work quickly to dunk and coat the surface in water, then take it out straight away.
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