Rice paper wrappers are a versatile and convenient ingredient that can be used to make delicious and healthy dishes. They are commonly used in Vietnamese cuisine, but can also be found in other Asian dishes. If you’re new to rice paper wrappers, here are some tips on how to buy and use them.
Buying Rice Paper Wrappers
When buying rice paper wrappers, it’s important to choose a high-quality brand that is made from pure rice flour. Check the ingredient list and avoid those that contain additives or preservatives. You can usually find rice paper wrappers in the international or Asian section of your local grocery store. They are often sold in packs and come in different sizes and shapes.
If you’re not sure which size to buy, start with the standard 22cm diameter wrappers, which are suitable for most recipes. However, smaller or larger sizes may be needed for specific dishes. Rice paper wrappers are usually sold dried and translucent. Make sure to check the packaging for any signs of damage or moisture before purchasing.
Using Rice Paper Wrappers
Before using rice paper wrappers, you will need to rehydrate them. Fill a shallow dish with warm water and dip one wrapper at a time into the water for a few seconds until it becomes pliable. Be careful not to soak it for too long, as it will become too soft and difficult to work with. Place the rehydrated wrapper on a clean work surface.
Fillings can be placed in the center or on one side of the wrapper, depending on the recipe. You can use a variety of fillings such as fresh vegetables, cooked shrimp or chicken, vermicelli noodles, and herbs. Fold the sides of the wrapper over the fillings and roll it tightly to form a neat and compact roll. Rice paper wrappers can be served fresh or fried, depending on the recipe.
What are Rice Paper Wrappers?
Unlike the fried spring roll wrappers commonly used in Chinese cuisine, rice paper wrappers are typically used for fresh or cold rolls. They are soaked in warm water for a few seconds to soften them before filling and rolling. The softened wrappers become pliable and easy to work with, making it possible to create tight rolls without tearing them.
Rice paper wrappers can be found in Asian grocery stores or specialty stores that carry Vietnamese ingredients. They are usually sold in packs of multiple sheets, and it’s important to check the expiration date before purchasing. Some brands may have a slightly different taste or texture, so it’s worth trying a few different ones to find the brand you prefer.
It’s important to handle rice paper wrappers with care, as they can tear easily if mishandled. When working with them, place the wrapper on a clean, damp kitchen towel or plate to prevent sticking. It’s also helpful to have all the fillings prepared and ready before starting to assemble the rolls, as this will make the process quicker and smoother.
Types of Rice Paper Wrappers
1. Round Rice Paper Wrappers: Round rice paper wrappers are the most common type and are typically used to make spring rolls. They are thin and flexible, making them easy to roll and fold. Round rice paper wrappers can be found in different sizes, ranging from small to large.
2. Square Rice Paper Wrappers: Square rice paper wrappers are another popular variety. They are often used to make Vietnamese summer rolls, also known as fresh rolls or salad rolls. Square rice paper wrappers are larger in size compared to round ones and provide more surface area for stuffing ingredients. They are typically softer and more delicate, requiring a gentler touch when handling.
|Type of Rice Paper Wrapper||Main Characteristics||Common Uses|
|Round||Thin and flexible||Spring rolls|
|Square||Larger and more delicate||Vietnamese summer rolls|
|Rice Paper Sheets||Thick and sturdy||Baked or fried dishes|
3. Rice Paper Sheets: Rice paper sheets are thicker and sturdier compared to round or square wrappers. They are often used to make baked or fried dishes such as crispy spring rolls or rice paper rolls. Rice paper sheets provide a crisp texture when cooked and can withstand higher temperatures without tearing or becoming too soft.
When choosing rice paper wrappers, consider the type of dish you want to make and the texture you prefer. Round wrappers are versatile and easy to work with, while square wrappers are ideal for delicate summer rolls. Rice paper sheets are great for crispy and fried dishes. Experiment with different types to find your favorite!
How to Buy Rice Paper Wrappers
1. Check the ingredients:
Rice paper wrappers are made from rice flour, water, and sometimes tapioca flour. It is important to check the ingredients list to make sure there are no additives or preservatives. Look for wrappers that have a short and simple list of ingredients.
2. Consider the thickness:
Rice paper wrappers come in different thicknesses, ranging from thin to thick. The thickness you choose depends on personal preference and the type of dish you are making. Thinner wrappers are more delicate and are better suited for fresh spring rolls, while thicker wrappers are sturdier and hold up well with frying or baking.
3. Look for a reputable brand:
There are many brands that produce rice paper wrappers, but not all are created equal. Look for a reputable brand that is known for its quality. Do some research and read reviews to get an idea of which brands are recommended by others.
4. Check for freshness:
Rice paper wrappers have a shelf life, so it is important to check for freshness before purchasing. Look for wrappers that are free from tears or holes, as these can affect the texture and integrity of the wrapper. It is also a good idea to check the expiration date to make sure you are buying a fresh product.
5. Consider the size:
Rice paper wrappers come in different sizes, so consider the size that is most suitable for your needs. If you are making larger spring rolls, you may want to opt for larger wrappers. If you are making smaller appetizers, smaller wrappers may be more appropriate.
By following these tips, you can ensure that you are buying high-quality rice paper wrappers that will yield delicious and authentic Vietnamese dishes.