How to Buy and Use Rice Paper Wrappers

How to buy rice paper wrappers. Also suggestions for their use, in addition to summer rolls.


What are rice paper wrappers?

If you’ve ever eaten a summer roll (or salad roll) at a Vietnamese restaurant, you’ve eaten a sheet of rice paper. They’re super-thin wrappers, traditionally made with rice, water, and salt, that can be filled with just about anything. Because they’re so thin, the packaging is almost translucent, allowing you to see what’s inside. They also have a good chew.

Mostly we saw rice paper wrappers wrapped around shrimp, pork, fresh vegetables and noodles. That doesn’t mean you can’t wrap them in other ingredients; For the BLT Summer Rolls we even fill rice paper with bacon, lettuce and tomato.

*YOU MAY ALSO INTEREST: How to Make Summer Rolls Stuffed with Bacon, Tomato, Lettuce, and Lime Mayonnaise. Continue with Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Summer Rolls recipe.

purchase and storage

Depending on where you live, you may get lucky and find rice paper wrappers sold in the international grocery section of your local supermarket or health food store. Otherwise there is the best choice in the Vietnamese or Chinese food market. Online is also a good option.


Tips for choosing rice paper packaging

  • Avoid 100% tapioca packaging as it is more difficult to package. Instead, look for wraps made with rice or a combination of rice and tapioca. (By the way, rice paper wrappers should be gluten-free. Some wrappers list wheat as an ingredient. This is probably a translation error.)
  • I really like the 8 1/2 inch wrappers as they are easier to work with the smaller or larger wrappers.
  • Look for the Three Ladies brand or one with a red rose on the label. We’ve had great success with them and they’re widely accepted as quality options.
  • If there are several options, choose the most expensive option. Rice paper isn’t going to be expensive anyway, so it’s not too difficult to go for the option that costs 50 cents more.

save rice paper

Once the package is opened, place in a resealable plastic bag and store in the pantry or closet.

How to use rice paper

Rice paper is sold in dried sheets. Before using them, you need to rehydrate them to make them soft.

Once rehydrated, the rice paper can be eaten like spring rolls or fried. Fresh rolls are the most common way of processing rice paper in our kitchen. However, we do not recommend cooking with it. When fried, the rice paper becomes incredibly crispy and light. For more tips on how to fry rice paper rolls, we recommend reading Andrea Nguyen’s article.


How to wrap rice paper rolls

Wrapping rice paper is easy, as easy as wrapping a burrito. It also gets better the more you do it. However, they don’t have to be perfect!

I mentioned earlier that rice paper is sold in dried sheets. To make them more flexible and ready to roll, you need warm water..

Pour warm water into a shallow bowl or loaf pan larger than the rice paper you are using. Work one sheet of rice paper at a time and slide the sheet into warm water. Leave the leaf in the water for a few seconds; any more and it will become too soft and start to stick to itself. You actually submerge it in the water.

Remove the moistened but still slightly firm sheet of rice paper and place it on a flat work surface. Leave it on for a minute or two; during this time the paper will become even softer. It’s ready for stuffing and rolling when it’s smooth and a little sticky.

Now all you have to do is wrap. Remember, it’s like wrapping a burrito.

  1. Place the filling in the center of the bottom third of the dough.
  2. Bring the bottom edge up and over the filling.
  3. Fold both sides.
  4. Roll everything up tightly, using your fingers to hold the toppings in the center of the roll and tight.

One may break when handling or rolling up the wrappers. If the rice paper tears a bit, don’t worry, just overlap the two torn edges and continue as usual.


This is how summer rolls stay fresh

Fresh summer rolls are best eaten right away, but you can wrap them in cling film and keep them in the fridge for a few hours. Just keep the rolls apart as they tend to stick together over time.

If storing overnight, you may want to place a layer of damp paper towels in front of the plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.

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