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Rice Paper Roll

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

With spring here and summer soon approaching, we need something refreshing. Why not wrap healthy ingredients into a flavoursome bundle.

Rice paper rolls are not only healthy, but they are also remarkably tasty and versatile. You can adapt and modify the filling with any fresh ingredients that are available in your fridge or from your garden or in the market. You can also go loony with funky ingredients and make it your own signature rice paper roll. Check out the filling variation options where I have listed some crazy ideas.

Besides quintessential health and taste, the rolls are a feast for the eyes. With a sprinkle of creativity, we can make it the prettiest thing to ogle. Use beautiful edible flowers, insert greens from herbs, add colors from fruits and veggies, crunchy texture from nuts. Dress it up however you like, and it will be the talk of the town.

I can hear your brain screaming. Rice paper sheets.... no way! I am not even going near it cause it looks too fiddly to work with. I was the same until I gave it a go. It is actually pretty easy to handle, provided you have all the right information on how to manage it. That's where my post and recipe will come in handy. Continue reading to pick up all the little details that will make your roll making skill a walk in the park.

Skip to recipe Rice Paper Roll Recipe or continue reading for tips and stages of making the recipe.

Ingredients for Rice Paper Roll

All you need is a few ingredients easily found in every (Q)Kitchen and some special ones that are easily available in the market.

Ingredients that require cooking or marination...

Rice vermicelli, Rice paper sheets, and marinated tofu (Japanese style/honey soy/your own homemade marinate)

Filling Ingredients...

Carrot julienne, cooked rice vermicelli, cucumber julienne, marinated tofu (Japanese style/honey soy) cut into long strips, mint leaves, coriander leaves, black and white mixed sesame seeds, coarsely chopped peanuts, and hoisin sauce.

Stages of making - 3 easy to follow steps

1. Preparing Rice vermicelli

Place vermicelli in a large heat-proof bowl and pour over boiling water until vermicelli is completely submerged. Let it sit for 5 minutes (or as instructed on the package). Do not place it on heat and boil, or it will go mushy. Notice the rice vermicelli fluff up, turn white, tender, and springy. This is an indication that it is, done.

Time to drain vermicelli and let it sit to cool before using it for the rolls.

2. Setup workbench to make rice paper rolls

This is essential as the assembling and rolling of the roll need to be quick to prevent the rice sheet from sticking to the base and tearing.

  • Spread a damp tea towel on the kitchen counter. Note, the towel should be damp and not dripping wet. Wring any excess water out.

  • Pour lukewarm water into a shallow dish that is wider than the dried rice paper sheet and place it next to the damp tea towel along with rice paper sheets in a separate plate.

  • Prepare and collect all the filling ingredients (veggies, herbs, nuts, tofu, sesame seeds, Hoisin sauce, and drained rice vermicelli) in a large plate as separate piles, ready to be used when rolling rice paper rolls.

3. Rolling rice paper rolls

It is important to work with one rice sheet at a time.

Soaking rice paper sheet Dip one rice paper sheet into a shallow dish filled with water and count to 3 (tik tik 1...tik tik 2...., tik tik 3). Do not over soak the rice paper sheet or else it will be difficult to handle. Lift the rice paper roll, and place it on the damp tea towel. Note the rice paper sheet will still be stiff but slightly pliable. Don't worry, the sheet will eventually soften as you progress with filling assembly.

Place fillings on the rice paper sheet Spread Hoisin sauce on rice paper sheet in a rectangular shape of 10cm width leaving 10cm from both sides and 10cm from the bottom of the rice paper sheet as shown in the photo below. Doing so will give an idea of the placement of the rest of the filling ingredients on the rice paper sheet and help in making all rolls the same size. Place a few juliennes of carrot on top of the Hoisin sauce. Followed with a few juliennes of cucumber. Place one or two strips of tofu alongside carrots and cucumber. Top carrot and cucumber juliennes with a small pile of rice vermicelli. Place sprigs of coriander alongside vermicelli (not of the top) cause we want to see white background when rolling over the mint leaf. Do not overfill or you could risk tearing the rice paper. Sprinkle some crushed peanuts over vermicelli. This will add crunchy to the rolls. Skip peanuts if making nut-free rolls. Place one or two mint leaf (depending on the size), parallel to filling, shiny side down on the rice paper roll on the top end of the sheet leaving 5 cm as shown in the photo below. Sprinkle mixed sesame seeds on and around the mint leaf. Apart from giving an interesting speckled look to the roll it also imparts a subtle nutty flavour.

Folding and rolling of rice paper sheet Here comes the crucial part where most of us are anxious. It is time to overcome our fears. Simply follow my easy to follow instructions and you will conquer rolling success.

  • Gently but firmly using both of your hands, lift the left-hand side paper sheet and fold it over the filling, creasing along the left side as shown in the photo below.

  • Repeat this folding pattern with the right-hand side of the paper sheet.

  • Now lift and fold the bottom of the paper sheet over the filling and the folded sides (see the photo 5 below).

  • Place your fingers in front of the filling and gently pull the filling towards you while rolling the roll upward using your thumb over the filling as shown in the 6th photo of the how-to roll rice paper rolls image. Make sure to roll tightly with no air bubbles but do not apply too much pressure or else the roll will burst.

  • continue rolling the roll upwards over the mint leaf and sesame seeds.

  • Finally, roll over the end of the rice paper sheet to seal the roll.

Continue rolling the rest of the rolls and serve with sweet chili sauce.

They are not gonna last long so better speed up on rolling to keep the platter full.

How to roll rice paper rolls infographic (below):

Thanks to my younger daughter for making this easy to understand infographic. Refer to this image alongside my recipe instructions.

Dipping Sauce options?

I personally like sweet chili sauce with rice paper rolls. You can also serve these with peanut sauce, honey soy sauce, or diluted hoisin sauce (add water to dilute).

Filling options?

You can go wild with filling or keep it simple according to your taste. Other options for filling can be shredded purple cabbage to give a pop of colour, marinated paneer instead of tofu, chilies to turn up the heat, Sauerkraut to add tangy punch, other nuts like cashews, almonds, veggies like capsicum juliennes, avocado, alfalfa, bean sprouts, herbs like chives, spring onions. The choice of filling is limitless. Just make sure there are enough fresh veggie or herb along with cooked ingredients. Experiment and have fun. A wacky one from me, try adding spiced potato wedges into the roll. When I make this, I will be first to post the recipe and photo for you all.

Fun decorative options?

This is my kinda fun. I love trying out new ways to present the same food or add some creative twist.

Instead of mint leaves, try placing edible flowers like pansies, marigold petals, rose petals, lavender, or herbs like thyme, basil, micro leaves to give colourful look to the roll. Another playful way to add colour and interest is by placing circular slices of fruits or veggies that have a contrasting colour rim or centre like kiwi, strawberries, cucumber, radish, red chilli.

My family was having fun the other day using flowers from my garden. Look how pretty these rolls look.

Can it be made ahead of time?

Many would say, you can make it a day ahead but from my experience, I found these taste a little off after a day. So, if you want to prepare it for a party then at the max you can make it 5 hours in advance. But make sure to place the rolls separated from each other on a clean damp tea towel and cover it with a damp tea towel to keep it fresh and prevent it from sticking to each other and to the plate or drying out. If the weather is hot then place the tray in the fridge (yes, with the damp towel and all).

What special dietary needs does this recipe cater to?

This is the ideal recipe that covers a wide range of dietary requirements. It is perfect for Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, Nut-free (do not add peanuts in the roll), and Lactose-free diets.

Perfect for weight watchers and with other dietary goals.

Final result

Aesthetic to eyes and revitalising to taste. Make sure to have a fun time when making them.

Excellent candidate for a lunch party, or finger food nibbles. Add mini rolls in a high tea menu or serve as canapes.

What are you waiting for?

Soak those rice paper sheets and start rolling. Doesn't matter if they turn out odd-shaped, it still tastes sensational. Keep practicing and most importantly don't forget to have fun with other ingredients.

Recipe link below


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