How to Make Rice Paper Rolls

In the last post of my food waste series, I want to share my newfound love for rice paper rolls. Rice paper rolls are the easiest way to transform the odds and ends in your fridge into one delicious and nutritious meal. Not only do they help reduce food waste, they are quick and ridiculously easy to make.  Here is how I make rice paper rolls:

(Psst: the pickled vegetables from last week’s post pair well with these rolls, learn how to make them here!)

You Will Need:
  • Rice Paper 
  • Any vegetable of your choice, chopped – I used lettuce, shredded carrots, shredded beets, cucumbers, and pickled daikon.
  • Optional: cooked shrimp, cooked vermicelli or rice noodles, cilantro… honestly, whatever else you like! 
How to Make Rice Paper Rolls:
  1. Prepare all the ingredients you will be including in your roll. Julienne (or use a food processor to shred up carrots and/or beets if you’re lazy like me), cook the (optional) vermicelli/rice noodles and protein, let cool and set aside.
  2. For the rice paper: Prepare a large bowl of room temperature water for the rice paper rolls. Ensure the bowl’s diameter is large enough to accommodate the entire rice paper sheet. Take one rice paper sheet and fully immerse the sheet in the bowl of water for about 20 seconds then transfer to a clean kitchen towel. The rice paper should be pliable at this point but not fully translucent and “done”. This is fine as the paper will continue to soften as time goes on.
  3. Wrapping to rice paper roll:  Place your filling at the bottom of the rice paper sheet, ensuring that things like lettuce are on the bottom to protect the delicate rice paper from tearing. Bring the bottom edge of the rice paper over the filling and tightly roll while folding in the sides (think of rolling a sushi roll or a burrito). Try to compact the filling and roll as tightly as possible.
Rice Paper Tips!

My first roll sucked! But with practice, you will get the hang of it! To avoid overly softened and easily torn rice paper sheets, immerse the rice paper sheet for a shorter period of time and let it sit on a clean kitchen towel. You will see that the paper will soften on its own with time.

If you have trouble with the rice paper tearing, some websites I have read suggest using two rice paper sheets at a time but the roll ends up being chewier with the thicker exterior. Play around with it to see that suits your taste!

That’s all there is to it! Pair this with a dipping sauce of your choice – I have made a peanut dipping sauce which pairs beautifully with the rice paper roll. Here is my super easy (albeit not authentically Thai or Vietnamese) peanut dipping sauce!

Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 to 2 tsp. curry paste (I used Mai Ploy Yellow Curry Paste).
  • Soy sauce to taste, if needed
  • Liquid sweetener (such as maple syrup) to taste, if needed 
  • Water to thin out, as needed
Have you tried rice paper rolls before? Let me know what combinations you like in your rolls!

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