In this article, we answer the following question: How do you eat rice paper? We proceed to explain the use of rice papers in the kitchen, how to store them, and what are their nutritional benefits. Finally, we give you a great rice paper recipe.
How do you eat rice paper?
You can eat rice paper with vegetables but also with shrimp, chicken, or minced meat, for example. Rice paper is an essential ingredient for the preparation of certain Asian specialties such as spring rolls.
Rice leaves are an essential ingredient in Asian cuisine, especially in Vietnamese cuisine, called “bánh tráng.” They take different forms depending on the country in which they are used but often appear as large, very thin, and translucent discs. Rice sheets are prepared from rice flour diluted in water and salt. They undergo a first steam cooking then are dried and optionally grilled on charcoal.
The raw material used to produce rice paper is rice flour, which contains not less than 27% amylose. Generally, rice is soaked in water for 12 hrs before wet-milling into flour and fermenting for 3 days. During this fermentation period, the clear upper phase of water is changed every day. The resulting slurry is mixed with salt steamed on a cloth, dried in sunlight and then held for 3 hrs at ambient temperature. The characteristics of good rice paper are slim, transparent white, with high elasticity (1).
Rice is composed of 27% of the global diet and 20% of dietary protein intake in low and middle-income countries. A diverse production system and consumption patterns have been observed for this important food commodity in the world. About 89% of the world’s rice is produced in Asia, with China and India leading the way accounting for 55% of the production (3).
How to cook the rice paper?
Rice leaves must be rehydrated. Place them one by one in a bowl filled with lukewarm water for 30 sec. Once garnished, they can be eaten raw (like a spring roll) or fried (like making spring rolls). For a less fatty result, the idea is to cook them in the oven, with a drizzle of oil.
Although they appear fragile, rice paper is very easy to use. Whatever recipes are considered, the rice sheets should be rehydrated in lukewarm or cold water before being dried 30 sec to 1 min on a clean cloth.
The soft leaves can then be garnished to prepare delicious spring rolls, spring rolls, or maki, for example. They can also be used to make delicious samosas or Spring Rolls.
This ingredient goes perfectly with shrimp, chicken, ground meat, soy sprouts, and vermicelli, as well as avocado.
The health and nutritional benefits of rice paper
Brown Rrice isleaves are an excellent source of energy thanks to the presence of complex carbohydrates. They are also rich in fiber, minerals – potassium and phosphorus in particular – as well as vitamin B (4).
Among the cereal products, the rice leaves have the particularity of not containing gluten, this famous protein to which some of the population are intolerant. Celiac disease or gluten-related disorders including, wheat allergy and non-celiac gluten sensitivity cause major health problems for people when ingesting small amounts of gluten (4).
However, rice paper is nutritionally poor since it is made mainly from white rice, which contains mostly starch. Brown rice is obtained by removing the hull, leaving the inner bran and germ layers intact. The rice is then polished further to remove the bran and germ layers and produce white rice. The white rice is often preferred by consumers for its sensory properties and stability during storage. However, white rice is greatly deprived of the B vitamins, dietary fiber, magnesium, trace elements, and phytochemicals that are present in the brown rice (2).
How to store the rice paper?
Rice leaves can be stored in their original packaging at room temperature, protected from light and moisture. Once opened, the bag can be closed using small pliers, for example, and stored in the same place. It is also possible to transfer the rice leaves in an airtight metal box placed in a dry place (5).
Other FAQs about Rice which you may be interested in.
Rice paper recipe: Vietnamese spring rolls
Ingredients for six persons:
- 500 g chopped pork shoulder
- 300 g of rice vermicelli
- 30 medium-sized rice cakes
- Six carrots
- Two onions
- Four cloves of garlic
- 4 cl of nuoc mam (fish brine)
Preparation: 30 min
Cooking: 15 min
- Grate the carrots, slice the onions and garlic, and mix them with the pork and the nuoc mam sauce (do not add salt because the nuoc mam sauce is already very salty and pepper, however, if you desire it). Soak the vermicelli for about ten minutes in cold water until they are completely soft. Then, drain them and cut them finely. Add them to the stuffing. Mix the ingredients well to have a very homogeneous filling.
- Dip the rice cakes one by one in lukewarm water to soften them. Be careful, the soaking of these last only a few seconds. Then spread them out on a damp cloth that you will have placed flat on the worktop.
- Put the equivalent of 1 tsp. of your mixture on the edge of each rice cake. Then roll the pancake to obtain a cylinder, take care to compress the stuffing, and avoid any air in the nem (otherwise, it would burst during cooking). Stop in the middle of the pancake, fold up the sides, and prevent the stuffing from escaping during cooking. Then continue your momentum to the opposite edge.
- Once the spring rolls are rolled, fry them in a deep fryer or a sauté pan with oil. First, take the first bath for 5 minutes to harden them and make them crisp. Take them out. Then proceed to the second bath for 5 to 10 minutes to brown them and finish cooking them.
- Serve with salad leaves and mint leaves. You will wrap around your spring rolls to dip them in nuoc mam sauce or soy sauce and enjoy them. You can also serve your spring rolls with rice for a complete dish.
Tips: This recipe is the basic recipe for Vietnamese spring rolls. But you can obviously decorate it, enrich it, refine it according to your tastes! Soy, black mushrooms, bamboo shoots … The good news is that anything is possible!
In this article, we answered the following question: How do you eat rice paper? We proceeded to explain the use of rice papers in the kitchen, how to store them, and what are their nutritional benefits. Finally, we gave you an excellent rice paper recipe.
We remind you that you can eat rice paper with vegetables but also with shrimp, chicken, or minced meat, for example. Rice paper is an essential ingredient for the preparation of certain Asian specialties such as spring rolls.
If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!
- Phattra, Bussaya, and Metinee Maweang. Effects of natural fermentation on the rice slurry properties related to rice paper production. J Food Sci Agric Technol, 2015, 1, 22-25.
- Cameron, Shana J., and Farah Hosseinian. Potential of flaxseed in the development of omega-3 rice paper with antioxidant activity. LWT-Food Sci Technol, 2013, 53, 170-175.
- Ali, Nurshad. Aflatoxins in rice: Worldwide occurrence and public health perspectives. Toxicol rep, 2019, 6, 1188-1197.
- Culetu, A., et al. Nutritional and Functional Properties of Gluten-Free Flours. Appl. Sci, 2021, 11, 6283.
- Washburn, C. 7 Factors that prolong your food storage supply. Utah State University. 2015.