Asian cuisine is known for wrapped foods like dumplings and gyoza which are made with different wrappers. In Vietnam’s case, they have spring rolls that are made from rice paper.
If you’re interested in making Vietnamese spring rolls at home, you might be wondering what rice paper is. I looked into it, and here’s what I found!
What Is Rice Paper?
Rice paper is an edible wrapper that originated in Vietnam. Typically, rice paper is made using rice flour, water, and salt, and rice paper is sold in thin sheets. To use rice paper, the rice paper needs to be soaked in water then wrapped around food. Additionally, some types of rice paper are edible while other variants aren’t.
In case you’re interested to learn more about the origins of rice paper and how rice paper is used in different dishes, keep reading!
What Is Rice Paper Used For?
Rice paper is used for wrapping finger foods and a wide array of ingredients that are designed to be consumed together.
Some of the most popular dishes that use rice paper are Vietnamese spring rolls, rice paper dumplings, and Vietnamese rice paper rolls.
However, rice paper rolls can also be used in different ways. Rice paper can be turned into face towel noodles, soup and salad topping, dessert tostada, and baked chips.
What Is Rice Paper Made Of?
Rice paper is made from tapioca flour, white rice flour, water, and salt. While rice paper can be made from other ingredients, tapioca and white rice flour are the most commonly used.
If you find rice paper that is made from the bark of mulberry trees, this rice paper is not edible and is meant to be used for calligraphy, paper screens, clothes, and origami.
What Is Rice Paper Rolls?
Rice paper rolls can be made with a variety of ingredients, but some of the staples are noodles, lettuce, shrimp, mint, and bean sprouts.
After combining these ingredients, they are wrapped in rice paper. Traditionally, rice paper rolls are served raw except for the meat, but some people prefer rice paper rolls to be fried.
Once done, rice paper rolls are served with Vietnamese Peanut Dipping Sauce.
What Is Rice Paper Called?
Rice paper is often referred to as a spring roll wrapper because rice paper is used to make traditional spring rolls.
Nonetheless, rice paper and spring roll wrappers are actually two different types of wrappers and are not interchangeable.
Additionally, rice paper can also be called Mulberry paper. However, this type of rice paper is not edible and is instead used for art.
What Are Rice Paper Sheets?
Rice paper is sold in packages made of a dozen or so rounded wrappers. When referring to individual wrappers, they are called rice paper sheets.
What Is Rice Paper Used For In Baking?
Rice paper is often used in baking to create complex-looking toppers. Currently, the most popular way to decorate cakes using rice paper is through rice paper sails.
How Do You Make Rice Paper?
To make rice paper, you have to combine rice flour, tapioca flour, or potato starch with cold water and salt. Stir the ingredients together until they have a glue-like consistency.
Afterward, pour the mixture onto a plate covered with plastic wrap then spread the mixture evenly to form a circle.
Finally, microwave the mixture for forty-five seconds. During this time, the moisture will leave the mixture and start to look similar to store-bought rice paper.
Let the rice paper cool and store the rice paper in a zip lock bag or airtight container for no longer than two days.
Is Rice Paper The Same As Mulberry Paper?
Edible rice paper is different from Mulberry paper. While Mulberry paper is technically still rice paper, Mulberry paper not edible.
Instead of being used to wrap food, Mulberry paper is used as cloth, window screen, and paper for arts and crafts.
Is Rice Paper The Same As Spring Roll Wrappers?
While rice paper and spring roll wrappers have many similarities, they are not the same.
Rice paper is significantly thinner than a spring roll wrapper, and it’s possible to see the ingredients of the rice paper rolls through the wet rice paper.
In contrast, spring roll wrappers have a denser surface. Even when wet, spring roll wrappers aren’t completely translucent.
Additionally, spring roll wrapper is typically fried whereas rice paper is usually consumed raw.
Is Rice Paper And Egg Roll Paper The Same?
Rice paper and egg roll paper is not the same. While rice paper originated in Vietnam, egg roll paper originated in China.
Moreover, rice paper is made from rice flour and tapioca flour. In contrast, egg roll paper is made from flour and eggs.
Since egg roll paper is thicker than rice paper, egg roll paper can hold together a larger amount of food without breaking.
What’s The Difference Between Rice Paper And Wonton Wrappers?
Just like egg roll paper, wonton wrappers originated in China and are made using egg, wheat flour, water, and salt. Furthermore, wonton wrappers can be fried, steamed, and boiled.
In comparison, rice paper is thinner, more fragile, and less versatile. While rice paper can be fried and baked, wonton wrappers often aren’t fragile because rice paper is prone to breaking.
Additionally, wonton wrappers come in sheets of squares while rice paper comes in sheets of circles.
How Strong Is Rice Paper?
Rice paper is durable enough to hold together an average amount of food. Nonetheless, rice paper isn’t as strong as other wrappers like wonton wrappers or egg roll wrappers.
Consequently, some rice paper dishes actually make use of two layers of rice paper to make sure that the ingredients won’t spill, especially if the rice paper is going to be fried.
Is Rice Paper Translucent?
When dry, rice paper sheets are not 100% translucent. Rice paper will only be completely translucent after you’ve soaked the rice paper in cool water for around fifteen seconds.
Check out our related articles if you want to learn why you wash rice, why your rice is sticky, and why your rice is crunchy.
Rice paper is a Vietnamese wrapping paper that is used to make Vietnamese spring rolls. Traditionally, rice paper is made from rice flour, tapioca flour, salt, and water.
While rice paper shares many similarities with other Asian food wrappers like dumpling wrappers, egg roll wrappers, and wonton wrappers, they are all distinct from one another.