Since you can use it in making dumplings, spring rolls, and wraps (and other surprising recipes), rice paper is one of the most versatile food items out there. But have you ever tried tasting it on its own? If not, you might be wondering, what does rice paper taste like?
On its own, it has a mild starchy flavor. To be honest, its taste is pretty bland. That must be why you can now find rice paper in all types of flavors—chili, vegetables, and many more.
So simply put, the taste of rice paper will depend on the paper’s flavor and quality. To help you buy the best quality rice papers, we’ve shared a few buying tips below, so keep on reading!
What Does Rice Paper Taste Like?
Regardless of the flavor, all rice paper has one similar flavor—mildly starchy, slightly sweet, and a bit nutty. But before you get turned off, the starchy flavor is just subtle and not dominant.
The taste and texture also vary depending on how you prepare it. Grilling gives it a smoky flavor while baking and frying it brings out its saltiness and crispy texture.
Additionally, its flavor may also change depending on what other types of ingredients you add to it. For example, seasonings can bring out a better flavor and make it extra crispier.
What is Rice Paper?
To put it simply, rice paper is rice that has been processed into thin sheets of paper. This type of ingredient is used in making dumplings, wraps, and spring rolls (there are a few other surprising recipes too that we’ll share in the next section, so stay tuned).
Vietnam is the leading manufacturer of rice paper, but you can find different versions of it from various Asian countries. Some have herbs and vegetables while others contain spices and fruits, and this can certainly change the paper’s flavor and taste.
How is Rice Paper Made?
The first step to making it is to grind your rice of choice into a fine powder. Afterward, it’s moistened to create a slurry.
To make the paper more flexible and transparent, tapioca starch is sometimes added to the slurry. At this point, the seasonings, herbs, and other flavorings will also be added along with the vanilla bean paste.
The slurry is then transformed into rice paper using a variety of methods. The most common one is through an inverted cast-iron circular griddle.
Once the slurry has been turned into a sheet, it’s then baked to give it its crispy texture.
Is Rice Paper Healthy?
It’s used in making snacks and dishes that are generally considered nutritious, but is it healthy on its own?
Well, the sheet is low in calories, carbohydrates, and fats. It also offers moderate amounts of protein.
Because of this, it’s a more beneficial alternative to rice or bread if you want to lose weight. However, it’s not the best source of other macronutrients and micronutrients that our bodies need to function, so it’s recommended that you choose the ingredients that you’ll add to it wisely.
What’s the Nutritional Content of Rice Paper?
Typically, here are the nutrients you’ll get in one medium rice paper (14g):
- Energy: 47 Kcal
- Total Fat: 0.2g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Sodium: 0.1mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 10g
- Dietary Fiber: 0.3g
- Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 0.8g
- Potassium: 9.7 mg
Reminder: Please keep in mind that the nutritional content may vary depending on the brand, so make sure to check the package first.
How to Use Rice Paper?
So how do you use it? How can you turn this thin and crispy sheet into a chewy and gelatinous wrapper?
To help you learn how to prepare your rice rolls and bring out the roll’s natural flavor, here are some of the things to keep in mind when using this ingredient:
How to Prepare
The first step to using rice paper is to soften it. To make it pliable, all you need to do is to soak the sheet in cold water for just a few seconds. Avoid soaking it for more than a minute if you don’t want to end up with a soggy sheet.
Pro Tip: If you want a crispy version, you can also fry it in a skillet over the stovetop. Just add a small amount of oil and cook it until it turns crispy and golden
How to Roll
Once your rice paper has already softened, the next step is to roll it.
The first thing you need to do is to find a hard and dry surface to roll it on. You must wipe off that area after rolling one sheet to prevent the rice paper from becoming too wet.
You can also use a rice water tray. It’s like a plate made out of plastic, but it has little holes all over to allow the excess water to drain properly. (*)
Put the filling at the lower third of the sheet, right in the middle. After that, let’s get rolling!
Start by gently folding the sides then slowly tightening them as you get to the middle. Then fold the bottom seams upward.
Tuck the filling tight in the rice paper using your fingers then proceed on rolling it all the way up.
When putting the rolls in the steamer or the cooking pan, make sure that the closing seam is at the bottom to prevent the contents from unraveling.
What Dishes to make with Rice Paper?
You can use it in making any of the following dishes:
- Sweet and savory spring rolls,
- Salad wraps,
- And Meaty wraps.
It can also be used as an alternative to egg roll wrappers and wheat-based wraps.
What are the Other Uses for Rice Paper?
Aside from the abovementioned uses, here are other exciting things you can make with rice paper: (*)
- Pizza crust,
- Bacon or Vegan Rinds,
- Dumpling wrappers,
- and ramen noodles.
How to buy rice paper?
Here are some of the things that you need to consider when looking for rice paper that will suit your needs:
This would depend on the type of dish that you’re planning to make. If you want to use it for making dumplings, you can go for the smaller ones. On the other hand, you can use larger sheets in making longer and fatter rolls.
The most common size is 8 ½ inches which is the easiest to roll and experiment with.
When it comes to shape, the circle is the most popular option and it’s the best choice for making spring rolls and wraps.
But if you want to use it as an alternative for egg roll wrappers, you should go for the square ones.
You can find three different types—all-rice, all-tapioca, and rice and tapioca.
All-rice types are opaque and thicker. On the other hand, all-tapioca types are too see-through and thin.
When looking for rice paper, opt for ones that are made with a combination of tapioca starch and rice.
This type is softer and more translucent. It also softens faster and rolls easier.
Red Rose Brand
The Red Rose brand is a symbol of quality for this product, so it’s recommended that you look for this symbol when buying one.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What does rice paper taste like? Mainly, it’s starchy, but it also has hints of sweetness and nuttiness to it.
If you want a more flavorful wrap, you should go for ones that contain seasonings, spices, herbs, vegetables, and fruits. But of course, you’d need to keep the recipe and the dish you plan to make in mind.
What Does Rice Paper Taste Like? Does It Taste Good?
- Rice Paper
- Drying Rack
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