I love Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls. Not only because they’re light, healthy and delicious, but also I can eat them with my hands and still be lady (not that I am one, but it’s nice to pretend). I love the sensation of the rice roll sticking to the skin of my fingers as I hold the roll, and the balancing act of trying to get enough sauce, but not so much that it would drip every which way, and the explosion of taste in my mouth right after taking the first bite. They’re very sexy.
I remember when I was little and growing up in Jakarta, my mum would feed me with her hands. And so did my grandma, my auntie, my housekeeper, or whoever was like feeding me at the time. Sometimes they use spoon, but most times hands. Never forks. And it was always the right hands. And no, you were not allowed to be left-handed back then.
For me, there’s something primal and nostalgic about eating with your bare hands. Once you get over the fright of getting your hands dirty (what’s with that, anyway, after all, we touch everything else with our hands) and embrace your inner child, it’s quite exciting and liberating. I always feel more connected with my food when I eat with my hands as I can feel it before I taste it.
Tips For Making Rice Paper Roll
Making good, tight rice paper rolls can be daunting if you’re new at it but it doesn’t have to be an ordeal. You just need a bit of practice.
- Don’t soak the paper for too long. You want the wrapper to be still slightly firm. If it’s soft when you take it out, it will be too soft.
- Don’t over fill. The key is to making a nice, tight roll, is to avoid overfilling your wrapper. Use half the quantity of fillings you think you’ll need and start from there.
These Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls are very simple to make. There’s a lot of preparation involved, but minimal cooking. It also makes a great meal prep for lunches. It’s delicious, light, satisfying and perfect for the warmer months such as now (at least in Australia). You can also experiment with other noodles such as soba noodles, use tempe instead of tofu, coriander instead of mint, whatever your creativity takes you. You can even make a sweet version with fruits and yogurt. Check out this tutorial video I made which will hopefully inspire you to start rolling.
Vietnamese Summer Rice Paper Rolls With Tofu and veggies
Rice Paper Rolls
- 100g vermicelli (or you could use soba noodles)
- 1 large cucumber, julienned
- 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
- Baby Cos lettuce, shredded
- 250g extra firm tofu (I use Simply Better Foods Organic Tofu
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- 2 tbsp refined coconut oil
- Sea salt
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, or lime juice
- 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp warm water, or more as needed
- Pat dry tofu block of any excess water with paper towel. Cut into 1 cm strips. Pat dry again. Rub each strips with a pinch of sea salt. Let sit while you prepare the noodles.
- Place rice noodles in boiling hot water and cover for about 10 minutes (read instructions on the package). Drain and set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan over medium-high heat and then add the marinated tofu. Cook for several minute each side or until tofu is cooked. Set aside.
- Prepare the dipping sauce. Mix everything together in a bowl until smooth. Add extra warm water or until you reach desired thinness.
- Prepare the rice paper wrappers. Pour hot water into a large bowl or a baking pan. Dip the rice paper wrapper into the water one at a time and immerse for about 15 seconds. You want the wrapper to be still slightly firm (if it’s soft when you take it out, it will be too soft).
- Add the fillings. Place a few sticks of veggies on top of the bottom end of the rice paper. Add a small amount of rice noodles, mint and then lay tofu on top. Remember not to overfill the wrapper. If it doesn’t look enough, then it is probably enough. Start with a small amount and increase it as needed, as you roll each one.
- Roll them: Pull up the bottom of the roll and roll over the filling. Fold the the sides of the rice paper roll and roll tightly. Place on a serving plate and serve with peanut sauce.
Storage tip: Wrap the rolls individually in plastic wrap and store up to 2-3 days in the fridge.