Rice Paper Success

by HEAB on May 15, 2010

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After my yummy spring roll experience at Whole Foods last week, I seem to crave them all the time now. Yesterday, I stopped by Pei Wei and picked up two orders of their Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls to share with my mom for lunch.

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After stuffing my face, I decided right then and there that I must replicate these at home as a daily trip to Pei Wei is not in my budget!

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I’d been eyeing Maggie’s spring rolls for a while, and then last week, Katie sent me her beloved recipe. Although the recipe seemed a bit complicated, Katie promised me it wasn’t, and I decided it would make a fun weekend project. So, this morning I stopped by Whole Foods for some rice paper (I found it in the Asian condiment section next to the seaweed and soba noodles).

When I got back home, I julienned half a zucchini, and placed the zucchini strips in a large Ziplock bag with a handful of shredded carrots, red bell pepper strips, 1 chopped green onion, and 1 thinly sliced cooked chicken breast. I then added Katie’s special marinade, but you’ll have to contact her for the ingredients as I don’t feel like it’s mine to share. I coated the veggie/chicken mix with the marinade and stuck it in the fridge while I showered and folded a load of laundry.

OK, so you must email Katie for this recipe as the veggies and chicken tasted so good that I thought I might eat the entire bowl before getting any of it into my rice paper wraps. :)

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I followed Katie’s instructions and soaked each sheet of rice paper in hot water for 30 seconds before loading them up with the veggies, chicken, fresh cilantro, fresh mint, and a few chopped peanuts. Instead of making my own sauce, I purchased some of this sauce for dipping as I still can’t handle making anything with peanut butter quite yet. Don’t ask me why I can eat peanut sauce as well as peanuts, but not peanut butter. I know, weird.

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I need to work on my wrapping technique as my rolls kept falling apart on me while eating them, but besides that, these were so good. I never would have thought to combine cilantro and mint, but it’s an amazing combo. Try it!

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I’m so excited that I can now satisfy my spring roll craving at home, and I can’t get over how easy these were to make!

What about you? Ever experimented with rice paper? It’s so easy to use – just soak and go. Since I have a lot of rice paper sheets leftover, I would love to know your favorite use for them.

{ 56 comments }

Amber at Berlinswhimsy May 15, 2010 at 12:37 pm

YUM, those look wonderful! I have actually had them on my to-make list all week long. I have a lot of different recipes for them (Thai version, etc) but these do look pretty yummy. I am always a little leery of working with rice paper for some reason!

Justine May 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I worked with a caterer a few times and spring rolls were one of her biggest requests. They were really tasty. She served them with a spicy sweet chili sauce from a bottle that was to die for. Sometimes she would add shrimp, rice noodles, peanuts, and she would almost always mix up the vegetables that she used. I liked this post- those were fond memories. :)
Enjoy a ricepaper filled weekend Miss Heather.

Zeus' Mom May 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Heather, Those look AMAZING. I’ve got to try this! I’m also obsessed with spring rolls. I’ve never experimented with rice paper but I’ve heard that it’s hard to make the rolls as tight as you can get them in restaurants. I guess it just takes practice…. yummy practice. -ZM

Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) May 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I have actually never made them before, but I love them and I should! I am on it! Now I am craving them!!! I think you must have a texture issue with nut butter if you are ok with the flavor…pregnancy is fun, huh? I hope you have a great weekend!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) May 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I love Katie, she’s the best! I love her recipes but most of all, she is an amazing person and friend!

That said, I have been on a 2 month long quest for rice paper wrappers here in Phoenix. WFs does not sell them. Nor does the regular groc store nor TJs. It’s asian market or order online and I havent done either…but in San Diego I used to make them all the time, just roll ‘n go! And with peanut sauce they are great or really any sauce…and yes, they are a fraction! of the price if you were to buy them premade. Plus, sometimes the pre-made ones get a little slimy after sitting around in plastic containers. Lovely, I know.

Have a great day, Heather!

Jen May 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I love this recipe, for Vietnamese Shrimp Rolls, from Tyler Florence:
http://www.tylerflorence.com/?p=430

If I’m doing a party, I’ll toss a little dipping sauce (it’s liquid in texture versus creamy) in with the shrimp and veggies, as dipping can get a little yucky with all those hands… :)

As for the rolling, I always put a dish towel down and then lay out the soaked rice paper on that…it seems to take out that extra moisture that can make pulling the rice paper taut sort of difficult. Then…fold up a flap from the bottom, fold over both sides, and roll!

I LOVE the combination of cilantro and mint!!! YUM!!!

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 15, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Thanks for the tips and recipe Jen!

Tracy May 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm

How did you like the sauce? I love ginger and peanut!

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Tracy – I wanted to drink it! Excellent. Bought it at Whole Foods as well. :)

thedelicateplace May 15, 2010 at 1:31 pm

i used to eat these for lunch all the time. i found that if i used 2 sheets and softened them by dipping them in a bowl of warm water for 10 seconds they were easier/sturdier to work with . i stuffed mine with shrimp, cuke, rice noodle (vermicelli?) & cilantro/mint (a vietnamese place i loved to eat at a couple years ago go me hooked on that herb combo!

Carolyn May 15, 2010 at 2:05 pm

…i love those things!! I have gotten the California Pizza Kitchen version but not the WFd’s… yet…You look like you did REALLY good at the chopping, mixing and constructing….lovely..

…so, come make them for me ok? ;-)

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 15, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Carolyn, OK, but only if you promise to stock the diet A & W. ;)

Heather May 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm

I love gettin’ creative with the edible saran wrap, uh, i mean rice paper!
You could try sliced fruit, too-mango, kiwi, banana, strawberries. Then, for a dipping sauce use melted pb, or carmel, or agave, or even yogurt!
Looks like you’re doing well! You glow :D
congrats again!

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 15, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Heather, Fruit roll-ups – what a great idea. Thanks!

julie May 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm

oh my god!!! i had spring rolls the other night at wf for my first time and LOVED them :) then i was thinking about spring rolling it this weekend as a project too! i’m for sure going to give them a try as soon as i’m not up to my elbows in school work haha

gotta email katie for sure! thanks girl :)

VeggieGirl May 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Rice paper to me is like phyllo dough – INTIMIDATING!! Haha ;)

Kati May 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm

1. I think the peanut sauce label is adorable.
2. I just got this recipe in my email and haven’t gotten a chance to try it yet, but maybe you’d like it.
http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/10981?utm_source=DFVegan&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=dfv178
Have a good day!
-Kati

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 15, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Thanks for the recipe Katie. Sounds great – I’d love to try it with peaches!

Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) May 15, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Mmm, those look fabulous! I love spring rolls, but have never used rice paper myself! I think I need to, though, if they’re that easy!!

xo
K

eatmovelove May 15, 2010 at 2:31 pm

What do rice paper rolls even taste like? Do they have any nutritional value?…they just seem like thin little wisps…;)

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 15, 2010 at 3:04 pm

eatmovelove, The rice paper really doesn’t taste like much, but it makes a great wrap in my opinion. You can read the nutritional stats here: http://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/generic/rice-paper

Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) May 15, 2010 at 2:39 pm

never tried! can’t get rice paper where i am at, but i just recently came across seaweed for the first time so i am still working on my sushi :)

Erica May 15, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Those look restaurant quality! And that sauce looks yummy (and how adorable are the characters on the front). Again, another glowing picture :)

Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) May 15, 2010 at 3:18 pm

You have me so curious about spring rolls now!! Those look so fresh and tasty. :D

Jenn

Amanda May 15, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Yum! My boyfriend and I loooove rice paper rolls and have started making our own, too. We have found that the best way to have them hold their shape/stay together is to use some romaine lettuce. Use the “rib” of the romaine as your base, and then add everything else. The romaine keeps it really sturdy. We usually add green onion, cucumber, bean sprouts, cilantro, basil, mint and their either pork, shrimp or tofu.

Krystina May 15, 2010 at 3:35 pm

I’ve always wanted to try fresh spring rolls, the fried ones are far too heavy. Yours look delicious! I plan on trying my hand at making some soon.

Mama Pea May 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm

I am so freakin’ bad at rolling those rice papers. My salad rolls end up looking like big soggy lumpy pillows of veggies. I’m willing to try again, though. I’m definitely going to try Katie’s marinade, thanks for the link! And your little crosslegged pic is so cute…I wore grey sweats and a college T-shirt my entire pregnancy with Gigi. And yes…every comment from now on is going to contain some reference to my pregnancy, because I like to make everything about me. :)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!!

homecookedem May 15, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Those look really good!! I’m really impressed with your “wrapping” technique! ;) I can assure you mine would NOT look that good!!!!!

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend!! :)

Katie May 15, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Great job on the spring rolls!! I love the chicken addition too. I have that same sauce and loved it, but anything ginger is great in my book.

So, here is another recipe for spring rolls that has been on my to-make list forever. http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/10505?section=

I’m not very good at wrapping them either. I think the restaurant people use magic.

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 15, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Thanks for sharing your recipe with me Katie – these were so good, and thanks for the link as well. Those sound so good and look so pretty. :)

idreamoftahini May 15, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Thanks for reminding me how good homemade spring rolls are. I haven’t had them in a while, and I’m right there with you on the rolling, mine fall apart too!!

Daniel May 15, 2010 at 6:06 pm

I’ve seen spring rolls in a few blogs now and I’ve yet to try them. When I get back from Greece and I’m finally home for the summer and not in the dorms I think I’ll go hunting for the rice paper! What exactly is it made out of… just rice? And do you know, if that’s the case, if you can get brown rice paper?

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 15, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Daniel, The rice paper I bought contains rice flour, tapioca starch, water, and salt. It’s the only kind my Whole Foods sold. I googled “brown rice” paper but didn’t have much luck.

Lauren @ Eater not a runner May 15, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I’ve made spring rolls like that before, and you’re right. They are SO easy!

Jessica @ How Sweet May 15, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I have been dying to try spring rolls at home but haven’t found rice paper yet. Those look amazing!

MOrgan May 15, 2010 at 7:09 pm

I love spring rolls with rice paper! They are one of my very favorite things!! I haven’t ever tried that brand of sauce but it looks GOOD!

jenny (green food diaries) May 15, 2010 at 7:20 pm

mmm, i love The Ginger People products!! your rolls look really appetizing, HEABs. so colourful !

Maggie May 15, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Awesome! Yum yum! Yes, rice paper can be intimidating at first but then it’s fun :) Glad you liked them!

Pure2Raw Twins May 15, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Rice paper is one ingredient that we have not played around with yet! But seeing this makes me want too :)

fitandfortysomething May 15, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Oh my those look delicious !

Kellie May 15, 2010 at 10:10 pm

I miss being pregnant just for the fact that food tasted so good then (when your not sick). I just remember craving certain foods and when I ate them I could not get enough. Just wait until 2nd trimester. So much fun!

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 16, 2010 at 7:10 am

Kellie, Yes, the foods I do crave taste so amazing…everyday I find myself saying to Chris, “This is the best (insert food here) I’ve ever eaten!” :)

caronae May 16, 2010 at 6:35 am

I’ve never done spring rolls or wontons or anything like that! I love rice paper rolls so I might have to try some. I have seen Caitlin do sweet wontons filled with banana and cinnamon and sugar which sounds so yummy. I don’t know if you could really do it with rice paper though.

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 16, 2010 at 7:11 am

Caronae, I don’t see why not. I just filled some rice paper with scrambled eggs, chicken strips, and cheese. The possibilities are endless! :)

Kate May 16, 2010 at 7:44 am

i love spring rolls when the weather is nice. there is a little hole in the vietmanese place near my house where you can two huge ones for $3.00 so i have never tried to make my own. i am now inspired! thanks!

Amanda May 16, 2010 at 8:36 am

I like just eating the rice wrapper stuffing all on it’s own. The mint really is the key ingredient. I usually do carrots, zucchini, mung bean sprouts, and cabbage then mix it with the peanut sauce, and mint… you get all the flavors without having to wrap them! Lazy man spring rolls haha

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 16, 2010 at 8:38 am

Amanda, This is the plan for lunch today. :)

Bekah May 16, 2010 at 10:05 am

I loove spring rolls Heather! So so good! I have never made them, only because each time I tried looking for them at WF, I could never find the rice paper! But once I get my hands on Katie’s recipe, and some spring roll wrappers, I will definitely have to try! I could EASILY do this in my dorm room!

Shelly May 16, 2010 at 11:25 am

I love Vietnamese food and at one point, I got my mom to try it. She loved the spring rolls and we decided to make some at home to share with my dad and grandmother. We were able to make them pretty easily and thought they tasted really good. My dad and grandmother were less than impressed. My grandmother asked “do you eat the outside?” and when I said “yes, it’s called rice paper” my dad mused that he’d “never eaten paper before…well, maybe in elementary school, but he was just showing off in class.”
Needless to say, they were not a hit. I still love them though!!

Ana May 16, 2010 at 11:52 am

Me and my son love spring rolls, it is so fun to eat and make!!
I also like to fill ours with veggies, usually julienne squash, carrots, bell peppers, basil, and I like to add a bit of creamy goat cheese with all the goodness, it is delicious when we bite the creamy cheese with the crunchy veggies. I love eating them with an orange juice dipping sauce, yum!
I will try the mint next, sounds really good too! Mint will certainly make them even more refreshing!
Ana

Ana May 16, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Ohh, forgot to say that sometimes we add mango slices with the veggies in our spring rolls, it is good too!
I love spring rolls, they are so delicious for a summer meal!
Ana

Kendall May 16, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Ooh, glad to see you’re experimenting with rice papers. I bought some a few weeks ago. Went to the mega asian market around here, to which I found like 5 kinds. A guy told me which kind he thought was best and gave me a tutorial on how to use them. And I haven’t yet! Besides always loving prepared spring rolls, I checked out Megan Telpner’s blog awhile back and was inspired by those ones she has at the top of her page. Kind of just like salad wrapped in rice paper, but hey as a salad-o-holic like me you have to mix it up at times, ie no fork! Well…I had a gross stomach flu yesterday and appetite is still waning but the looks of your spring rolls have me hungry which is a good sign so I might have to go dig those guys out!

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 16, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Kendall, Hope you feel better…I think some fresh spring rolls would help. :)

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen) May 16, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Double bag’m if you will. Seriously, wrap once with one layer, soak another wrapper and tighten it up with the second layer. Works like a charm!

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 16, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Great – thanks Meghan!

hayleycepeda May 16, 2010 at 6:55 pm

The problem with reading so many food blogs is that I immediately start craving everything I see pictures of. Lately I’ve been seeing lots of eggs so I find myself eating lots of eggs….then it’s sandwiches, and now I’d kill for some rice paper veggie roll wrap thingies!! I’m so impressed you made your own!!

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