Have you ever eaten rice paper? If not, you should probably give it a try. Rice paper is made of ground-soaked rice and tapioca starch used in traditional Chinese cooking to make spring rolls, dumplings, and wraps. So what does rice paper taste like? Well, it’s delicious! In this blog post, we will explore the different rice paper flavors and textures. We will also learn about how to use rice paper in recipes.
What Is Rice Paper?
Rice paper is thin, translucent, edible paper made from salt, water, and rice. However, sometimes manufacturers can add sweeteners, preservatives, and starchy tapioca flour to extend rice paper’s shelf life and improve its flavor. Rice paper does not contain sugar or fat, so it is a perfect choice for those on a diet. Rice paper is an inalienable ingredient in Asian cuisine. In China, rice paper is used to make spring rolls with vegetables, and in Japan to make hot rolls with seafood. Rice paper can be eaten hot and cold as well as fried, boiled, or raw.
Rice paper can be used to wrap any filling, be it vegetables, seafood, or chicken. Rice paper goes well with fruits and vegetables, as well as with healthy fats, for example, in avocados. Rice paper has a very fragile texture and can be torn easily. That is why rice paper should always be soaked in water for 15 seconds to make it elastic and easy to wrap. After soaking, place rice pepper on a paper towel or parchment to get rid of the excess water. Rice paper is a good substitute for wonton wrappers or dumpling skins. It can be boiled, steamed, baked, fried, and even grilled.
Rice Paper Taste Qualities
Now that we know what rice paper is and how it can be used in the kitchen, let’s dive into its flavor profile. Does rice paper taste like anything? What does rice paper taste like? By itself, rice paper tastes like plain boiled rice with starchy and slightly nutty notes. However, flavored rice paper can have a spicy taste (chili), sweet and caramel-like (banana, berries), sweet (beetroot), slightly bitter (spinach), or earthy and grassy taste (when herbs are added).
Since rice paper by itself has almost no flavor (unless it is flavored), it acquires the taste of its fillings. Rice paper is a very versatile product and can be used for making appetizers, main courses, as well as desserts. Rice paper goes well with many fillings, from tomatoes, cucumbers, and cabbage to bananas with Nutella or condensed milk. The most popular fillings for rice paper are:
- Avocado and lettuce
- Shrimp and cabbage
- Chicken and cabbage
- Shrimp and mango
- Beef and onion
- Chicken and carrot
- Vegetables with soy sauce
- Cucumber, tuna, and salmon
- Eggplant, tomato, and avocado
- Carrot, apple, and avocado
Rice paper is often used to make Nem (Vietnamese fried spring rolls). Nem usually includes minced pork, durum wheat pasta, mushrooms, greens, and carrots. Nem rolls are deep-fried and served hot, while traditional spring rolls usually have vegetable and seafood fillings and can be served cold without frying.
Rice paper dumplings are a popular appetizer in China. The fillings of the rice paper dumplings can be varied depending on the region. In northern China, the most common fillings include minced pork and cabbage. Other fillings include shredded carrots, mushrooms, and fried garlic or ginger slices. In southern China, the most common rice paper dumpling fillings are pork, cabbage, and fried garlic.
Rice paper uses are not limited to dumplings and spring rolls. If you enjoy the neutral rice flavor, you can eat rice paper instead of bread for breakfast. You can also add rice paper to vegetable and fruit salads, soups, side dishes, meat, and fish dishes, or make tacos with rice paper. Sometimes rice paper is used to make desserts – it goes well with banana, condensed milk, and cream. There are no strict rules when making rice paper-based food. It is all up to your imagination!
As you can see, rice paper is a versatile product that can be used to make many dishes. Here are some of the recipes I’ve tried.
- Rice paper with kimchi, cucumber, and tomato
- Rice paper with zucchini, carrot, and red pepper
- Rice paper with mango, coconut milk, and lime juice
- Rice paper with pumpkin and almond flakes
- Rice paper rolls filled with chicken and scallion
- Rice paper rolls filled with beef and scallion
- Rice paper rolls stuffed with beef and bean sprouts
Rice Paper Texture
What is the texture of rice paper? Rice paper is very thin, crackly, and brittle, so it needs to be soaked in hot water before use. Simply put one rice paper piece in hot water for 10-15 seconds and put it on a paper towel, plate or parchment to remove excess water.
Is rice paper supposed to be chewy? It is perfectly normal for the rice paper to be chewy. Dry rice paper is brittle and crackly, so it is soaked in water to give it a pleasantly soft and slightly chewy texture. If your rice paper is too chewy, you have soaked it in water for too long.
Different Flavors Of Rice Paper
Rice paper does not have to taste boring and plain! Now you can find flavored rice paper that will have a deeper taste and can be eaten by itself. Let’s look at different rice paper flavors you can get:
- Cumin seeds
- Herbs and seeds
- Brown rice
Rice Paper Health Benefits
Rice paper has a lot of health benefits and is rich in choline, vitamins B, E, H, and PP, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and sodium. It is also gluten-free. Rice paper does not contain sugar or fat, so it should be included in your diet if you want to lose some weight. 100 grams of rice paper contain 77 grams of carbohydrates and 5.8 grams of protein. On average, one rice paper weighs 10 grams, so it is a good choice for a snack or a late dinner. Rice paper will keep you full and give your body all the necessary nutrients.
Let’s look at the 7 health benefits of rice paper:
- Provides the body with energy and keeps you full for longer
- Improves immunity
- Removes toxins
- Controls sugar levels
- Facilitates digestion
- Improves brain activity
- Slows down aging processes and prevents wrinkles
Rice paper is considered a light snack suitable for everyone, regardless of age, lifestyle, and weight goals!
If you want to diversify your diet with delicious and healthy foods, try out rice paper! You can make spring rolls with vegetables and chicken, dumplings with seafood, or make a rice paper dessert with banana or apples. Since rice paper has a mild flavor, it goes well with virtually anything, from fruits and vegetables to soy sauce and seafood.
Rice Paper Taste FAQ
Can rice paper be eaten raw?
Rice paper can be eaten raw, however, it will taste plain and have a crackly texture. To enjoy the soft texture and mild flavor, soak rice paper in hot water for 15 seconds, grill or fry it and add your favorite fillings!