Vietnamese Rice Papers

Rice papers

Unique to Vietnamese cuisine, these delicate triangular or circular rice papers or wrappers (banh trang) , made from rice flour, water and sa lt, are brittle to hold. They are dried in the open air in the sun on bamboo mats that leave their criss-cross pattern on the wrappers . In Cambodia, these wrappers are used when preparing Vietnamese specialities, otherwise the Chinese spring roll wrappers made from wheat flour are more common, just as they are in Thailand. Once they have been reconstituted in water, these wrappers are used formaking the fried Vietnamese spring rolls,cha gio, and the light summer rolls, goi cuon.

Above: Rice papers are dried on bamboo mats, which give them their familiar cross-hatch pattern.
They are also put on the table to be used as wrappings for sa lads, meatballs, gri lled meats and stir-fried dishes. Wrapping tasty morsels and dipping them in sa uce is a typical Vietnamese way of enjoying a meal.Not all rice papers are plain ,some are flavou red with coconut, gi nger orpandanus (similar to vanilla). The
papers that are made with glutinous rice flour are toasted so that they puff up and have a chewy texture .Packets of dried ri ce papers are available in Asian stores and some supermarkets.Before using, the dried rice papers must be sepa rated and soaked in water, two to four at a time,unti l soft and pliable. Keep any remaining papers in an airtight container or they wi ll dry out and curl up.

Above: Rice paper usually used in the meals of Vietnamese

Fresh rice papers

In addition to dried papers, the Vietnamese make fresh rice papers (banh uot), which are used exclusively for wrapping minced (ground) meats.

Above:  Fresh rice papers


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