From spring rolls, wraps, dumplings, and more, rice paper is extremely versatile and can be prepared in several ways.
But have you ever tried it on its own? Not many people know what this ultra-thin and starchy paper really tastes like.
So, what does rice paper taste like? Rice paper has a mild starchy flavor. While the plain version doesn’t taste like much, it is also available in many other varieties. It can be infused with chili, fruit, and even vegetables.
So, the flavor depends on the type of rice paper you purchase.
Read below to learn more about rice paper, how it is made, how it is used, and the many flavors it is available in!
What Is Rice Paper?
Rice paper is an ingenious invention that helped establish a whole new range of recipes and dishes. It is indispensable in certain foods like spring rolls and dumplings and is popular all over the world.
Vietnam, in particular, is known for producing and exporting rice paper, and while you may only be able to find up to a handful of varieties worldwide, you will find at least several dozens of different types of rice paper in Vietnam alone.
Every Asian country has its version of rice paper with different flavorings. Some blend spices, others will mix herbs, vegetables, and even fruit like bananas.
Rice paper is prepared by grinding soaked rice. The slurry may also be mixed with tapioca starch to give it more elasticity and to make the end product translucent. All the other flavorings will also typically be added during the mixing stage.
Once the slurry is ready, it is prepared into rice paper using different heating methods.
The most popular methods involve cooking the slurry over an inverted cast-iron circular griddle where the mixture is poured and shaped into a round, thin sheet.
More delicate rice papers, like the ones used in some spring rolls, may be prepared a bit differently. This delicate rice paper is steamed over boiling water and then dried until it crisps.
Various Flavors Of Rice Paper
On its own, rice paper does not taste like anything.
It can be said to have a boiled-rice flavor, but in most cases, its flavor depends on where you source the rice paper from.
For example, in Vietnam, it is a common practice to make plain rice paper with tapioca starch, sesame seeds, and other additives.
This rice paper is known for its delicate texture and nutty and starchy flavor. Other types of rice paper can be mixed with herbs and seeds. You will also easily find a common variation of rice paper with cumin seeds and other spice blends too.
This particular rice paper has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor with spicy undertones.
Furthermore, if you have a sweet tooth, then you can also try a separate range of rice papers with fruit in them!
For example, bananas are commonly mixed with rice paper and sold across Asia. Unfortunately, most of the exported rice paper is of the plain variety, but you may be able to find it with more flavor options too.
How Is Flavored Rice Paper Cooked?
Rice paper is very delicate and requires a very gentle hand. Any rough handling or even a sudden movement can compromise the surface of the paper.
Since the rice paper is dehydrated before packing, it requires some moisture to make it more pliable.
Some thicker and flavored varieties of rice paper may be dipped in warm water before preparation but most of the time, you will only need to apply just a bit of water to the surface to hydrate it.
More delicate rice paper, like the ones used in spring rolls, make not even require additional moisture as it will draw the required water from the ingredients!
Finally, the flavor of rice paper can also vary greatly depending on how they are cooked. For example, in countries like India and Pakistan, rice paper is widely cooked via deep frying.
The paper is dipped for about one or two seconds in hot oil and then drained.
This gives the rice paper a pronounced starchy, earthy, and slightly sweet flavor that can then be paired with different types of curries and even soups!
Now that you know what rice paper tastes like, here are a few related questions:
Can rice paper be eaten raw?
Rice paper can be eaten by itself, but if you want the most out of its flavor and texture, then we highly recommend that you cook it by either grilling, frying, or baking it.
Can you eat rice paper as a snack?
Yes, rice paper can be eaten as a light snack. The best way to prepare it would be to cook it over an open flame by placing it slightly away from the fire. The rice paper will take about 5-8 seconds to cook.
Add seasonings of your choice and enjoy!
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