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Vietnamese Rice Paper Wraps

May 1, 2010

Vegetarian Rice Wraps with Nuoc Mam dipping sauce

Here is an example of something I have learned to love. The first time I had rice wraps was about 15 years ago when I was dating my husband. I must admit…I was not a big fan. I couldn’t get over the texture of the rice wraps, and thus could not appreciate the rest of the ingredients in it, the beauty of the wrapping and the overall healthiness of this meal. After many more trials, this is now one of my favourite standby meals. Even my kids get excited when I make it. While there are many variations of what to put inside these wraps, I have tried to make this as healthy as possible. The main protein ingredient can be all sorts of things: shrimp, baked fish, bbq’d beef or chicken, pan-fried thinly sliced pork or chicken with onions and peanuts or even tofu burgers as what I have used here.

This recipe is my adapted version of rice wraps that was first introduced to me by my Vietnamese mother-in-law.


Protein source: Tofu burgers, BBQ’d chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, baked salmon/trout, pan fried chicken or pork

1 pkg. Rice Noodles

Greens: leaf lettuce (I’ve used spinach instead), cilantro, and mint. You can use other Vietnamese herbs like purple basil – I just don’t know all the names.

Vegetables: julienned carrots, thinly sliced cucumbers (I’ve used zucchinni), and sliced peppers

1 pkg. Rice Paper

rice noodles and tofu burgers

Wrap ingredients

Rice paper

Step 1: Prepare the noodles

Cook as many noodle portions as you think you need. Generally, I cook as many squares as the number of guests I will be serving.

Put the squares in a boiling pot of water. Cook for 3-4 minutes maximum. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water to prevent them from sticking together.

Cook the rice noodles

Step 2: Prepare you fresh ingredients. Wash up the lettuce, mint, and cilantro. Julienne the carrots, and thinly slice the cucumbers and and peppers. Put all these ingredients together on a plate as shown above.

Step 3: Cook up your protein ingredient. I have just used store bought tofu burgers and pan fried them until they are crispy and golden on the outside.

Fry the tofu burgers

Step 4: Slice up the tofu burgers. My kids don’t care for the tofu burgers, so I am giving them the option of some fried shrimp which is also quick and easy to prepare.

a few types of protein ingredients

Step 5: Prepare your dipping sauce.

The picture I have above is with nuoc mam (fish sauce), but, my kids love to eat it with a peanut satay sauce. I only took pictures of the peanut sauce, so I will describe that. I will add the fish sauce recipe at the bottom.

satay ingredients

Here it is, my ingredients for the satay sauce. Smooth peanut butter and hoisin sauce. And the measurements is usually to taste. I use about equal parts peanut butter and hoisin sauce (about 1/4 cup of each). In a small sauce pan, add the peanut butter and hoisin sauce. Then add about 1 cup of boiling water. Heat and gently stir until it is all mixed uniformly. Add additional water if the mixture is too thick. You could also use a can of coconut milk instead of water which adds a nice richness to the flavour. I have just used hot water.

preparing Satay: smooth peanut butter

adding the Hoisin Sauce

Heating and mixing satay sauce

Sauce is evenly mixed

Pour into individual dipping bowls. You could also add sambal and roasted crushed peanuts to each dipping bowl.

Wrapping the rice wrap rolls:
If you had the time, you could pre-roll the wraps for your family and guests. But, half the fun of this meal is to have your guests add in their own ingredients and roll them up themselves. In this case, just put all the ingredients on the table, give them a quick lesson, and let them at it! It’s a great social dinner as you can feed many, and most people will love it.

Here’s a quick visual lesson:

quickly immerse rice paper in warm tap water

immediately put rice paper on plate

Start adding ingredients: Leaf Lettuce or spinach first

Next, I've added some cilantro

julienned carrots

rice noodles

sliced vegetables (zucchinni and peppers)

Add the protein (tofu)Add the mint

Start wrapping - out edges folded inward

Fold over the bottom edge

Roll until it's all a neat little wrap

Rice wrap with peanut satay sauce

So, there you have it. Slice it in half and look how beautiful and colourful that is.

Nuoc mam (fish sauce recipe):

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup hot tap water

1/3 cup vinegar

1/3 cup fish sauce


thinly sliced carrots and daikon (lobok

2-3 garlic cloves pressed

juice of 1 lime

1 tsp sambal chili

First, dissolve the sugar in the hot tap water, then add the vinegar. Mix thoroughly. Then add the fish sauce. Adjust to taste.

Add the thinly sliced carrots and daikon. I also like to add juice of 1 lime, 2-3 pressed garlic and 1 tsp sambal chili.

You can store this is your refrigerator for about 1 month.

Here is a link to a good website I found that describes many of the fresh herbs that Vietnamese dishes call for:

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2010 7:01 pm

    This looks great, thanks for the step by step instructions. I love these, but they always seem to flop and become baggy when I try to make them. 😛

  2. Jason Diemer permalink
    May 13, 2010 4:34 am

    Mmmmm. Going to try this soon.

  3. Trinh permalink
    May 13, 2010 4:01 pm

    Enjoyed your personal touch and story to go with it. Great job!!!
    You inspire me 😉

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