So I’m working from home today. My fridge isn’t looking like it’s got the goods to provide an instant lunch. I need to create something from scratch. And that something is needs to be prepared in minus 5 minutes as I am very very hungry. What to make when you’re really hungry and don’t have a full fridge? The answer is a rice paper roll.

First I’ll tell you how I made mine (which are simple but hit the spot). Then I’ll tell you where I had some outside of my kitchen that were superb.

rice paper roll

Rockin’ and rollin’ with vegies


These take about 1 minute to hunt and gather the fodder – for an inside job that is. If you have to go out to shop then ok it’s a bit more than 1 minute. Then add about 1 minute to make each one. The beauty of this recipe is it’s totally scalable and the mess you make is pretty much the same if you make 1 or 20. Can be a good leftover usererupper. And kids love rolling them up so you can get a production line going. Train them early so they get better at it over time. My kids like making them more than they like eating them – but they are vegie hating experts.

What you need

Rice paper rounds: (I used the smaller size). You can get these in most supermarkets. Asian supermarkets will definitely have them.

Cucumber: not peeled, sliced into thin wedges.

Coriander: bout half a cup. I used the leaves and sprigs – the whole lot.

Mint: again about half a cup. I used the leaves whole.

Spring onions: I used a couple of stalks – chopped into biggish pieces.

Bean sprouts: a big handful.

Chilli: few slices of the hot stuff. Sliced.

Optional meat: sliced cooked chicken, meat or prawns. (NB: I had some left over Jamie Oliver chicken that had pancetta on it – surprisingly it worked very well with Asian flavours. This was a rather odd discovery – please don’t curse me if you try leftovers in them and it’s dodgy).

Optional greenery: garlic chives, thai basil

Serve with: chilli, soy or hoisin sauce (check labels carefully – some hoisin ‘aint GF)

rice paper roll
A vegie version.

What to do

Place a rice paper round in a bowl of warm water for until just soft (about 15 – 20 secs). Place onto a clean tea towel, plate, cutting board etc. Arrange all your bits along the centre of the rice paper round. Don’t overstuff them – as the rice paper will end up breaking and everything can fall out. And they don’t look super pretty if you food cram them.

Roll the ends up as best you can to enclose them. Dunk into chilli, hoisin or soy sauce and eat away. I probably should have set the table and eaten slowly – but given the hunger I just stood at the kitchen bench and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Places to eat them

There are so many amazing places to treat yourself with a special rice paper roll. Here’s just two that I’ve experienced recently:

I went to Thanh Binh on King Street in Newtown a couple of months back. We were off to see the Waifs and decided to eat somewhere beforehand. Our group raved about every single dish that came out – and for good reason. Super fresh, really great food. There’s a note on the menu that requests you advise the staff at the time of ordering about any allergies or dietary needs. Best to check before hand when you book, as when I asked, they didn’t have any tamari or GF soy available.

As a starter, we ordered the rice paper rolls that you make yourself at the table. Roll you own. Like a ciggie. Except healthy and delicious. We had steamed rice noodle and sugar-cane prawn, and a beef version. What got me really hungry and interested, was the herb basket that arrived prior to the food coming. We each had one, and they were clipped to the corners of the table. The baskets were bursting full of fresh herbs, cucumber, chilli and all sorts of other greenery. When the rice paper rounds and fillings came to the table, you just consulted with your herb basket, took what you wanted and assembled your own. Very very good.

The other really good option I tasted last week was at the Entertainment Quarter Village Markets. I was there hunting down gluten free bread, and came across the most lovely rice paper rolls. I had the prawn ones and they were delicious. Made by ‘Ncoc & Roll’. Cool name.

rice paper rolls

Fresh & healthy

rice paper rolls