Sunday, April 4, 2021

Rice Paper Crisps (Rice paper Nachos)

Vietnamese inspired appetizer made from fried rice paper with vegetables, tofu and a peanut based sauce. This recipe is delicious and super easy to make!

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Spring is here and it feels wonderful! Longer days, mild cool winds and so much sunshine. And when so much like Spring; you ought to make some SPRING ROLLS.

This is a variation to the classic using fried rice paper and toppings. It is almost like a platter of Vietnamese Nachos with diced vegetables, seasoned tofu and a yummy peanut based sauce. 

What are rice paper rolls?

Rice paper rolls are a super popular and delicious appetizer served at various Asian restaurants. 

I learnt about fresh rice paper rolls a few years ago from an Asian friend who taught me how to make them at home and I have been a fan since. 

Rice paper rolls or Vietnamese Spring Rolls make an appearance on our Spring and Summer dinner table at least once a week. 

Made using store bought rice paper, freshly chopped vegetables, tofu and herbs; these are BEST enjoyed with a delicious peanut dip. For those who enjoy meat and sea-food; it might be a great idea to add that in the rolls too. 

These Rice Paper Crisps 

The traditional version of the rolls are stuffed and rolled into a tight roll with the rice paper dipped in hot water. They are served with a dipping sauce. 

Instead; I decided to fry the rice paper and use it as a base to build the Nachos. 

On frying the rice paper turns pretty similar to the Indian Papad and tastes great as is. Further, top them with tofu and vegetables and you have an addictive recipe for sure. 

The Indian papad are made with rice flour and some seasonings and salt. They puff up on frying and the same happens when you fry rice paper. 

Only difference is that these are far thinner and fry within seconds compared to the Indian version. The crisps make a great side or topping for Asian dishes too.

What you need to make these Rice Paper Crisps

Rice Paper: To start with; you will need a few rice papers. I have tried the recipe with a couple of brands and they all work well. Use round or square sheets and they give the same result. 

My go-to brand is this one from Amazon. I always have some papers in my pantry. 

Vegetables: For topping the fried crisps I used diced vegetables. Carrots, pink onions and green onions are used here. 

Minced cabbage, broccoli, sautéed mushrooms etc would be great too. Add or subtract what you would like on the Nachos.

Peanut Sauce: The recipe uses a peanut butter based sauce to make it delicious. I made some extra sauce and cooked the tofu in it. 

The sauce is made with creamy peanut butter (any other version will not give a smooth sauce), hot sauce, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper. 

This sauce is excellent for dipping or even to make some peanut sauce noodles. The sauce makes it creamy and delicious.

I always make some extra sauce and use it in a couple recipes within a day or two.


Tofu: I used firm tofu and pressed it in paper towels to remove any moisture. Then I cook them on all sides on a pan. Using an air fryer works great for the recipe too. 

I add some of the peanut sauce to the tofu while it cooks. This way the tofu is flavored and does not taste bland on the nachos. 

Oil: Oil is needed to fry the rice paper. You only need about a cm of oil in the pan that you are using to fry. However, do not skimp on that else the rice paper will curl up and remain uncooked in parts. 

Any oil works for the recipe. I have used olive oil and vegetable oil and the result does not vary much. 

Peanuts: I used salted peanuts for topping the nachos. They give the required crunch in the recipe and make it delicious. Using flavored peanuts will work well too.

 

How to get it right each time

The key thing in this recipe is frying the rice paper. Topping it is as easy as it can get. The recipe is not necessarily healthy but is super delicious. We make it when we are craving something easy yet delicious!  

  • To fry the rice paper I cut it into 4 parts with a pair of scissors before frying. I use a shallow pan with just a centimeter of oil in it. That is enough to fry the rice paper without leaving it raw in parts. 
  • Use super hot oil to fry. If the oil is not hot the rice paper will become transparent and look like plastic instead of puffing up on frying. 
  • Fry the rice papers with a pair of tongs. They puff up in 5-10 seconds and can burn if left for a long time in oil. Drain on kitchen towels and use as the base of the Nachos. 
  • While the crisps can be stored in an airtight container, they tend to get soggy if kept for a long time. I would suggest frying them only before serving or a while before but too much in advance. 

Frequently asked questions

Can the rice paper be air fried or baked?

Unfortunately the recipe will not work except fro frying. I ended up sticking bits of rice paper to my air fryer coil when I tried. I would not suggest that AT all. 

Does the recipe needs LOTS of oil?

Thankfully NO! It only needs a centimeter of oil and if you use a pan that is not very wide; the total oil needed is no more than 1/2 cup. 

Can these be made in advance?

While the nachos need to be made right before serving; frying the rice paper is also suggested just before serving. 

That way the rice paper is crisp and tastes awesome. Limp rice paper does not taste the best and should be avoided. 

Serving suggestions

These rice paper nachos make a great appetizer or snack. We are guilty of having it as a meal but if you would like another dish along with it; here are some suggestions:

Steps

1- Cut the rice paper into 4 parts using a pair of scissors. Heat oil in a pan till it is hot.


2- Drop a piece in the oil to test the temperature. If it puffs up immediately, remove and repeat for all the pieces. Else heat the oil a little more. 

3- Drain and set aside on kitchen towels. 


4- To make the sauce, mix all the ingredients and stir till it is smooth and even. Set aside. 


5- Heat some oil in a pan. Once hot, add diced tofu and cook till it is brown on all sides. 

6- Once it is crisp on the sides, add onion and let it cook for a couple of minutes. 

7- Add 2 tbsp of the peanut sauce and mix well. Once the sauce starts to dry up, turn down the heat and set the tofu on the side. 


8- To assemble, place the rice paper crisps on a plate. Top with diced carrots, onions and green onions. Add the sauce on top and some salted peanuts. Serve immediately. 


Recipe Card

Yield: 4
Author: Smruti
Rice Paper Crisps (Rice paper Nachos)

Rice Paper Crisps (Rice paper Nachos)

Vietnamese inspired appetizer made from fried rice paper with vegetables, tofu and a peanut based sauce. This recipe is delicious and super easy to make!
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 15 MinTotal time: 30 Min

Ingredients

For the sauce
For The Rice Paper Crisps
Other Ingredients
  • Carrots 1/2 cup, peeled and chopped
  • Onion 3/4 cup, chopped
  • Green Onion 1/4 cup, chopped
  • Firm Tofu7 oz pressed with a heavy object and diced
  • Oil 1 tsp
  • Salted Peanuts 1/4 cup, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Before you start press the tofu block with a heavy pan for 30-40 minutes. Remove excess moisture on paper towels and cut into cubes. 
  2. Cut the rice paper into 4-6 parts using a pair of scissors. Heat oil in a pan till it is hot.
  3. Drop a piece in the oil to test the temperature. If it puffs up immediately, remove and repeat for all the pieces. Else heat the oil a little more and fry the rice paper.
  4. Drain and set aside on kitchen towels.
  5. To make the sauce, mix peanut butter with hot water till it dissolves. 
  6. Then add all the ingredients under sauce and stir till it is smooth and even. Set aside.
  7. Heat some oil in a pan. Once hot, add diced tofu and cook till it is brown on all sides. Keep turning it as the sides turn brown. 
  8. Once it is crisp on the sides, add 1/4 cup onions and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
  9. Add 2 tbsp of the peanut sauce and mix well to coat the tofu pieces. Add a few drops of water if required. 
  10. Once the sauce starts to dry up, turn down the heat and set the tofu on the side.
  11. To assemble, place the rice paper crisps on a plate.  You may choose to break them a little.
  12. Top with diced carrots, onions and green onions. Add the sauce on top and some salted peanuts. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  • To fry the rice paper cut it into 4 parts with a pair of scissors before frying.
  • Use a shallow pan with just a centimeter of oil in it. That is enough to fry the rice paper without leaving it raw in parts. 
  • Use super hot oil to fry. If the oil is not hot the rice paper will become transparent and look like plastic instead of puffing up on frying. 
  • Fry the rice papers with a pair of tongs. They puff up in 5-10 seconds and can burn if left for a long time in oil. Drain on kitchen towels and use as the base of the Nachos. 
  • While the crisps can be stored in an airtight container, they tend to get soggy if kept for a long time. I would suggest frying them only before serving or a while before but too much in advance.
  • Use creamy peanut butter. Using a crunchy one will not give a smooth sauce.


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