All wrapped up
  |  First Published: November 2003

Wrapping your seafood in rice paper wrappers has many advantages. You end up with handy little food parcels which are easy to eat, simple to make, require very little or no cooking and are very healthy. The semi-transparent rice paper wrappers also allow your dinner guests to see the delicious filling inside.

Rice paper rounds are available in the Asian section of most supermarkets or your local Chinatown. Each rice paper round needs to be placed individually in a large bowl of warm water until it softens. Next, very carefully lift it out of the water, place it on a chopping board or flat work surface and pat it dry with some paper towel before filling (be sure to fill it straight away once you’ve patted it dry). It’s easier than it sounds, and I guarantee you’ll have quite a little production line going in a very short time. You’ll probably have to beat the helpers off with a wooden spoon!

Filling ingredients

500g cooked prawns

1 cup finely shredded Chinese cabbage (or savoy cabbage)

1 carrot, grated

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint


• Peel and de-vein the prawns. Combine the cabbage, carrot, ginger, coriander and mint in a bowl. The best way to do this is to use a pair of clean hands.

• Prepare one of the rice paper rounds as explained above. Place some of the cabbage mixture in the centre of the rice paper round and top with a couple of prawns. Fold in the sides of the rice paper and roll up, enclosing the filling just like a parcel. Repeat with the rest of the rice paper rounds and filling. It’s best to cover any completed rolls with a clean damp tea-towel while you’re preparing the rest. This is also a good way to store the rolls if you’re not serving them straight away.

• Serve the wrapped prawns with dipping sauces such as a chilli sauce, a combination of soy sauce and mirrin or the following dipping sauce.

Dipping sauce ingredients

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint


• Place all the ingredients with the exception of the coriander and mint into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool while you prepare the rice paper wrapped prawns.

• Just before serving, stir in the chopped coriander and mint.

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