January 16, 2009

You Ask, I Answer: Rice Paper/Summer Rolls

One of my favorite Thai appetizers is summer rolls.

I notice that the rice paper they use to make them is chewy and dense.

Is that because it has a lot of fat in it?

-- Virginia Alston
New York, NY

I share your sentiment, Virginia. I can't go to a Thai restaurant and not order summer rolls!

Not only are they delicious (the ones I had tonight were filled with lettuce, mango, avocado, carrot, cucumber, and cilantro), but also healthy.

Unlike spring rolls, summer rolls are not deep fried. Instead, all the ingredients are simply enclosed in rice paper.

Apart from being a tasty way to add some vegetables to your day, you also get some heart-healthy monounsaturated fat if they contain avocado or are accompanied by a peanut sauce dip.

Your average appetizer order of summer rolls provides a mere 45 to 50 calories from the rice paper alone.

About 95 percent of these calories are derived from carbohydrates.

For comparison purposes, one medium sheet of rice paper contains a third of the carbohydrates in one regular slice of bread.

The reason behind its chewiness is not lots of fat, but the inclusion of tapioca.

The other ingredients are simply rice flour, water, and a pinch of salt.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

How timely! I made summer rolls (the vietnamese version) for dinner last night and they were very tasty. I ate about 4 of them so I was also wondering about the calorie content. Aside from the rice paper wrapper, vietnamese summer rolls or "salad rolls" as they are sometimes called also contain rice vermicelli. But they are mainly veggies and sometimes lean meats like shrimp. Also, like anything else, watch what you are dipping them into.