One awesome part about cooking with kids happens when you can “wow” them with food — and not because of the taste of it, but because of the preparation. That’s what happened when I taught a class recently and we used rice paper wrappers.
Rice paper wrappers are found in the Asian section of your supermarket, right by the cellophane noodles (which we also used). They are very thin, hard disks that look like poster board. But when you place one in a shallow bowl of luke warm water for 10 seconds, they become an “Asian tortilla.”
The kids were absolutely amazed at the transformation. They (the disks, not the kids) are a bit tricky to handle, but all of this group — which ranged from ages 6 to 10 — were able to place the moistened rice paper on a cutting mat, lightly pat it dry and fill it with goodies.
My goal was to get them to try something new, and I did it by including very familiar foods with it. Many of them had never had spring rolls, but all had eaten sandwich wraps. We used cellophane noodles, cooked chicken and cucumbers, but the filling combinations are endless. Anything you can put in a wrap you can use here. One idea we came up with was to use Thanksgiving leftovers as filling!
The wrappers are more durable than you’d think, but do require care so they do not end up like cheap cling wrap — all crumpled up and useless. One the insides are set, fold the right and left edges toward the center and them roll from the top toward yourself. Cut them in half and enjoy with dipping sauce.
They wanted to test the hard disks (sure, why not?) and did not care for them at all (of course not). This is a great meal for kids to create virtually all by themselves. And maybe even make one for mom or dad one too! Who says cooking isn’t about giving?
Ingredients (very flexible, but here is what we used)
- Cooked chicken or turkey
- Cucumbers diced or cut into sticks. We use a chop box, so even the littlest chef can participate.
- Cooked cellophane noodles
- Cranberry sauce
- Rice paper wrappers
Soften rice paper according to package directions. (Good to show kids how to do this once. You won’t need to do it more than that!)
Carefully place the moist disk on a clean tea towel (preferred) or plastic cutting board. If using a cutting board, lightly pat the disk dry.
Put a spoonful or two of chicken in the center of the disk. Top with a stick of (or diced) cucumber and some noodles. Fold the right and left edges toward the center and them roll from the top toward yourself.
Cut in half (optional) and dip in the cranberry sauce. Enjoy and eat!