Japanese Rice Paper

Rice paper rolls are a popular food from Vietnamese cuisine that have been named Nama Harumaki in Japanese and adapted to suit Japanese palates. The tasty rolls are often filled with fresh vegetables, herbs, and some kind of protein, and served with a tasty dipping sauce. They’re the perfect light and refreshing meal, a fantastic alternative to sandwiches, and a delicious way to eat your daily dose of veggies.

What is Rice Paper Rolls : Nama Harumaki

Nama Harumaki is the Japanese name for Vietnamese spring rolls or rice paper rolls and comes from the words “Nama” meaning fresh or raw and “Harumaki” which translates to “spring roll”. This delectable dish is made by wrapping vegetables, some kind of protein, and other ingredients like herbs or vermicelli noodles in very thin rice paper wrappers. The fillings can vary depending on preference, but some common ingredients include shrimp, pork, tofu, chicken, avocado, cucumber and carrot strips. There are many filling options and combinations so every roll is packed full of flavours with a variety of textures. These fresh spring rolls make a delicious and healthy meal that everyone will love.

Ingredients you need

rice paper wrappers

Rice paper wrappers are a versatile ingredient that bring a unique texture to any dish. Made from rice flour, these thin and translucent sheets are perfect for wrapping up all sorts of ingredients – from veggies to meat to seafood. They feel delicate and crisp when dry but soaking them very briefly in warm water makes them pliable and stretchy. It makes it easy to wrap the ingredients inside into a little parcel and provides a satisfying chewiness. The sheets have a neutral taste which allows the ingredients inside to shine through.


Add some crunch and other texture to the fresh rice paper salad rolls with your favourite vegetables. Here are some options:

Carrots: These bright orange roots are packed with nutrients like Vitamin A and fiber. They also add a vibrant colour and a satisfying crunchiness to the rice paper rolls.

Cucumber: Another great crunchy addition is cucumber. Its refreshing taste and high water content makes it the perfect filling for hot summer days. Plus, cucumbers are low in calories so you can munch away guilt-free.

Leafy greens: From crispy iceberg lettuce to nutrient-packed kale, there’s no shortage of options. They are full of vitamins and minerals to use for rice paper roll wraps.

Bean sprouts: these are packed with vitamins and minerals, making them an excellent addition. They also have a satisfying crunch and bring a burst of flavour to nama harumaki.

Cabbage: both green and purple cabbage are a great rice paper roll ingredient for added texture and flavour.

Pepper: green and red bell pepper add colour, freshness, subtle sweetness, and crunch to the rolls and taste delicious.

Edamame: add a touch of nuttiness with edamame beans to nama harumaki.

Avocados: rich in heart-healthy fats and loaded with fiber, avocados add a delicious creaminess to the rice paper rolls.


Meat: common and popular ingredients include chicken (plain or seasoned with teriyaki); pork and pork belly; beef slices; mince/ground meat;

Seafood: fresh seafood is a great protein for rice paper rolls. Popular options include shrimp (prawns) and crab sticks (kanikama/surimi).

Other: use plain or seasoned tofu to make rice paper rolls vegan friendly (or just use vegetables only).

Other ingredients

Vermicelli noodles: these thin rice noodles are a popular ingredient to add to rice paper rolls.

Herbs: Looking to add a little zest to your Nama Harumaki? Adding herbs such as shiso and mint elevate the rolls with their unique flavor profile.

Shiso, also known as perilla, is a leafy herb commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It has a slightly sweet and spicy taste, similar to basil. The leaves are often used fresh and can be found in both green and purple varieties. Shiso pairs well with seafood, pork, and tofu in the spring rolls.

Mint is another herb that adds a refreshing kick to Nama Harumaki. Its cool flavor helps balance out spicier ingredients like jalapenos or Sriracha sauce. Mint is also rich in antioxidants and can aid digestion.

Step-by-step guide on how to make Japanese Nama Harumaki

Preparing the fillings

First prepare the filling ingredients. Make sure that all your vegetables are washed and thoroughly dried before slicing them into thin matchsticks. Vegetables like lettuce leaves or avocado slices don’t need to be sliced like this. If using cooked shrimp, crab meat, pork, chicken and beef, cut them into small pieces.

Wrapping and Rolling the ingredients in rice paper

  1. Soften the Rice Paper Wrappers – To wrap your ingredients in rice paper, you’ll need to soften them first. To do this, fill a large shallow bowl or frying pan with warm water. Dip one rice paper wrapper at a time into the water for about 10 seconds until it becomes soft and pliable. Be careful not to over-soak the wrapper as it may become too sticky and difficult to work with.
  2. Arrange Your Fillings on the Wrapper – Place lettuce leaves on top of the rice paper wrapper, leaving about an inch of space at the bottom edge. Then add your sliced vegetables and protein on top of the lettuce leaves.
  3. Wrap It Up – Fold up the bottom edge of the wrapper over your fillings. Next, fold in both sides towards each other tightly over the filling. Finally, roll up tightly from bottom to top until completely sealed.
  4. Repeat these steps with all remaining ingredients until you have made as many Nama Harumaki rolls as desired!

Dipping Sauce

Rice paper rolls are especially delicious when served along with dipping sauce. Dipping sauces take the rice paper rolls to the next level and add even more flavour.

The best part about rice paper roll dipping sauce is that it comes in all sorts of flavours. From sweet to tangy, spicy to savoury – there’s a sauce for everyone! The classic peanut sauce is always a crowd favourite. It’s usually made with tamari and peanut butter which creates a nutty taste blended with a creamy texture. You can also add chili paste for a spicy kick.

If you’re looking for something light and refreshing, try making a citrus-based sauce using yuzu juice or lime juice as its base. Add some fish sauce, sugar, garlic and chili flakes to balance out the sourness of the citrus fruits.

For those who love heat, sriracha is the way to go! This spicy dipping sauce will give your rice paper rolls an extra fiery kick. Or if you want something with a bit of spice and sweetness, use sweet chilli. This is a popular sauce option and my personal favourite.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try something new, why not make your own unique dipping sauce? Start by mixing together different ingredients such as soy sauce, hoisin sauce or tamarind paste with honey or rice vinegar until you find a flavour combination you love.

Rice paper rolls are already delicious on their own but pairing them with different dipping sauces takes them up another notch. So get creative in the kitchen and experiment with various flavours.