Photo of rice papers drying in the sun
One of our grade 8 CEF students wrote to her sponsor sharing about how to make rice papers:
One of my favorite things is spending time with my mother making rice papers. It is hard work and hot because we have to work at high temperatures. Here is how we make Vietnamese rice papers.
Rice grinding: Soaked raw rice is ground with water into a slurry using this very simple machine. The trough at the bottom of the bucket is made of stone. The grinding mechanism, which we obtained just a few years ago, spins very quickly, so much so that the walls are splattered with the rice and water mixture.
Tangy addition: Nearby, there is a bit of thick old batter that is added to the slurry for a wonderful tang.
Making thin rice sheets: We sit on a low stool and spread the batter onto a cloth that's stretched over a wide pot of boiling water. After the batter has been thinly spread, a bamboo lid covers the rice sheet. The resulting rice sheet is steamed for about 30 to 45 seconds.
Removing cooked the rice sheet: We use a long narrow stick to lift and transfer the cooked rice sheet to a cooling rack, which spins around.
Transferring to a drying rack: My mother then picks up the cooled rice crepe and places it on a bamboo drying rack.
Drying the rice paper: To dry the cooked rice sheets, the racks are brought outside and placed under the hot sun for a day. Once dried, the finished rice papers are stacked up and then tied into smaller stacks and taken to market.
Thanks to helping my mother, I have come to see how hard she works, which drives me to study harder every day.