If you are someone that is not too much into cooking, you may have difficulties in telling the difference between rice and basmati rice.
So what’s the difference between jasmine and basmati rice? While jasmine and basmati rice both are long-grain rice varieties, it is easy to tell the difference by paying attention to the grain size of the uncooked rice and the texture of the cooked one. Uncooked basmati rice has sharper and longer grains. And when cooked, jasmine rice is moist and clumpy as opposed to the fluffy and dry texture of basmati.
Continue reading if you want to learn everything that makes jasmine and basmati rice different.
Jasmine Rice and Basmati Rice: How to Tell The Difference
Jasmine rice and basmati rice are two aromatic rice types widely used all over the world. While there are certain similarities between the two types, there are also some key features that set them apart.
While both basmati and jasmine rice originate from the Asian continent, they come from different countries and are widely popular in their cuisines.
Coming from Thailand, jasmine rice is widely used in Taiwanese cooking. It is also grown in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
Basmati rice, on the other hand, comes from the foothills of the Himalayas. It is a popular rice variety used in Indian cuisine. Basmati rice is also popular in Pakistani cooking.
The grains sections in supermarkets are overwhelming with all kinds of rice coming from different countries. Nowadays, rice is also grown in many non-Asian parts of the world.
However, while they may be good, it is recommended to buy imported rice to feel the true aroma of jasmine and basmati rice.
Our favorite true Basmati rice is this one from Amazon, and the best Jasmine rice is by far is this one. Consider purchasing these, or some other true imported rice instead of just getting whatever your local market has.
If you want to tell the difference between uncooked jasmine and basmati rice, the grain size and shape are the key indicators to help you tell which one is which.
Jasmine rice is a long-grain rice type. It has slightly rounded ends and is a bit translucent.
While basmati rice is also considered to be long-grain rice, it might be called extra-long, as the grains are longer, slenderer and the ends are much sharper.
Aroma and Flavor
As the name suggests, jasmine rice has a floral aroma. You will smell a sweet popcorn-like aroma when cooking this type of rice. As far as the flavor goes, jasmine rice is slightly sweet and nutty.
Basmati rice is rather fragrant, which comes as no surprise once you learn that ‘basmati’ is translated to ‘full of fragrance’. Basmati rice has a nutty flavor and aroma.
It is much easier to tell the difference between jasmine rice and basmati rice once they are cooked.
Basmati rice gets two times bigger in size once cooked. The grains stay separated and much drier than jasmine rice grains. Jasmine rice, once cooked, is moist and slightly clumped together. Basmati rice is much drier than jasmine rice.
In comparison to the moist and clumpy nature of jasmine rice, basmati is fluffy.
The texture of cooked basmati and jasmine rice has to do with their molecular structure.
There is a lot of amylose in basmati rice, which is a form of starch that forms tight grains of rice. This is why basmati rice holds its structure and remains distinct when being cooked.
Jasmine rice, on the other hand, contains amylopectin, a highly branched molecule. As a result of having more amylopectin in the starch than amylose, jasmine rice grains slightly lose their structure and clump together.
If you are eating rice and cannot tell whether it is jasmine or basmati rice, it is not the end of the world. However, you should be able to tell the difference between the two if you want to make a dish using either of them.
As the texture of basmati and jasmine rice differ, the cooking techniques are not the same as well.
When cooking jasmine rice, you should rinse it a few times until the water runs clear. Not only it will remove the dust and debris but also get rid of the surface starch. The latter, if not removed, will make jasmine rice grains clump together even more than they usually do.
For jasmine rice, the absorption method is used. The latter implies adding a measured amount of liquid to the rice so that it will all be absorbed by the end of the cooking process. The steaming method can also be used for cooking jasmine rice.
As for basmati rice, the cooking technique is quite different. If you are planning on making a meal with this type of rice, you will need to soak it in water for at least half an hour before cooking it.
Once the grains have absorbed some water, basmati rice is boiled in salted water. You can drain the excess water after the rice is cooked. This technique will result in evenly cooked basmati rice.
Can You Cook Jasmine Rice and Basmati Rice in a Rice Cooker?
You can cook both basmati and jasmine rice in a rice cooker, such as the instant pot, or, my favorite rice cooker from Amazon. However, even in this case, you should soak the basmati rice 30 minutes before putting it in a rice cooker.
What you should keep in mind when making basmati rice with this handy kitchen appliance is that you need to add less water than indicated in the rice cooker instructions. You can add a small amount of butter or oil to ensure that the grains stay separated. Once the rice is cooked, take a fork and fluff the basmati rice.
Both jasmine rice and basmati rice may come in two ‘colors’ – white and brown.
The white version is the polished type, which means that the bran is removed from the grains. The brown version is the unpolished type. The latter contains lesser carbohydrates.
Jasmine Rice Vs Basmati Rice: Nutrition Facts
Jasmine and basmati rice are quite similar when it comes to nutrition. Both rice types contain complex carbs and serve as a great energy booster.
As far as the calories go, 1 cup of cooked jasmine rice contains a little more calories than basmati rice. However, both rice types are low in fat and cholesterol.
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The glycemic index (GI) of basmati rice is almost twice as less as the GI of jasmine rice. Basmati rice GI is 58, while that of jasmine rice around 109.
Food that has a low GI, like basmati rice, is digested and metabolized slowly. A good choice if you are someone trying to keep your hunger at bay and control your weight. Additionally, products with lower GI tend to lower insulin and blood sugar levels.
Which One Is Healthier?
If you have to choose between jasmine and basmati rice not depending on the dish you are making but on the mere fact which one is healthy, then go for brown basmati and brown jasmine rice.
The unpolished varieties have more fiber and protein and are packed with more nutritious value.
Can You Substitute Jasmine Rice with Basmati Rice?
If you are eating plain long-grain white rice, then you should definitely substitute it with these aromatic varieties.
However, when it comes to substituting jasmine rice and basmati rice for one another, the dish you are making plays a key role. As jasmine rice and basmati rice greatly differ in texture, each of them are used in specific kinds of recipes.
You can cook a tasty pilaf with both basmati and jasmine rice. However, you can make a delicious creamy pudding with jasmine rice and not basmati. And the best Indian curry always turns out with perfectly cooked aromatic basmati rice.
What Goes Well with Jasmine Rice?
Jasmine rice very versatile. It can serve as a wonderful side dish for stir-fries or grilled vegetables or proteins. It is also a very good side dish for flavorful stews with lots of gravy.
Here are a few easy combinations using aromatic white jasmine rice:
- Jasmine rice with marinated sweet-sour chicken and pineapple
- Crispy salmon with lemony jasmine rice
- A beef and broccoli stir-fry with the side of jasmine rice
- White jasmine rice topped with a comforting vegetable curry
What to Cook with Basmati Rice?
Originated in India, the first dishes that are associated with the basmati rice are traditional Indian dishes.
Basmati rice plays well with a variety of different ingredients. Due to its aromatic nature and fluffy texture, this rice is almost good on its own.
You can serve basmati rice as a side dish with chicken and vegetables. If you like seafood, basmati rice cooked with coconut milk and shrimp will be your favorite. In fact, basmati rice is so versatile that you can use it in anything from Indian biriyani to Spanish paella.