Can you tell the difference between Basmati and jasmine rice? These two are among the popular long-grain rice varieties. Some people confuse one over the other because of their similarities, but they also differ in many ways.
Looking closely at basmati and jasmine rice, you can understand their differences. From there, you’ll be able to tell which type of rice is better when you are planning a recipe.
What is Basmati Rice?
This aromatic long-grain rice is traditionally grown in certain districts of India and Pakistan as well as other surrounding countries including Nepal. You’ll commonly see this aromatic rice in traditional Indian and South Asian recipes.
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With its floral and nutty flavor, basmati is commonly used alongside roasted or braised meats, curries, or as the main ingredient for biryani. Sometimes, it is served plain or flavored with saffron or turmeric.
The name “basmati” came from the Hindi word which means “fragrant.” And true to its name, basmati rice has a slightly floral aroma similar to jasmine rice.
What is Jasmine Rice?
Jasmine rice is also known as Thai fragrant rice. As the name suggests, this type of long grain rice is fragrant. Its fragrance is reminiscent of pandan and popcorn.
What many people love about Jasmine rice is its moist texture when cooked. The jasmine rice grains become somewhat sticky with a slightly sweet flavor.
Jasmine rice is commonly cultivated in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, but it is consumed throughout Asia and the Middle East. While many people are just familiar with white jasmine rice, it is available in other colors including black, purple, black, red, white and brown rice.
Difference between Basmati vs Jasmine rice
Basmati vs Jasmine Rice: Grain Size, Aroma and Texture
While both basmati or jasmine rice falls under the category of long grain rice, they differ in grain size. If you put them together side by side, you can easily distinguish one over the other.
Jasmine rice is slightly plumper and shorter than basmati rice. It is full of fragrance when the rice is newly harvested. This is the reason why new-crop or newly harvested jasmine rice is more expensive. The fragrance tends to lessen with extended storage.
On the other hand, basmati has long, slender and needle-shaped grains. Of all the rice grains, basmati rice has the longest grains. During cooking, basmati rice elongates twice their size.
As for the texture, basmati rice remains free-flowing or separated instead of sticky. The grains also become fluffier and softer in texture compared with jasmine rice.
Additionally, basmati rice has a full aroma. More often, they are stored for a while after harvest to refine the aroma.
Basmati vs Jasmine Rice: Nutritional Value
When it comes to nutritional profiles, jasmine and basmati rice have a lot to offer. They contain various essential nutrients that are essential for overall health.
Moreover, these rice varieties are considered a good source of an energy boost. They contain complex carbohydrates which promote good health. The carbohydrates are easily digested and absorbed by the body, making them readily available for the muscles and the rest of the body systems.
To give you a clear picture of the difference in the nutritional value of basmati rice vs jasmine rice, we can base it on a 1-cup serving.
According to Healthline, a cup of jasmine rice contains the following:
- 181 calories
- 4 grams protein
- 1 gram fat
- 1 gram fiber
- 39 grams carbohydrates
- 2 percent daily value for both calcium and iron.
On the other hand, for 1 cup of basmati rice, WebMD listed the following nutritional components:
- 210 calories
- 5 grams proteins
- 0.5 grams fat
- 46 grams carbohydrates
- 0.7 grams fiber
Basmati rice also contains other essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B6, folate, copper, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.
Based on the above numbers, basmati rice contains more calories and more protein than jasmine rice. There is also a 10-gram difference for their carbohydrate contents. As for the dietary fiber which is good for digestive health, jasmine has more than basmati rice.
It’s important to note that the more calories the rice has, the more energy it can give you. However, if you consume more calories than your body needs, it can form body fat.
Basmati vs Jasmine Rice: Health Benefits
The health benefit of food is connected with their nutritional profile. For instance, since both jasmine and basmati rice contains fiber, they can help maintain regular bowel movement, healthy digestive health, and lower the cholesterol levels of the body.
Protein is another common mineral in both jasmine and basmati rice. It is an essential building block of muscles, bones and skin. This mineral also helps in tissue repair as well as in carrying oxygen throughout the body.
Moreover, as basmati and jasmine rice contain other vitamins and minerals, consuming them in moderation can help improve your overall health.
Basmati vs Jasmine Rice: Applications
There is no right or wrong when it comes to consuming rice. However, certain recipes call for a specific type of rice to enhance the dish.
As basmati rice is widely grown in India, it is easy to understand why it is also commonly served with various Indian curry dishes. The fluffy and soft basmati rice easily absorbs the sauce, making the rice flavorful.
Basmati rice is also great for making rice pilaf recipe. It is a side dish containing grains that are cooked in aromatic and flavored stock. This recipe or dish originated in India but it has quickly spread its popularity in many other countries.
As with jasmine rice, it goes well with many Thai dishes. It also makes a perfect base for Thai-style fried rice. Moreover, steamed jasmine rice goes well with soups, grilled meat, or fried meat as well as braised food.
Basmati vs Jasmine Rice: Cooking Instruction
Chefs and experienced cooks have different tricks when it comes to cooking rice. But there are basic steps that you can follow as a starter.
- Wash the rice before cooking. You can do it twice or until the water runs almost clear.
This step is necessary to remove the excess starch on the grains. Most Asian people who are used to cooking rice would put the grains in a bowl then swirl the water around with hand. After a few swirls, you can then remove the water and repeat the steps until the water becomes almost clear. Drain the water well.
- Some recipes call for soaking the grains first to make them more tender. However, for the basic recipe, you can cook the rice right away after washing.
- To cook, add liquid to the rice. The standard ratio of rice to liquid is 1:1.75. However, it's always good to check the recommendations on the product label.
- The easiest way to cook rice is using a rice cooker.
Using this type of appliance, you can simply turn the cooker on, leave it and just come back once the rice is cooked. You always get perfectly cooked rice every time without you watching it.
With a stove, you need to check the rice from time to time because it's easy to get burnt rice especially if you are on the medium to high heat.
To cook rice on a stove, use medium heat and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and let it continue to simmer at low heat until there is no more water and the rice is already soft. This should take about 15 minutes.
- Once the rice is already soft, remove the pot from the stove and let it sit on the counter for another 5 minutes before serving.
If you want a bowl of fluffy cooked jasmine rice, the best way to do it is by steaming. However, boiling or cooking it like basmati rice also works.
Cooking jasmine rice is very similar to how you would cook basmati rice. You can follow the same steps in cooking basmati but it may differ on the rice and liquid ratio. The standard ratio for jasmine rice is one part rice to 1.5 part water.
The methods of cooking rice are similar across different rice types. The cooking time is generally around half an hour for white rice. It may take several more minutes if you are cooking brown rice such as the brown basmati and brown jasmine rice.
Also, aside from the cooking time, different types of rice require different water to rice ratios. Most colored rice including brown basmati need more water to cook than white rice. If you are not sure how much water to add, it’s always good to check the label.
Basmati vs Jasmine Rice: Glycemic Index
The glycemic index (GI) as defined by Healthline is a tool that is useful for better blood sugar levels. Being aware of the glycemic index of what you are eating also helps you with weight loss and reducing your cholesterol level.
Each food has a given GI value and this value is based on how much that food can increase your sugar levels. GI value can be between 0 and 100, and is rated as low, medium and high GI. If the food has a low GI, it has also a low effect on your blood sugar levels.
Low – 55 or less
Medium – 56 to 69
High – 70 and above
Checking the GI value of basmati and jasmine rice, you can tell that there is a slight difference between the two. Jasmine rice has a glycemic index between 68 and 80 while basmati rice generally has a value between 55 and 60. Basmati rice has a lower GI between these two types of rice.
Basmati vs Jasmine Rice: Taste
Both basmati rice and jasmine rice have a hint of nuttiness. However, there is a noticeable difference between jasmine and basmati when it comes to taste.
Aside from its mild nutty flavor, basmati rice is a little spicy. It pairs well with flavorful dishes such as curries and stew.
Jasmine rice, on the other hand, has a slightly sweet taste. This type of long-grain rice complements Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian dishes.
What’s the Best Rice – Basmati or Jasmine Rice?
There is no definite answer as to which one is best between basmati rice vs jasmine rice. Both aromatic rice has distinct features. They are both the best in their respective applications.
Knowing the characteristics, nutritional value and other features of basmati rice and jasmine rice can help you identify which type is perfect for your dish or preferences.