Hi, in this post I would like to describe two extremely aromatic varieties of rice, and of course answer the question – what is the difference between jasmine and basmati rice. This is not a simple question because both varieties have many common features.
Moreover, we have many types of these two rice varieties which also differ from each other. However, if we look at jasmine rice and basmati a little closer we’ll notice some differences.
So, where do we start?
I think at the beginning I’ll briefly discuss the origins of jasmine and basmati rice. Then I’ll go to the characteristics, taste and health. Finally, I’ll write a few words on how to cook both varieties of rice to bring out the depth of their taste.
Jasmine and Basmati One Species
Rice can be divided into several species. The most popular are Indica, Javanica and Japonica. Both basmati and jasmine rice belong to Indica species. This species is the oldest of the listed and characterized by long and almost transparent grains.
In addition, this species grains are very hard, so the process of cleaning the rice is quite difficult. However, this hardness makes the rice grains loose and maintain their integrity. As a result, both jasmine and basmati varieties are excellent as an addition to larger dishes such as salads or as a component of fried foods.
How Do These Species Grow
Jasmine rice is grown mainly in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. The cultivation of jasmine rice in Thailand besides having a long tradition also have a big impact on the economy of this country. Jasmine rice is one of Thailand’s major export commodities.
Thanks to the different weather and topographic conditions in different parts of Thailand, different types of rice are cultivated. The most famous type of jasmine rice is growing at the foot of the Himalayas where it has been cultivated for hundreds of years.
Jasmine rice is usually grown in the monsoon season. Suitable weather conditions associated with monsoon rains are needed to make this type of rice the best. Of course there are jasmine rice growing where not so much attention is attached to the season, but then according to many experts rice isn’t so delicious.
The homeland of basmati rice is India where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. Then it was popularized in neighboring countries thanks to Indian merchants. Currently, basmati rice is one of the most popular varieties of rice in the world. The largest crops of this rice are in India and Pakistan.
When it comes to growing, basmati needs a lot of sunshine and plenty of water like most rice varieties. Therefore, just as with jasmine rice, the monsoon season in India is the best time for growing this rice variety.
Jasmine and Basmati Rice Aroma Difference
Jasmine rice distinguishes on the background of other rice varieties with distinct jasmine aroma. If you try this rice, apart from jasmine, you’ll also appreciate the delicate walnut flavor that is characteristic for this variety.
Of course, to make this flavor has not disappeared, the rice should be stored in appropriate conditions and be fresh.
There are many types of jasmine rice that are slightly different in taste and smell. The taste and aroma of each type is related to the area of Thailand where it’s grown. I mean, not only the weather conditions but also the terrain topography and the mineral composition of the soil.
Basmati rice, like jasmine rice is a very aromatic and delicate variety of rice. However, the smell that accompanies this rice during cooking is slightly different. When you cook basmati you can feel in the kitchen a delicate scent of sandalwood, the taste of this rice variety is a bit earthy.
The grains of this rice are semi-translucent and long, as in the case of jasmine rice, while cooking may be even longer. This works great for dishes such as dolma or rice pancakes.
The types of basmati rice are dozens. They differ in subtle ways not only in taste but also in other qualities such as grain size. Of course, each of these varieties is adapted to the right conditions to grow as best as possible.
Appearance and Shape of Grains
Fine grains of jasmine rice except that they have longitudinal shape and high hardness, they give the impression of delicate. This delicacy in combination with jasmine aroma, gives the feeling of finesse. That’s why many people value this variety and use it in dishes where the rice can enrich it not only with taste but also with the aesthetic side.
The jasmine rice is present in two variants, white with removed the outer cover and brown with a sheath that covers the endosperm. Of course, this brown shell not only changes the look of rice, but also the nutritional value.
If you eat healthy food and pay attention to what you eat, then you should diversify your diet by eating both brown and white variety of rice. More on this topic I’ll write below.
Basmati rice looks very similar to jasmine rice. As I wrote at the beginning these two varieties of rice come from the same species. So, features such as clear aroma or longitudinal grain shape are very similar.
Nutrition and Health Benefits
We have many types of basmati rice and many types of jasmine rice. Therefore, it’s difficult to unequivocally determine the nutritional and caloric values of these varieties. However, for the purpose of this post I’ll try to give approximate caloric values for 1 cup of both varieties of rice.
One cup of white jasmine rice has about 200 calories. Most of the nutrients are carbohydrates – about 45 grams, depending on the type of rice may be a little more or less, 4 – 4.5 grams of proteins and about 0.5 grams of fat.
Basmati rice (white) is a bit more caloric, one cup of this rice has 250 calories, 55 grams of carbohydrates, about 6 grams of protein and 0.5 grams of fat.
Of course, brown jasmine and basmati rice are much more nutritious varieties. They have a shell rich in many vitamins and minerals.
If we talk about health benefits, both varieties of brown rice, jasmine and basmati positively contribute to lowering bad cholesterol. There are also many valuable vitamins and minerals, mainly B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin E, magnesium and selenium.
In addition, these rice varieties contain antioxidants which have a positive effect on the nervous system.
Unfortunately, white jasmine rice has a high glycemic index which according to many sources is over 80 and even 100. Therefore this variety of rice isn’t recommended for diabetics. The situation is different in the case of basmati rice which has a “medium” glycemic index, between 55 and 70.
Therefore, if you care for a good figure, eating low glycemic foods will help you feel full longer. High glycemic index foods quickly increase blood sugar levels, but unfortunately, this level is rapidly decreasing and we are getting hungry again. The food that is slowly absorbed by our bodies allows you to feel full longer.
How to Cook Jasmine and Basmati Rice
Generally there are two ways to prepare white rice.
The first one is cooking.
- Pour water into the selected dish. It can be a saucepan or a pot, no matter. The amount of water should be adequate to the amount of rice you want to cook. Usually, we pour four times more water than the volume of rice grains.
- Heat the water until it starts to boil.
- Put the rice into boiling water and cook on low heat until it becomes soft.
- Pour out water and leave rice on a strainer for about a minute.
- Rinse the rice under running water to get rid of excess starch. Thanks to this grains should not stick together.
This type of cooking is recommended by many dieticians. If you care about your silhouette, this way of preparing rice is best for you.
The second method of rice preparation is absorption.
- Pour the right amount of water into the pot and add a little salt. This time you should pour one and a half times more water than the amount of rice you want to cook, eg if you want to cook 100 g of rice you need 150 ml of water.
- Then cook rice until boiling.
- When the water begins to boil, mix the rice, reduce the heat and cover the pot with the lid.
- Cook until the rice absorbs all the water.
These are traditional ways to cook rice. Probably if you are cooking from time to time for sure you know them.
The Best Way to Cook Rice
The traditional way of cooking is very simple, but you need to have some practice to cook the best rice.
There is a much simpler and more effective method of cooking that will allow you to extract the full flavor of rice in a very simple way. As you prabobly know rice (including jasmine) is most popular in Asian countries. Nowadays, many people living in the Far East have rice cookers.
This type of appliance is a very convenient and easy way to cook rice or dishes based on rice. The rice cookers that are available for sale are fully computerized and thanks to the latest technology they cook rice in the perfect way.
Just select the right option, such as jasmine rice if you want to cook this kind of rice, pour the appropriate amount of water and press the button. You don’t have to worry about the rest, the device will cook perfect jasmine rice for you. I recommend you my list of the top 5 rice cookers, which is available on this website.
In my opinion rice cooker, it’s the easiest and best option to extract the full flavor of rice.
I hope you learned a lot of interesting stuff from this post. If you have any questions or would like to add something from you, please feel free to comment.