Rice is a starchy staple that is grown in several parts of the world including Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean. You’ll be quite surprised to know that over 40,000 varieties of rice exist and are classified according to the color i.e., white, brown, red and black, size of the grain i.e., long, medium and short and aroma or flavor i.e., jasmine rice, basmati rice, etc. In this article, we are going to answer what's the difference between jasmine rice vs basmati rice.
It may be quite difficult for a layperson to identify the different types of rice and tell the difference. And, when you consider jasmine and basmati rice specifically, people can get confused between the two. So, how can you tell the difference between jasmine rice and basmati rice? Well, read on to know what makes these two rice varieties different from one another.
Jasmine Rice Vs Basmati Rice
Jasmine rice and Basmati rice are both long-grain, aromatic Asian rice varieties that are popular for their superior aroma and delicious flavor. At a glance, both may appear to be quite similar; however, there are many differences between the two.
Originally grown in India, Nepal and Pakistan, basmati rice is long-grain rice, having a floral and nutty flavor. The name “basmati” means “fragrant” in Hindi. This fragrant aromatic rice was later introduced by traders to the Middle East and it became the staple in Persian and Middle Eastern cuisines too.
Jasmine rice is also a long-grain, aromatic variety of rice, which is mainly grown in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Also known as Thai fragrant rice, jasmine rice was grown originally in Thailand.
Known as Khao Hom Mali, this fragrant rice got its name from the sweet-smelling floral jasmine aroma which is released when the rice is cooked. Jasmine rice was mostly cultivated for the royalty of Siam.
Jasmine rice has a nutty, popcorn-like flavor and a shorter grain compared to basmati rice. Both jasmine rice, as well as basmati rice, come in white and brown varieties; however, the white type is used commonly in cooking.
While there may not be a noticeable difference in the appearance of basmati and jasmine rice at a glance; however, when you study them closely, you can tell the difference. Both basmati rice, as well as jasmine rice, are long-grain rice varieties.
However, basmati rice has a needle shape and is longer and slimmer compared to jasmine rice, which has shorter, plumper and rounder grains. Also, jasmine rice is a bit more translucent than basmati rice.
The difference between jasmine and basmati rice becomes more obvious when you cook the rice. Basmati rice retains its slender shape when cooked and the rice becomes fluffier and softer. In fact, the length of the grain doubles when cooked.
On the other hand, the grains of the jasmine rice clump together and form clusters. The basmati rice grains become drier when cooked compared to the jasmine rice, which becomes moist and sticky.
Cooked jasmine rice and basmati rice have different textures and this is because of their molecular structure, as well as the amount of starch each of them contains. Jasmine rice contains amylopectin, which makes it stickier than basmati rice when cooked.
The grains of the jasmine rice do not retain their shape well when cooked and form moist clumps, which makes it easier to eat the rice with chopsticks. Basmati rice has higher amylose levels in the starch, which ensures that the rice grains retain their structure when cooked and gives it a fluffier texture that people love.
Flavor And Aroma
Since both basmati rice and jasmine rice are aromatic rice varieties, they have more flavor and aroma compared to other types of long-grain rice. Both types of rice absorb the flavor of ingredients added such as spices, herbs, etc. and enhance the taste of your dishes.
However, it is important to store the grains properly in an airtight container to ensure that the rice does not lose its flavor, which is so delicate and subtle that they get reduced over time.
Jasmine rice has an aromatic flavor, which is quite different compared to basmati. It has a slightly sweeter and nuttier taste. Basmati rice, on the other hand, has a more fragrant aroma and a nutty taste.
Both jasmine rice, as well as basmati rice, are complex carbohydrates that are easily digested and are a great source of energy for the body, apart from offering several health benefits. Both types of rice come in white or brown varieties.
The white rice is more processed, where the husk, bran and germ are removed from the grain, whereas in brown rice only the husk is removed. And so, brown rice contains more fiber and nutrients and fewer calories and so it is healthier than white rice.
Basmati rice has higher levels of fiber compared to jasmine rice. And higher fiber content helps in better digestion and prevents problems like constipation. White jasmine rice has a higher fiber content of 1 gram compared to white basmati rice, which has 0.7 grams; however, brown basmati rice has a higher amount of fiber, around 2.9 grams compared to brown jasmine rice, which contains 2 grams.
White basmati rice contains 2% or iron, while white jasmine rice does not contain any iron. However, brown jasmine rice contains around 2% iron, while the iron content in brown basmati is around 4%.
In terms of calories, a cup of cooked white jasmine rice contains 210 calories compared to a cup of cooked white basmati rice, which contains 181 calories. Also, jasmine rice has more carbs i.e., 45 grams compared to basmati rice, which has around 39.85 grams of carbs.
Basmati rice has a lower glycemic index of 58 compared to jasmine rice whose glycemic index is 109, which makes basmati rice a better option for people with diabetes. It also helps you to feel fuller for a longer period and controls your appetite.
And so, when you compare jasmine rice and basmati rice, in terms of nutrition, basmati rice, specifically the brown variety, is a much healthier option. Nevertheless, you can include and enjoy both these varieties of rice as a part of a balanced diet.
It is important to wash the rice before cooking it to remove any dust and debris from the rice, as well as the excess starch. Rinse the rice properly by running it under cold water. Drain the water and refill with fresh water.
Repeat this process until the water runs clear. Then add the rice to a pot and fill it with water until it covers the rice. Use around 1 to 1.5 cups of water for 1 cup of rice. Season with salt, cover and allow it to simmer for around 10-15 minutes over low heat until the rice absorbs the water.
Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia
India, Nepal and Pakistan
White and brown
White and brown
Grain Size & Shape
Has shorter, plumper and rounder grains
Long needle shape grain and is slimmer than jasmine rice
Flavor and Aroma
Aromatic and slightly sweet and nutty
Has a more fragrant aroma and a nutty taste
Just as for the jasmine rice, the basmati rice too should be rinsed thoroughly before you cook it. However, for basmati rice, it is recommended to soak the grains for 30 minutes to 2 hours before cooking it. This will allow the grains to absorb the water partially and help the rice to cook uniformly and all the way through. Once the rice is soaked, drain it.
Fill the container with around 1.5-1.75 cups of water for 1 cup of rice and add the rice. Allow it to boil on medium to high heat. Once the water boils, reduce the heat and cover the pot, allowing it to simmer for around 15-20 minutes until the rice absorbs all the water.
Remove the container from the heat and let the rice sit for around 5 minutes. Fluff the rice up using a fork and serve. Adding some oil or butter to the rice will prevent the grains from clumping up together and maintain the fluffy texture.
So, now that you know the differences between jasmine rice and basmati rice, their origin, appearance, texture, flavor and nutritional profiles, you know exactly which variety to use in your dishes.
Basmati rice works best for Indian, Middle Eastern and Pakistani cuisine, while if you’re cooking Thai, Vietnamese or Cambodian cuisine, then jasmine rice is the best. So, the next time you’re at the grocery store, you can be clear about which aromatic long grain rice to choose.