Picking the right type of rice can seem like a difficult decision, particularly if you are not sure of the different types of rice out there, what they mean and how they are supposed to be cooked.
If that’s the case with basmati and jasmine rice, then this article can help you clear some doubts and choose the right rice for your next meal.
What Is Basmati Rice?
Basmati rice is a type of white rice commonly from the Himalayas, India, and Pakistan. This type of rice is long grain and has a nutty flavor with a floral aroma.
This rice is common in rice pilaf, curry, and even Mediterranean dishes, like paella.
One cup of basmati rice is not only high in carbohydrates and calories but also has lots of micronutrients. Specifically, 100g of basmati rice will give you (*):
- 148 calories
- 3.52g protein
- 0 fat
- 32.39g carbohydrates
- 0.7g fiber
These nutrition facts are all based on white basmati rice, but it is possible to find whole-grain kinds, with added fiber, vitamin E, and potassium.
Which basmati rice is the best?
White basmati rice is easier to cook and use, as it is more fluffy and glutinous. It is not as high in fiber and micronutrients as its brown counterpart.
However, being softer can be a good thing in certain cases, as it can not only make the dish flavorful but also have a smoother texture.
The brown basmati rice, on the other hand, is considered to be healthier because it is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, since it contains the entire grain, including the bran and germ, it is harder in texture.
So, the final verdict is up to you, but if the question is about health, go with brown rice. If you want a tasty and decadent dish, go with white basmati rice.
What Is Jasmine Rice?
Jasmine rice is a long-grain type of rice that grows primarily in Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand. It is considered to be of great quality in cooking because it has a sticky and fluffy texture.
This is also aromatic, but it gets its name from the color it has which resembles the jasmine flower. The flavor is also more subtle than basmati, though some consider it similar.
This rice is often easier to use, which is why it is found in stews, accompanying meat, and grain bowls.
As with basmati rice, jasmine rice is not only high in calories and carbohydrates, but also in other micronutrients. Specifically, 100g of jasmine rice will give you (*):
- 148 calories
- 2.82g protein
- 0g fat
- 32.39g carbohydrates
- 0g fiber
The white and brown kinds of jasmine rice may vary in terms of rice, but these also contain thiamine, niacin, and phytonutrients in minimal amounts.
Which jasmine rice is the best?
The white kind of jasmine rice has a sticky texture thanks to its glutinous characteristics. It makes it highly appetizing for mixing with sauces and stews.
This type, though, is higher in carbohydrates but lower in fiber. However, cooking white jasmine rice is easy and results in a very aromatic, soft texture.
Just like brown basmati rice, the brown type of jasmine rice is higher in fiber because it contains the whole grain. It also has a higher content of micronutrients, like beta-carotene, but the texture is firmer and harder to cook. Also, brown jasmine rice isn’t as common as its white counterpart and may be hard to find (*).
In terms of health, brown jasmine rice is better for you, but in terms of cooking, the white kind is tastier and results in a more appetizing flavor and texture.
What Are The Key Differences Between Basmati and Jasmine Rice?
There are many differences between basmati and jasmine rice, despite the similar appearance and aroma. For starters, they come from different geographic locations.
Basmati is originally from the hills of the Himalayas in northern India and Pakistan but now is grown across the world. Jasmine rice, however, is originally from Thailand, but can also be found in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Another key difference is the grain length. While they are both long-grain, jasmine rice is shorter and round, while basmati rice is considered to be one of the longest kinds. When cooked, basmati rice elongates to twice its original size.
The cooking technique is also different for each type of rice. In the case of cooking jasmine rice, it must be washed and rinsed first. This is done to remove the excess starch and dust, then the rice is ready to be steamed, or cooked in a rice cooker.
As for basmati rice, it is usually soaked in water for about an hour or two before cooking. The rice will absorb the water evenly, and should then be boiled in plain or salted water.
Finally, the texture, smell, and flavor vary between these kinds of rice. Basmati for one becomes very fluffy, dry, and aromatic. It also increases in size and length.
Jasmine rice, in contrast, becomes very moist and sticky. The aroma is not noticeable, and the flavor is somewhat inexistent, which is why it is often used to accompany sauces and meats, as it absorbs their taste.
|Main Differences||Basmati Rice||Jasmine Rice|
|Size||Very long rice, twice as long after cooking||Long, but considerably shorter than basmati|
|Color||Creamy white or brown||White, brown, red, purple, black|
|Origin||The Himalayas, India, Pakistan||Thailand|
|Taste and Smell||Nutty, floral, and a bit spicy||Floral and slightly nutty|
|How To Cook||Soak before steaming; great for rice pilaf, curry, paella, and coconut rice||Rinse and clean before steaming; great for soups, stir-fries, roasts, and stews|
|Cooking Time||1 ½ cup white basmati = 20 minutes2 cups brown basmati = 50 minutes||1 ½ cup white jasmine = 20 minutes 2 cups brown jasmine = 45 minutes|
|Calories per 100 gram serving||210 calories||181 calories|
Is Basmati Rice or Jasmine Rice Healthier?
To decide which rice is better for you, a good measure is to use the glycemic index. This is a measure of how quickly your body will absorb the sugar in a carbohydrate. If a food has a high glycemic index, it is absorbed much quicker, thus, raising blood sugar much higher.
Based on this, basmati rice is a healthier option, as it has a glycemic index of 58. In contrast, jasmine rice has a glycemic index of 69-80, depending on how it was cooked. The two have a high carbohydrate count, but basmati rice has more complex fibers and sugar, giving it the lower glycemic index (*).
Basmati will be absorbed more slowly, creating a better effect of fullness, and raising blood sugar slowly, while jasmine will be absorbed quickly, spiking your blood sugar.
In terms of nutrients, both kinds of rice have similar amounts of fiber, protein, fat, and vitamins and minerals. Given the choice, go with basmati, unless you want a fluffier and starchier meal, which sometimes is ideal when you want a side dish that mixes well with sauces and meats.
If we are looking at flavor, basmati is a better choice because it has a stronger aroma and a more intense nutty taste. However, if you want a rice that absorbs sauces or mixes well in soups, jasmine is the right choice. As for health, basmati wins too, so in the end, this rice may be the superior choice.
*Photo by AndreySt and DONOT6 /depositphotos