A mind-blowing 40,000+ varieties of rice exist on our planet. Although there are a lot less on the supermarket shelf, it’s still easy to get them confused. A common question that pops up is: basmati vs jasmine rice – what’s the difference? At a glance, the raw versions look quite similar but they have some significant differences once cooked. Let’s dive in and compare the two as well as look at what dishes they’re best suited to in the kitchen.
|Type of rice||Long grain||Long grain|
|Cooked Characteristics||Fluffy, dry texture with aromatic flavor and nutty undertone||Moist, plump sized rice with fragrant aroma of jasmine.|
|Recommended dishes||Pilaf, rice salad, curry, served on its own with saffron||Thai curries, rice mounds, as a side dish.|
|Preparation||Soak for 30-60 minutes||Wash and drain off water|
Basmati and jasmine rice are both long grain, white varieties that have similar appearance. They also share similar aromatic properties, although there are subtle differences. You could substitute one rice for the other without having a recipe melt-down.
Basmati: Indian, Pakistani, Middle Eastern.
Jasmine: Southeast Asian cooking.
Basmati rice originated from India and Pakistan and is grown in substantial volumes around the Himalayan foothills. This food staple was initially taken by food traders and sold through the Middle East before eventually becoming used worldwide.
Jasmine rice came from Thailand originally and was grown for the Kingdom of Siam. Over time, new variations of jasmine rice were produced in other countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia.
Cooked flavor and texture
Cooked basmati has a fluffy, dry texture with aromatic flavor and aroma. Basmati has a nutty undertone. The grains extend in length once cooked and don’t clump together.
Jasmine rice, once cooked, is moist and plumper in size and releases a fragrant aroma of jasmine. Jasmine has a slightly less pronounced flavor than basmati with a more floral undertone.
Both types of rice could be used interchangeably in a saucy dish and most wouldn’t know the difference. Each variety does have its uses though.
Basmati grains remain loose once cooked and make an excellent addition to pilafs, rice salads and curries or simply serves on its own with saffron.
Jasmine rice tends to gently clump together but not enough to make the rice appear stodgy. This feature makes jasmine ideal for use with chopsticks – delicious with Thai curries or for creating an impressive looking rice mound.
Size of grain
The visual appearance of basmati and jasmine rice is very similar with both being long grain and white. Jasmine rice is a little shorter and rounder. Once cooked, basmati extends in length and is visibly longer than jasmine.
We’ve included the nutritional tables for jasmine and basmati rice below. They have similar amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrates.
|Basmati Rice (1 Cup)||Jasmine Rice (1 Cup)|
Keep in mind these are average values and can range higher or lower depending on the brand.
Basmati: Soak rice for 30-60 minutes allowing the water to be absorbed. The end result will be a more evenly cooked rice. Rinse and steam for best results.
- Add a splash of oil or butter to help keep the grains from clumping.
- Additional herbs and spices like bay leaves or saffron will enhance the depth of flavor in the rice.
Jasmine: Wash and drain off water prior to cooking to remove any excess starch or dust. Boil or steam the rice for best results.
When it comes to rice, basmati and jasmine rice are both commonly found in the supermarket and they look quite similar before being cooked. Personally, I really enjoy both of these types of rice. When cooking Indian, I’ll often use basmati whereas jasmine is the preferred option for Thai cuisine.
When it comes to rice, there aren’t too many hard and fast rules. Swapping one for the other is okay and few would pick up that you’ve altered the recipe. But keep in mind that they have some subtle differences which makes each more suitable for certain dishes.
Most importantly, jasmine tends to lightly clump so it’s not the best option for tossing into high heat, stir fry dishes. Basmati has many uses but it works well in dishes where you want the rice to stay separated such as a rice salad.