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Jasmine Rice Vs. Basmati Rice: Here's How to Tell the Difference

Jasmine Rice Vs. Basmati Rice
Both jasmine rice and basmati rice are long grain, aromatic rice varieties. While they may look similar, there are a number of differences between these two types of rice. Tastessence pits jasmine vs. basmati rice and looks at the differences between the two.
Parul Solanki
Last Updated: Mar 21, 2018
Red yeast rice
"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2000 of something."
― Mich Ehrenborg
As you stroll through the aisles of the grocery store, you see a number of rice varieties. Isn't rice just rice, and how are these rice different from one another? Yes, they might look the same once they're milled to remove the bran and germ, but surprisingly there are approximately 40,000 varieties of rice out there. This starchy staple is grown in large parts of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The bewildering array of rice are often classified based on their grain size (short, medium, or long), color (red, white, brown, and black), and flavor or aroma (such as basmati rice, jasmine rice, etc.)

Jasmine rice and basmati rice are two famous Asian rice varieties that are well-known for their delicious flavor and superior aroma. These medium to long grain rice types pair well with many dishes, whether it is a Thai red prawn curry or a spicy Indian curries. While many people tend to confuse these rice variants, there are certain differences between jasmine rice and basmati rice. This Tastessence article lists out some points that will help you differentiate between the two types of rice.
Jasmine vs. Basmati Rice
Jasmine rice on wood plate.
Jasmine rice, also known as Thai Fragrant Rice, was originally grown in Thailand, where it is known as Khao Hom Mali. It was first cultivated for the royalty of the Kingdom of Siam. The sweet-smelling jasmine flowery aroma that is released when cooked is the reason behind its name. Some types of jasmine rice are also found in Cambodia and Vietnam.
Basmati rice in bowl
Basmati, which literally means the "full of fragrance", is grown in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India and Pakistan. There are some varieties that are grown in the U.S. as well. In India, it has been grown for centuries. Later traders introduced this fragrant rice to the Middle East. Since then, it has become a staple in Middle Eastern and Persian cuisines as well.
Grain Size
Both jasmine and basmati rice are long-grain rice types. However, jasmine rice is slightly shorter and rounder as compared to basmati which is very long, slender, and needle-shaped. The grains of basmati elongate to almost twice their size after being cooked. They also become softer and fluffier.
Cooking Technique
Washing Rice
Before cooking jasmine rice, you need to wash the rice and drain out the water. This removes the dust and excess starch. The rice can then be steamed or cooked using the absorption method, which involves cooking the aromatic rice in a measured amount of water, which the rice absorbs completely.
Basmati rice soak in bowl
Before cooking basmati rice, it is advisable to soak it in water for half an hour to two hours. The grains of rice absorb water during the time the rice is soaked. This ensures even cooking. The rice is then boiled in plain or salted water.
Texture After Cooking
Jasmine rice basmati rice
After cooking, the grains of basmati become dry and fluffy. It expands and increases dramatically in length as well. In contrast, jasmine rice, after being cooked, becomes moist and sticky.
Nutrition Facts
Both jasmine and basmati rice contain complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are essential for good health as they are quickly digested, and are rapidly made available to the muscles and other body systems, and is therefore a perfect source of energy.
The calorie content of both rice types vary, with one cup of jasmine rice having 205 calories, and one cup of basmati rice containing 238 calories. Both are low-fat, low-cholesterol foods. The brown basmati and brown jasmine rice contain lesser carbs, more fiber, and additional fat as well. They are thus, healthier as compared to the white rice variants
Iron Content
Brown basmati rice, however, contains around 4% iron as compared to the 2% iron in brown jasmine rice. Moreover, white basmati rice does contain approximately 2% iron. White jasmine rice does not contain any iron.
Glycemic Index
The glycemic index of both rice types vary greatly. The GI measures how quickly foods get digested, and how fast glycogen (sugar) enters into the blood stream. If the food is broken down quickly and releases glucose rapidly into the bloodstream, it has high GI as compared to foods that break down slowly and release lesser glucose. Slower releasing carbohydrates are considered better as they prevent fluctuation of blood sugar levels, which leads to a spike in your appetite. Eating low GI foods is essential, especially for diabetics.

Plain white jasmine rice has a high GI of approximately 109 as compared to basmati rice which has a GI of 58. With low GI foods like basmati, you can keep hunger and your weight in control.
So, the next time you are out shopping for rice and are confused with the long-grain aromatic rice, do keep these differences in mind to help you choose the best rice for your needs.