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14 Interesting Facts About Jasmine Rice

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Introduction

Jasmine rice is a long-grain variety of fragrant rice that is popularly used in Southeast Asian cooking. With its pleasant floral aroma, soft and sticky texture, and slightly sweet nutty flavor, jasmine rice is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes.

While jasmine rice likely originated in Thailand, its use has spread across the globe. As this aromatic grain increases in popularity, there is much to learn about its history, cultivation, nutrition, and culinary applications.

Below are 14 fascinating facts about jasmine rice that provide insight into this unique variety of rice.

Interesting Facts About Jasmine Rice

Interesting Facts About Jasmine Rice

  1. Jasmine rice was first cultivated in Thailand in the 1950s. A farmer named Choowong first grew the hom mali rice variety in Thailand’s Chao Phraya Valley in the mid-1900s. The rice was given the name “jasmine” in the 1960s when it was exported to the United States, due to its pleasant floral scent resembling jasmine flowers.
  2. There are over 100 varieties of jasmine rice. While jasmine rice originated in Thailand, many countries have developed their own varieties over the years. Today there are over 100 types of jasmine rice coming from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, and the United States. Some popular varieties include Khao Dawk Mali 105, Dawk Mali 105, and Jasmine 85.
  3. It contains almost no fat but lots of carbs. One cup of cooked jasmine rice contains about 45 grams of carbohydrates, coming mainly from starch, and provides 205 calories. The same portion contains less than 1 gram of fat. So while jasmine rice is high in carbs, it’s low in fat.
  4. Jasmine rice is naturally gluten-free. For those with celiac disease or who follow a gluten-free diet, jasmine rice is a safe grain option. It does not contain gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley and rye that causes issues for those sensitive to it.
  5. It has a high glycemic index. The glycemic index is a value given to foods based on how slowly or quickly they impact your blood sugar levels. Jasmine rice has a moderately high glycemic index of 109, which means it can rapidly raise blood sugar. This makes it less ideal for those with diabetes.
  6. Brown jasmine rice is more nutritious. White jasmine rice is more commonly found and consumed, but brown jasmine rice is the whole grain form with only the outermost hull removed. Brown jasmine rice retains more vitamins, minerals, fiber and beneficial plant compounds that provide health advantages over white varieties.
  7. Jasmine rice is aged for a minimum of 1 year. High quality jasmine rice goes through a specialized production process. After harvest, it must be aged for at least 12 months to allow flavor and aroma compounds to fully develop. Proper aging is key to jasmine rice’s distinctive fragrant quality.
  8. It has a soft, sticky texture when cooked. Thanks to its higher starch content, cooked jasmine rice has a soft, almost sticky texture and is moist compared to other long grain rices. The grains cling together yet remain separate and fluffy when properly cooked.
  9. Jasmine rice is popular across Asia. As a versatile base for meals, jasmine rice is popular in Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian cuisine. Dishes like Thai curry, stir-fried rice, biryani and more are often served with this aromatic long-grain rice.
  10. It’s becoming popular globally. While Southeast Asian cuisine is responsible for introducing jasmine rice to many, its pleasant flavor and texture have led to growing popularity in Europe, North America, Australia and beyond. It can readily be found in supermarkets internationally.
  11. There are purple and black jasmine rice varieties. While white is the most common jasmine rice color, specialty black and purple varieties exist. The anthocyanin pigments providing the dark colors also deliver health-promoting antioxidant properties.
  12. Jasmine rice goes through specialized processing. To produce the highest quality grain, harvested jasmine rice goes through parboiling, drying, removing husks, and polishing steps. Precision helps bring out jasmine rice’s desirable taste, texture and scent.
  13. It’s one of the most expensive rice varieties. Thanks to jasmine rice’s extensive production requirements and high consumer demand, it fetches a higher price than other rice varieties. Its delicate flavor and fragrance make it a premium pantry staple.
  14. The cooking method impacts texture. Preparing the perfect pot of fluffy jasmine rice requires care. Using too much water can cause soggy rice, while inadequate moisture leads to dry, separated grains. Proper rice-to-water ratios and cooking methods help achieve the ideal tender bite.

jasmine rice

FAQ

What is Jasmine Rice?

Jasmine rice is a long-grain variety of fragrant rice known for its aroma, reminiscent of pandan and popcorn. It’s native to Thailand and commonly used in various dishes for its fluffy texture and slightly sticky quality when cooked.

How do you cook Jasmine Rice?

To cook jasmine rice, use a 1:1.25 ratio of rice to water. Bring the water to a boil, add the rice, stir, and then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 18-20 minutes, then remove from heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Is Jasmine Rice healthier than regular white rice?

Jasmine rice is a good source of fiber and contains some calcium. It is considered a healthier option compared to regular white rice due to these nutrients, though it’s best consumed in moderation due to its glycemic index.

What dishes is Jasmine Rice best used for?

Jasmine rice is versatile and can be served as a side dish to curries or stir-fries. It’s also ideal for making pilafs or fried rice due to its fluffy texture and ability to absorb flavors well.

What’s the difference between Jasmine Rice and Basmati Rice?

Jasmine rice and basmati rice are both long-grain varieties, but jasmine rice is shorter and plumper with a softer texture when cooked. Basmati rice is longer and has a firmer texture with a drier character. Jasmine rice also has a more pronounced aroma compared to the subtle, nutty fragrance of basmati.

Conclusion

From its origins in Thailand to rising international popularity, jasmine rice has captivated taste buds with its floral aroma and sticky texture. Its unique production methods bring out signature qualities setting it apart from other rice varieties.

Beyond basic nutrition, vibrant purple and black jasmine rices even deliver health advantages. While white jasmine rice dominates the market, flavorful brown jasmine offers more fiber and beneficial plant compounds.

Understanding what makes jasmine rice special allows cooks to better appreciate this aromatic staple. So the next time you enjoy jasmine rice with your meal, remember a few of these interesting facts about what makes this grain one-of-a-kind.


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