Ah, rice. A hardworking yet humble grain, often overlooked as a beautiful thing in its own right and valued most as a supporting player—and it is great at propping up other dishes.
There are more than 40,000 types of rice cultivated in the world (from arborio to carnaroli, sticky to sushi, black to brown, and white to wild (which is actually a type of grass)), but today, let’s look at two of the most common and beguiling examples: jasmine and basmati rice.
Jasmine rice hails from Thailand, while basmati comes from India and Pakistan. They are both of the long grain variety, which means they cook up fluffy and not very sticky, so their grains remain distinct, although jasmine is plumper, softer, and a bit more moist than basmati, which has a firmer chew and drier character.
Basmati grains are extra long and thin, and many sources say they benefit from soaking, whereas the shorter, wider grains of jasmine rice just need a few quick rinses to remove excess starch (and you can even skip this step if you are really lazy don’t mind a bit more stickiness).
Both basmati and jasmine rice are especially aromatic, sharing the 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline compound that gives them both a pandan-like or popcorn-esque aroma, but basmati has a nuttier quality, while jasmine rice is more faintly floral.