Do you ever wonder, “Why is jasmine rice called jasmine rice?”
If yes, the good thing is you’re not alone.
According to Think Rice, there are over 120,000 types and forms of rice worldwide, and Thailand’s jasmine grain has 105 varieties to its credit.
Jasmine grain is a type of aromatic long-grain rice that is typically used in cuisines throughout Southeast Asia. It’s easy to prepare and goes well with different dishes, including Thai curries, Vietnamese pho, Chinese lo mein, and Middle Eastern kabsa.
If you’ve ever wondered how it got its name, “Jasmine,” you’re in the right place.
You’ll find out shortly as you read on.
What Is Jasmine Rice?
Jasmine is a type of long-grain white rice with a distinctive fragrance, which has become popular in many countries in recent decades. It is prepared by soaking the rice in water before steaming and letting it dry until the grains turn translucent.
Unlike other varieties of white rice, this rice does not contain as much starch and maintains a relatively moist and soft texture when cooked.
It is also one of the most popular rice because it’s such a versatile variety. It gives off a strong and natural aroma when heated, making it perfect for all sorts of dishes, from curries to stir-fries.
The grains are also very light, making them a favorite for those looking for something healthier on their plate. It comes in various colors like red, brown, black, and white and has different appearances and tastes.
Additionally, this rice can be boiled in plain water or broth to make vermicelli or fried in oil to make fried rice.
How Did Jasmine Rice Get Its Name?
“Jasmine rice” (or “jasmine,” for short) simply means “with the scent of jasmine flowers.” Jasmines are actually not rice at all but rather a kind of flower. They grow in Asia from southern China through Japan and Korea to Vietnam and Thailand, where they’re used as both food and perfume.
If you’re familiar with Thai food, you’ll know that this rice is a staple. It’s so important to the cuisine that it even has its own name!
Khao Hom Mali, or “jasmine rice,” is the most common type of white rice eaten in Thailand. The name Khao hom mali is the locally correct name. “Khao hom” simply means “rice,” and “mali” is the local way of saying “fragrant,” which comes from the Thai word malaeng, meaning “aroma.”
Although jasmine varieties are equally grown in southern Vietnam, Cambodia, etc., the most famous type is probably Thai jasmine grain. This rice is known for its fragrance, which is only noticeable when cooked or allowed to dry out.
In addition to being highly aromatic, the Thai jasmine rice is considered to have a higher nutritional value than other rice, and most people still believe the best jasmine grain is grown in Thailand.
In general, this rice is best known as a cooking ingredient, particularly in Asian dishes like pad thai, fried rice, and stir-fries.
On the other hand, the jasmine flower is still famous for its sweet smell and is used in aromatic products such as soaps, candles, perfumes, etc.
5 Health Benefits of Eating Jasmine Rice
Check out these five benefits that come from eating jasmine:
1. It contains folic acid for pregnant women
Folic acid is necessary for new cells in the body to be formed, so those who don’t consume enough of it may have birth defects, specifically spina bifida, which can be very devastating to a family.
Folic acid is found in citrus fruits, liver, and bread. However, eating jasmine grain can help with this issue, as it also contains this nutrient.
2. It can boost immunity
Although brown jasmine has a relatively high glycemic index, it is a good source of vitamin B2, which improves the immune system’s ability to fight infections.
It also contains zinc, iron, copper, and selenium that help your body absorb vitamins A and C. Eating this rice helps maintain healthy hair as well.
3. It helps control blood sugar levels
The fiber in this type of rice keeps you feeling full for longer. This means less snacking between meals.
Studies have shown that people who eat whole grains like brown jasmine grain have lower insulin levels than those who eat refined white foods. Insulin plays an important role in regulating glucose (blood sugar) levels in the body.
4. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
Eating this dish can reduce inflammation due to its high magnesium content. Magnesium reduces inflammation by relaxing muscles and easing spasms.
5. It supports digestive health
Whole-grain foods such as brown rice are more digestible than their refined white counterparts.
Brown jasmine grain contains better nutrients including lignans than regular long-grain white rice. Lignans in rice may support breast cancer prevention and reduce heart disease risks because they act as antioxidants.
This versatile rice is definitely one of the most popular forms of rice when it comes to cooking and eating. It’s not only delicious but has several health benefits that make it a good choice for you.
Which Is Healthier Between White and Brown Jasmine Rice?
Brown jasmine is more healthy. That is because it has a higher fiber and protein content which helps digestive health.
Also, it is less processed and has a lower glycemic index than white rice. Consequently, it’s more health-friendly, especially for people who have diabetes.
10 Classic Dishes You Can Make With Jasmine Rice
1. Fried rice
Fried rice is one dish that never fails to impress. Add this rice to any recipe where you would normally use white rice and enjoy the extra texture and flavor.
2. Jasmine rice salad
A refreshing salad loaded with crunchy veggies and tossed with creamy dressing. Jasmine grain is perfect for this recipe. Try making this salad as part of your lunch or dinner menu.
3. Spicy stir-fry vegetables
Add your rice to this traditional Chinese cuisine recipe to get all the added texture and nutrition from this versatile rice.
4. Thai curry soup
Jasmine grain pairs beautifully with Thai curry recipes. Make this soup at home to enjoy a warm bowl of comfort every time.
5. Chicken jalfrezi
The rice goes perfectly with Indian cuisine. Try out this chicken jalfrezi recipe to get the most out of this tasty meal.
6. Ginger beef
This beef dish is simple to prepare and will go down well with family and friends. Jasmine provides extra fiber and protein to this meat dish, making it filling and nutritious.
7. Coconut rice pudding
Coconut milk is poured over fluffy rice pudding for a deliciously sweet dessert. If you love coconut, try serving this dessert for breakfast too.
8. Tofu fried rice
Tossing tofu into stir fry dishes is a popular way of enjoying this versatile soy product. Here, you can add jasmine grain to give this dish an extra boost.
9. Japanese ramen
Ramen noodles are often used in Japan and China as a quick and convenient source of nourishment. They are made by boiling ramen noodles (or instant noodles) before dipping them in stock.
The result is a complete meal in just minutes. For variety, you can experiment with different toppings like egg, bacon bits, cheese, etc. Adding rice with noodles is a popular choice among Japanese people. Go ahead and try it out.
10. Jasmine grain cake
Rice cakes are good protein and carbohydrate sources; you can make this delicacy with jasmine brown rice. They are also low in calories and have healthy amounts of nutrients. Rice cakes have sweet and spicy flavors, so you don’t miss out on anything by choosing this option.
Is brown jasmine low carb?
Yes, brown jasmine rice has lower calories and carbs, unlike white jasmine grain. This is due to its fiber and nutrient-rich content. Also, a ¼ cup serving of brown rice has about 34g of carbs which is less than its counterpart.
Should you eat jasmine rice daily?
No, you don’t have to. If you must, then avoid exceeding 6 ounces of grain a day. Better still, ask your doctor or dietitian for a nutritional plan.
Why do bodybuilders use jasmine rice?
Brown jasmine grain retains its germ and bran layers which contain nutrients like bone-strengthening phosphorus, B vitamins, etc. Hence, it’s a favorite for bodybuilders.
If you enjoy eating rice, especially jasmine rice, it’s safe to say you enjoyed learning something new about this dish. To date, it is popular in Asian cuisine and is cultivated mainly in Thailand. It’s loaded with nutrients and can be of immense benefit to you.
Thank you for reading.
Did you find this insightful? Read more about jasmine meals here on Cheffist.