Smelling faintly of flowers and popcorn, jasmine rice is one of the more exotic ingredients you can stock in your pantry. This southeast Asia staple comes as either white or brown rice. If your recipe calls for brown jasmine rice or Thai brown rice, it's referring to the less-processed version of regular jasmine rice. Jasmine rice may be more expensive than some other types, but its distinctive aroma and ability to clump make it ideal for many Asian dishes.
Master the Basics
For brown jasmine rice, the rice to water ratio is 1 cup dry rice to 1 ¾ cup water. Use about 1 tablespoon of optional oil or butter for every 1 cup of rice used. The 1 cup of dry rice will make about four to six servings. For a crowd of up to 10, use 2 cups of the dry brown Jasmine rice, 3 ½-cups water and the optional 2 tablespoons of oil or butter.
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To cook up a basic Thai brown rice side dish, combine the desired amounts of rice, water and optional butter or oil in an uncovered 2- or 3-quart saucepan. Bring the heat to high. Once the water boils, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes. Next, remove the pot from the burner and leave the covered pot to sit for about 10 minutes. This will further steam the rice.
Resist the temptation to lift the lid and check the rice during the simmering and steaming stages. If the grains are too crunchy after the steaming period is over, add a small amount of water and then return the pot to the burner to heat for a few more minutes. You may need to adjust your rice to water ratio for future recipes.
Get to Know the Aromatics
Brown jasmine rice belongs to the aromatic family of rice. This category consists of varieties that are medium to long grained with a fluffy texture when cooked. As the name suggests, aromatic rice types do indeed have a distinctive, pleasant scent. Both the flavor and scent are usually described as nutty or even popcorn-like with jasmine rice varieties also having an overlay of floral notes.
The two major types of aromatic rice both hail from the southern Asia region. Basmati rice is typically grown in India, while brown and white jasmine rice varieties are a major export of Thailand and Vietnam.
Like wine and cheese, higher-end versions of aromatic rice can be aged to bring out a more intense aroma and flavor. Once packaged, however, these qualities dissipate, so true gourmands seek out the most recently released jasmine rice.
Choosing Between White and Brown
Like most types of rice, jasmine grains are sold in both white and brown versions. All brown rice is less processed than white. Leaving the germ and bran intact makes brown rice healthier in terms of fiber, vitamins and mineral content. Brown rice is also less yielding, and many people prefer this chewier texture.
Both Thai brown rice and Thai white rice have their advantages and disadvantages, especially when it comes to specific dishes. Brown jasmine rice is denser than white jasmine rice. If you're looking for fluffiness in a side dish, white jasmine is a better choice. Brown jasmine rice is also stickier, making it a great choice to serve as a stuffing grain, to mold into shapes or to eat with chopsticks.
Using Brown Jasmine Rice
In a pinch, aromatics may be used interchangeably or even with other long-grained rice varieties like Carolina, wild pecan or popcorn rice. However, for best results, use brown jasmine rice in dishes that allow its clumping, sticky characteristics to really shine.
Thai rice recipes are an obvious place to start. Look for main course rice bowl recipes in which the Thai brown rice pairs with proteins like shrimp and cubed fish along with curry seasonings, scallions and salt and pepper to taste.