So what forced you to think about basmati rice substitutes? You might have had lunch at your Indian friend’s house, and you tasted something – the graceful, piquant rice clad in succulent chicken and veggies.
You came to know it was the delicious chicken biryani made using basmati rice. You may not get it as easily as you get tomatoes in a grocery store.
So, what can you come up with that can match the taste of this flavorful rice? Time to switch on the reading bulb. Let us talk about basmati rice substitutes today!
Basmati rice is a rice variety grown dominantly across Asian countries and thus an important ingredient in Asian cuisine. But its genuine and delicious flavor has escalated its popularity and demand across the globe.
When you’re out of basmati rice or in a lazy mood to get to the store to buy it, you can go for a few substitutes that can satisfy your senses. Wondering which are those?
Some of the best basmati rice substitutes are jasmine rice, American long-grain white rice, long-grain brown rice, texmati, arborio, and popcorn rice.
Let us have a really quick look at basmati rice and then talk about best basmati rice substitutes in detail.
Quick Peek: Basmati Rice
The following scribbles tell you what basmati rice is, its flavor, texture, culinary uses, and health benefits.
What Is Basmati Rice?
The word ‘Basmati’ actually comes from the Sanskrit root words ‘Vas’ and ‘Mati’ combined to make ‘Vasmati,’ which means fragrant.
The literal meaning itself beckons to us of its aromatic nature. It even has a proud nickname, ‘The queen of perfumed rice.’ Basmati is a distinctive rice variety that is slender in appearance and rich in fragrance.
According to APEDA, a rice variety is eligible to be called basmati if it has a minimum average precooked milled rice length and breadth of 6.61 mm (0.260 in) and 2 mm (0.079 in).
Types of Basmati Rice
Basmati rice comes in two types; white and brown. White basmati rice is the processed version devoid of hull, bran, and germ. In brown basmati, the hull is only removed. Regardless of the type, basmati rice is a wonderful ingredient with a gratifying taste and flavor.
Describing Basmati Rice: Flavor and Texture
Basmati rice has a pandan-like (Pandanus amaryllifolius leaf) flavor due to an aromatic compound. It has a smooth, fluffy texture when cooked properly.
Did you know there are around 30 verified varieties of this rice? Amazed, right? Pay a visit to India to relish every one of them.
Uses of Basmati Rice
Basmati rice can be used to make many mouthwatering recipes (I can literally smell it right now). It has a taste sensation like no other. The best thing about basmati is that it gets better with time. So, you can fondly call it the champagne of rice. *chuckle*
Basmati Rice On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
If you thought rice was bad for health, you got it wrong. Swap to basmati rice and this aromatic goddess has only goodness to offer you. It is rated as medium-glycemic food, making it suitable for diabetic patients to consume every day.
It is rich in fiber content and other vital nutrients like Vitamin B1, copper, phosphorus, and zinc. Its regular consumption enhances brain and heart health and reduces cancer risk.
Why Should We Substitute Basmati Rice?
Basmati rice is an amazing rice variety that is a delight to be relished. So, why should we find substitutes for it? There are a few reasons.
You might burn a hole in your wallet if you try to buy basmati rice, which is incredibly inexpensive. It is also not a rice variety that can be easily found in grocery stores despite being popular and enjoyed by many.
Owing to its expensive nature and less availability, it is best to be aware of the substitutes for basmati rice that do not hamper the taste of your recipes. So, shall we look into them?
11 Best Basmati Rice Substitutes
Now that we know what basmati rice is, let us talk about the eleven best basmati rice substitutes.
Jasmine rice, also called Thai fragrant rice, is a rice variety with a very strong aroma. Consequently, jasmine rice becomes the best basmati rice substitute which is also known for its fragrance.
The rice is smaller and whiter than Basmati. It has soft an moist texture with a slightly sweet flavor when cooked. If you are health-conscious, you should go for brown jasmine rice.
Wanna know how you can cook the perfect jasmine rice? I know how. Here the recipe for the perfect jasmine rice.
American long-grain white rice is commonly found in most American households. As suggested by the term ‘long grain’, this rice is similar to basmati rice. It has a subtle nutty flavor and may not simulate the flavor of Basmati rice.
Once cooked, the grains are separate and fluffy in texture. The easy availability and lower cost of American long-grain white rice make it a good substitute for Basmati rice.
Long grain rice is used in a variety of dishes. Here is the recipe for Popeyes Cajun rice made with long grain rice. Do try this copycat recipe.
Long grain brown rice is a healthy substitute for basmati rice as it comprises vitamins, minerals, and many other useful compounds.
What makes brown rice highly nutritious is the presence of bran layers left as they are. It has a slight nutty flavor and a chewy texture when cooked.
Want to make an exciting recipe using brown rice? Here’s the recipe for spicy kale and coconut fried rice for you.
4. Texmati Rice
Texmati is a distinctive type of American long-grain white rice. It is also known as American basmati rice cultivated in Texas, USA. It is a hybrid of basmati rice and long-grain white rice.
It does not have the unique fragrance of basmati rice. However, with an addition of seasonings or flavoring agents, you can swap Basmati with Texmati and brighten your recipes.
5. Popcorn Rice
Did you know many deem the smell of Basmati to be similar to that of popcorn? Evidently, popcorn rice can become a perfect choice to replace basmati rice. It also goes by the names wild pecan rice or Louisiana pecan.
This long-grain rice has a distinctive, authentic, rich, nutty popcorn-like aroma that effortlessly emulates the aroma of basmati rice. They also do not stick together once cooked.
Arborio is an Italian rice variety named after the town named Arborio in Italy. It is a short-grain rice that is replete with starch. It is popular for being the rice variety used to make risotto, a famous Italian rice dish.
Arborio is much adored for its chewy, creamy texture rather than its starchy flavor. Precisely for the same reason, it can be a considerable basmati rice substitute. You will have to mind the cost, though (yeah, it is also an expensive rice variety!)
Arborio rice is great for making risottos. Here is the recipe for mushroom risotto that you can make using Arborio rice.
7. Cauliflower Rice
Craving for a basmati substitute that is not rice and has a low carb content? Cauliflower rice should be your ultimate call. It is rice made using cauliflower. Cauliflower florets are shredded or grated to look like rice.
Known for its amazing health benefits, one being that it’s gluten-free, cauliflower rice is a worthy basmati rice substitute.
Cauliflower rice has the flavor of cauliflower, obviously. Sautéing it in olive oil or clarified butter (ghee) can give a sweet flavor to your recipe.
Couscous is basically wheat. It is neither a grain nor a seed and is basically a type of pasta made using durum wheat. Wheat couscous has an indistinct but slightly nutty flavor.
Couscous may not replace basmati rice texturally, but it can absorb any flavor. When used with appropriate seasonings and intense flavorings, couscous should get the job done for you as a substitute for basmati rice.
9. Bulgur Wheat
Bulgur wheat refers to the mix of cracked, parboiled, and dried wheat. You can get it in fine, medium, and coarse varieties. It has a mild nutty flavor and a hard texture. But the best part is that once cooked, bulgur has a soft, chewy texture.
Bulgur wheat may take longer to cook than basmati rice. Nevertheless, the chewy texture of bulgur makes it a good substitute for basmati rice in hot and cold dishes.
Quinoa refers to the highly healthy edible seeds of the quinoa plant. They are a type of pseudocereals or pseudo-grains, which are rich sources of significant proteins. Due to their appearance, they are often wrongly assumed to be a rice variety.
Quinoa seeds have a mild taste, light nutty flavor, and a firm texture, and being gluten-free, they are a good substitute for basmati rice.
Orzo is adorably known as little pasta. It is a variety of pasta made using wheat flour. Orzo looks very similar to rice in structure. It doesn’t have a rich flavor, although we can say that it has a slightly nutty flavor.
Orzo, being not that flavorless, may not give you the characteristic flavor or a close flavor to that of basmati rice. But, it can be basmati rice substitute worth trying because of its chewy texture.
The following points will help you remember the details on best basmati rice substitutes clearly in a jiffy.
Rice-based Substitutes: Jasmine rice, American long-grain white rice, long-grain brown rice, texmati, arborio, and popcorn rice are the best basmati rice substitutes that are based on rice.
Non-rice-based Substitutes: Couscous, bulgur wheat, quinoa, and orzo are the best basmati rice substitutes that are not based on rice.
It is understandable why you wish there were substitutes for basmati rice; less availability and high cost. It could also be because you are creative and experimental and want to try how things work.
Well, I made it easy for you with a list of possible rice and other substitutes for basmati rice. Start your cooking game, and let me know the results in the comments! See you next time with another article on best substitutes!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is jasmine rice and basmati rice the same thing?
Jasmine rice and basmati rice belong to the long-grain rice category, coming from Asia. Jasmine rice has a soft and moist texture while basmati rice has a firm texture.
Is basmati rice healthy?
Basmati rice is a healthy long-grain rice which has energy boosting capabilities. Consumption of basmati rice can reduce the risk of heart diseases and cancer as well.
Which brands of rice can be used to replace basmati rice?
Kasmati rice from RiceSelect company and Della rice from DellaRice are considerable substitutes for basmati rice.
What is special about basmati rice?
Basmati rice has a characteristic flavor and texture. It expands more than its dry form, lengthwise during cooking, unlike other types of rice.