Curry Rice Salad

Studded with veggies and crunchy apple, curry rice salad is a perfect potluck side dish recipe or make-ahead lunch. Use freshly cooked or leftover rice.

Curry Rice Salad Recipe in a Bowl

Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

Years ago when I was living in Japan I bought a high-tech rice cooker with a 14 hour timer and settings for white and brown rice. Occasionally I would make much too much rice, especially brown rice. Not wanting to eat it plain, I invented this curry rice salad as tasty way to stretch out my rice leftovers.

Over the years the recipe has expanded beyond curry, cilantro, apples, and raisins to include many other ingredients, again usually whatever might work that's in the fridge.

This curry salad is ideal to cook ahead as the flavors blend better after the salad has sat in the refrigerator overnight. And it is easy to cook in large quantities for summer potlucks and barbeques.

Curry Rice Salad in a Bowl

Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

Curry Rice Salad

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 60 mins
Total Time 70 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings
Yield 8 cups

The secret to this recipe is the cilantro, raisins, and chopped apple. You can also add shrimp, large or small, to it to make it more of a main salad dish.

The salad gets better the longer it sits in the fridge (to a point) because of the absorption of the curry oil. So it is a good idea to make a big batch because the leftovers are even better.


  • 1 cup (175g) raw brown rice (if using cooked rice, use about 3 1/2 cups)

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons yellow curry powder (can sub curry paste)

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (250g)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 cup raisins

  • 1 apple, cored and chopped (not peeled)

  • 1 cup chopped cilantro, leaves and tender stems

  • 1 rib celery, chopped, optional

  • 10 to 12 snow peas, strings removed, chopped, optional

  • 1/2 bell pepper (red, green, or yellow), chopped, optional

  • 1 green onion, chopped, optional

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (seasoned or unseasoned, can sub apple cider vinegar)


  1. Cook the brown rice:

    Put 1 cup raw brown rice in a pot, add 1 3/4 cups of water, bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat on very low, let simmer for 45 minutes, take off heat and keep covered for at least another 10 minutes.

  2. Cook the spices and onion:

    In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil on medium heat. Add the curry powder. Add cumin and chili powder. Let the spices gently simmer for 1 minute. Add the chopped yellow onion, and salt, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

    Onion and Curry Mix for Rice and Curry Salad

    Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

  3. Mix the rice and onions:

    In a large mixing bowl, add the hot rice and then fold in the onions with the curry-infused oil in which they were cooked. Add the toasted sesame oil and honey. You'll need to use a strong wooden spoon to mix. Taste test the rice. If it needs more curry flavor, heat some more curry powder, chili, and cumin in olive oil for a few minutes and add to the rice to desired spiciness.

    Rice and Onions in a Bowl for Brown Rice Curry Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

    Mix Brown Rice and Onion for Salad with Rice

    Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

  4. Add other ingredients to taste:

    Add the raisins, apple, and cilantro. Add the celery, snow peas, bell pepper, and green onion, if using. Stir in a tablespoon of rice vinegar. Add more salt to taste.

    Mix in Raisins and Celery for Curry Rice Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

  5. Chill and serve:

    The salad is best made a day ahead of time, giving the flavors time to meld. Can be served chilled, room temperature, or warm.

    Curry Rice Salad Surrounded by Bowls, Cilantro, and Salt

    Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
242 Calories
10g Fat
39g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 242
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 194mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 39g 14%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 25g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 32mg 158%
Calcium 54mg 4%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 455mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.