Curry Rice Salad


Curry rice salad prepared with brown rice, curry powder or paste, bell pepper, green onions, celery, snow peas, raisins, apple, cilantro, and sesame oil.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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 Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

The secret to this recipe is the cilantro, raisins, and chopped apple. Sesame oil is a nice touch. You can also add shrimp, large or small, to it to make it more of a cold 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.


  • Short grain brown rice - 1 to 1 1/2 cup, best is organic
  • One large yellow onion - chopped.
  • Curry paste or curry powder - yellow or red Indian (not Thai)*
  • Olive oil
  • Cumin
  • Chili pepper
  • Sesame oil
  • Cilantro - chopped
  • Raisins - one cup
  • One apple - cored and chopped (not peeled)
  • Honey
  • Salt
  • Celery - chopped (optional)
  • Snow peas - stringy ends chopped off, then chopped (optional)
  • Bell pepper, red, green, or yellow - chopped (optional)
  • Green onions - chopped (optional)



1 Prepare the brown rice: Put rice in a big pot, add 1 3/4 cups of water for every cup of rice, 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 Prepare onions and curry oil: In a large saucepan heat 1/4 cup of olive oil on medium high heat. Add a couple heaping tablespoons of curry paste (if it is mild) or add a couple of tablespoons of mild curry powder. Add a dash of chili pepper and cumin and a few drops of sesame oil if you have it. Let the curry simmer for a minute. Add the chopped yellow onion and cook until translucent.

3 Mix rice and onions: In a large mixing bowl, put in the hot rice and then fold in the onions with the curry infused oil in which they were cooked. You'll need to use a strong wooden spoon to mix. Taste test the rice at this point. 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.

4 Add other ingredients to taste - cilantro, raisins, apple, celery, snow peas, bell pepper, green onions. Add a couple tablespoons of honey. Add a dash of salt to taste.

5 Chill and serve.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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21 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Clare Gail Henry

    I made the salad this morning – it is DELICIOUS. Thank you. A character in a novel I was reading about Nantucket mentioned a Curried Rice Salad and i thought, MMMMM. And, yes, indeed, it is. Thank you thank you thank you.

  2. Christine

    I made this salad the other day for some guests and everyone raved! It paired perfectly with grilled lamb chops. Like many grain salads, it was even better the next day. I used an 8-grain blend of brown rices which made it especially beautiful. I skipped the sesame oil. I can imagine countless variations: add roasted cashews, edamame, cubes of baked tofu, cucumber. Thank you for a delicious recipe!


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  3. Eleonor

    I love this recipe .i made every time I had guest for BBQ and all my guest wants the recipe.thanks a lot

  4. April

    I added a chicken breast and half a cup of sliced almonds, and squeezed half a lemon over at the end. It was great! My mom’s go to potluck dish when I was a kid was a curry rice salad and I was trying to replicate it. This is even better!

  5. Mary Clements

    I made this last night for the first time – initially we had it whilst still warm -really good and pretty spicy. We just tried it again today and it’s just so yummy and delicious…not as spicey as last night. It’s a fantastic recipe and I’ll do it again. I added craisins (dried cranberries)to the recipe and they worked well.

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Curry Rice Salad