Curry Rice

How to Make Curry Rice

Three Methods:

To invigorate basic rice dishes, try the warm, complex flavor of curry. Making curry rice is easy even if you don't know how to make rice already. The basic process involves frying a few simple vegetable ingredients, then cooking them with the rice and seasonings in water until it is pleasantly soft and fluffy. Making recipe variations like fried rice takes just a few changes.


Basic Curry Rice

  • 2 cups basmati rice, dry
  • 1 white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons sweet curry powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 1/2-4 cups water

Fried Curry Rice

  • 4 cups basmati rice, cooked
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sweet curry powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Dash of sesame oil

For Optional Serving Suggestions

  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1 eggplant, sliced
  • 2 cups okra, de-stemmed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup almond slivers
  • Red pepper (to taste)
  • Garam masala


Making Basic Curry Rice

  1. Heat oil on the stove.Add the oil to a wide, sturdy saucepan and place it over a burner set to medium-high. Heat until shimmering or you just barely notice smoke.
  2. Fry the onion and garlic.Transfer these vegetables to the hot pan. They should start to sizzle immediately. If not, increase the heat.
    • Cook until the vegetables soften. Depending on the heat, this should take around five minutes. Try spreading the vegetables in a single layer and stirring only once every minute or so to shorten the cooking time.
  3. Add dry rice and curry powder.Don't add the water yet — you want the dry rice cooking in the oil. Spread the ingredients flat in the pan. Let them cook for up to five minutes, stirring often. When the rice gains a pearly white color, you're ready to proceed.
    • This technique of cooking the dry rice in the pan is known as "toasting" the rice. It is used to give the dish a satisfying nutty flavor and, according to some, reduce cooking time.
  4. Add water and salt.Stir the ingredients to combine. If your pan isn't big enough to hold the water, transfer your ingredients to a steeper-edged pan.
  5. Heat to a boil.Turn the heat to high and let the mixture cook uncovered without stirring. Check on the rice every few minutes to monitor its progress.
    • Eventually, the surface of the rice will appear dry and steam will billow out of small holes (usually after about eight to ten minutes). This is a sign to proceed.
  6. Simmer over low heat.Turn the burner to the lowest possible heat. Cover the pan snugly with a lid and cook for 15 more minutes. Don't stir or remove the lid during this time.
  7. Fluff and serve.After simmering, remove the pan from the burner and take the lid off. Let it stand for five minutes to cool and finish absorbing the water. Use the back of a fork to "fluff" the rice, giving it a little extra volume. Spoon on to serving plates and enjoy.
    • If the rice still contains a noticeable amount of water, return it to low heat in five minute increments to evaporate the remaining moisture.

Making Fried Curry Rice

  1. Prepare a serving of rice normally.This recipe calls for plain rice that has already been cooked. To get this, just follow the recipe above, ignoring the vegetables and curry. In other words:
    • Add two cups of rice and four cups of water to a pot. Bring to a boil.
    • Cook until the surface of the rice appears dry and steam holes form. Reduce the heat to low.
    • Cover the pan and let simmer for 15 minutes.
    • Remove from heat, uncover, and let sit for five minutes before serving.
  2. Heat vegetable oil on the stove.Add the oil to a large, sturdy nonstick pan. Warm over medium-high heat for several minutes until shimmering.
  3. Add beaten egg.Crack an egg into a small bowl and beat with a fork until the yolk and white are combined. Pour the beaten egg into the hot pan. Swirl the pan to prevent sticking. When the egg solidifies, transfer it to a separate plate and set aside.
  4. Stir-fry scallions and curry.Add the scallions and seasoning together to the pan and stir to combine. You can add an extra dash of oil here to prevent sticking if desired. Season with black pepper to taste. Cook until softened (about five minutes).
    • If you don't have scallions, substitute a white or yellow onion.
  5. Add cooked rice.Stir to mix with the ingredients in the pan. Spread in a single layer and let cook for about three minutes, stirring once.
  6. Add egg.Transfer the egg back into the pan. Stir to break up the egg and combine it with the other ingredients. Season with salt to taste.
  7. Drizzle with sesame oil and serve.Stirring in a small amount of sesame oil in the last minute of cooking gives the rice more of a "fried" quality. Add no more than a teaspoon or two over the rice and stir to combine. Let cook for 30 seconds to a minute and remove from heat. Spoon onto serving plates. Serve hot.

Making Recipe Variations

  1. Add extra vegetables for a stir fry dish.Curry rice is a versatile dish that lends itself to many recipe variations. For instance, it's not difficult to add plenty of vegetables to make something resembling a stir fry. Simply chop the recipes and add them to the "Basic" recipe above with the onions and garlic. Then, proceed with the rest of the recipe as normal. Note that "hard" vegetables (carrots, broccoli, etc.) require a little more cooking time, so you may want to add them a few minutesbeforethe onions, garlic, etc.
    • In the ingredients list above, tomato, eggplant, and okra are recommended because they taste great with curry rice and cook quickly. You can use others, however — don't be afraid to get creative.
  2. Add paprika for smokey heat.Paprika is an excellent choice for this dish — its smokey, spicy flavor complements the curry naturally. Try adding a teaspoon or two with the curry powder to blend the two seasonings together. Alternatively, use paprika for its rich red color by sprinkling it over the finished rice.
  3. Use coconut milk for coconut curry rice.Coconut milk is a common ingredient in many curries for its smooth, sweet flavor. Try substituting half of the water for coconut milk when you add the liquid to your rice to get a strong coconut flavor. If you want a more subtle flavor or a dish that's less rich, substitute only a quarter of the water for coconut milk.
  4. Add raisins and almond slivers for Middle Eastern flavor.Many rice dishes from the Middle East and Central Asia use almonds and raisins. Cashew halves sometimes substitute for almond slivers. If you're not used to the combination, it can seem a little unusual, but it's delicious to palates that are accustomed to it. To add these flavors to your dish:
    • Add the raisins to the rice mixture right before you add the water and start to boil.
    • Stir in the almond slivers right before you serve.
  5. Use red pepper for dry heat.The recipes in this article aren't especially spicy. If you want something with a little more "kick," simply add cayenne or red pepper flakes to taste. Stir these spicy ingredients into the mixture with the curry powder to give the ingredients a satisfying level of heat.
    • If you accidentally add too much heat, try stirring in a little plain greek yogurt when the dish is finished to neutralize the spiciness. You can also simply dilute the flavor by adding more rice.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Can I use regular curry powder instead of sweet curry powder?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can, but if you want a sweet curry you can use regular curry powder and add a little sugar or other sweetener.
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Quick Summary

To make basic curry rice, start by heating oil in a saucepan and adding onions and garlic. Once the vegetables become tender, add your dry rice and curry powder. Allow this mixture to cook for 5 minutes before adding some water and salt. Then, turn the heat to high to bring everything to a boil. Next, turn the burner low, cover the pan with a lid, and simmer the curried rice for 15 minutes. Finally, remove the pan from the heat, let the food stand for 5 minutes, and fluff the rice before serving.

Did this summary help you?
  • You can also use a rice cooker or pressure cooker to make rice. Simply add the ingredients and cook according to the device's directions. See our articles on using rice cookers and pressure cookers for more information.
  • Consider substituting vegetable or chicken broth for water to give your rice added flavor. You can also use a half-and-half mixture of broth and water to cut down on the salt in the recipe.

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