Cook onion and garlic in oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until soft, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in curry powder and rice and cook 2 minutes more.
Add water or broth and salt and bring to a boil. Cook the rice uncovered, without stirring, until the surface of the rice is covered with steam holes, about 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and cook until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.
YIELD: 4 servings I PREP TIME: 5 min I COOK TIME: 25 min I TOTAL TIME: 35 min