Make Curried Rice (Following Aleister Crowley's Recipe)
The art of flavors holds a special relationship with magic; follow these steps to delight your guests with a delicious, esoteric dish.
Besides being one of the most polemical characters of the twentieth century, Aleister Crowley was an overwhelmingly restless character. The British occultist painted, wrote, hiked, and yielded to many human pleasures, among them, and with particular passion, cooking —a fact that most of his followers ignore.
Apparently, at least according to what he narrates in his autobiographical confessions, his most distinguished dish was his “glacial curry”, which he considered to be one of the ultimate manifestations of his artsy culinary gifts.
In fact, my chief claim to fame is, perhaps, my “glacial curry.” It was very amusing to see these strong men, inured to every danger and hardship, dash out of the tent after one mouthful and wallow in the snow, snapping at it like mad dogs.
For the past three centuries, curry has acquired flavorful fame around the world. The term comes from the English adaptation of the word kari, which in Tamil means “sauce”, and which is one of the most popular resources in Asian cuisine. There are countless types of curry, even if the most common factor they share is the mix of regional spices, which is combined with rice, chicken, or vegetables.
Even if he himself did not share the recipe he so boasts about in his autobiography, among the papers he left at the University of Syracuse, the instructions to prepare the “Riz Aleister Crowley”, a dish which can be mixed with curry, were Incidentally found ––the Great Beast neglected to include the quantities of each ingredient, but nevertheless, Canadian writer Nico Mara-McKay proposed some portions that seem to work well.
- 1 cup brown basmati rice
- Sea salt
- 1/4 cup sultanas
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup pistachio nuts
- Powdered clove
- Powdered cardamoms
- Turmeric powder (enough to colour the rice to a clear golden tint)
- 2 tblsp. butter
1. Bring two cups of salted water to a boil. Throw in in the rice, stirring regularly.
2. Test the rice after about ten minutes “by taking a grain, and pressing between finger and thumb. It must be easily crushed, but not sodden or sloppy. Test again, if not right, every two minutes.”
3. When ready, pour cold water into the saucepan.
4. Empty the rice into a colander, and rinse under cold tap.
5. Put colander on a rack above the flames, if you have a gas stove, and let it dry. If, like me, your stove is electric, the rice can be dried by placing large sheets of paper towel over and under the rice, soaking up the water. Preferably the rice should seem very loose, almost as if it has not been cooked at all. When you’ve removed as much water as you can, remove the paper towel.
6. Place the rice back into the pot on a much lower temperature. Stirring continuously, add the butter, sultanas, almonds, pistachio nuts, a dash or two of cloves and a dash of cardamom.
7. Add enough turmeric that the rice, after stirring, is “uniform, a clear golden colour, with the green pistachio nuts making it a Poem of Spring.”
And now that you have in your possession this Crowleyan recipe for curried rice, you could take advantage of it on your next special occasion and delight your guests with an esoteric dish. At the end of the day, gastronomy is an art that holds many similarities with magic and alchemy. In this sense, it should not come as a surprise that Crowley felt attracted to cuisine.
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