Cook Up Aleister Crowley’s Rice Recipe: Perfect for Eating with Curry


Before vis­it­ing a Gnos­tic Mass at one of Aleis­ter Crowley’s Ordo Tem­pli Ori­en­tis chap­ters in the UK, Dan­ger­ous Minds’ Thomas McGrath was warned by a friend in no uncer­tain all caps, “DO NOT EAT THE CAKE OF LIGHT.” I’ll let you find out for your­self why the excess cau­tion against this Crow­ley con­fab­u­lat­ed piece of anti-Catholic sacra­men­tal bread. Suf­fice it to say, the British occultist who called him­self the Great Beast 666 shared oth­er cer­e­mo­ni­al recipes in his copi­ous writ­ings on rit­u­al prac­tices. Many of them involved bod­i­ly flu­ids as a mat­ter of course.

In addi­tion to the Mag­ick for which he’s com­mon­ly known in coun­ter­cul­tur­al cir­cles, Crow­ley was an artist, avid moun­tain climber, world trav­el­er, and aspir­ing chef of more or less edi­ble foods, who often cooked for his trav­el­ing com­pan­ions. Dan­ger­ous Minds draws our atten­tion to one dish Crow­ley described in his “auto­ha­giog­ra­phy,” The Con­fes­sions of Aleis­ter Crow­ley. Called “glac­i­er cur­ry,” the stuff was appar­ent­ly so spicy it made hard­ened moun­taineers “dash out of the tent after one mouth­ful and wal­low in the snow, snap­ping at it like mad dogs.”

Crow­ley neglect­ed to list the ingre­di­ents and means of prepa­ra­tion for the unbear­able “glac­i­er cur­ry,” but he did leave anoth­er recipe among his papers for a much cool­er accom­pa­ni­ment. (Dis­cov­ered, writes Coil­house, by a “Pro­fes­sor Jack” in the Crow­ley Archives at Bird Library, Syra­cuse Uni­ver­si­ty.) Called “Riz Aleis­ter Crow­ley,” and meant “to be eat­en with cur­ry,” you can find it below. The pro­por­tions have been esti­mat­ed by writer Nico Mara McK­ay, who has made the rice with deli­cious results.


- 1 cup brown bas­mati rice

- sea salt

- 1/4 cup sul­tanas

- 1/4 cup sliv­ered almonds(1)

- 1/4 cup pis­ta­chio nuts

- pow­dered clove

- pow­dered car­damoms

- turmer­ic pow­der (enough to colour the rice to a clear gold­en tint)

- 2 tblsp. but­ter


Bring two cups of salt­ed water to a bowl. Throw in in the rice, stir­ring reg­u­lar­ly.

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.”

When ready, pour cold water into the saucepan.

Emp­ty the rice into a colan­der, and rinse under cold tap.

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 it has not been cooked at all. When you’ve removed as much water as you can, remove the paper tow­el.

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.

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.”

In addi­tion to the esti­mat­ed pro­por­tions, the ver­sion above has been mod­i­fied some­what to fit our con­tem­po­rary recipe expec­ta­tions, but the folks at food blog Hap­py Veg­etable Cow have an exact tran­scrip­tion of Crowley’s type­script (top). They note Crow­ley’s con­ti­nu­ity with free-form recipe tra­di­tions of antiq­ui­ty and cel­e­brate the bit of “cre­ative nar­ra­tive” at the end. For an even more cre­ative­ly phrased grain recipe than Crowley’s aro­mat­ic rice, see David Lynch’s sur­re­al quinoa instruc­tions.

via Dan­ger­ous Minds

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Aleis­ter Crow­ley: The Wickedest Man in the World Doc­u­ments the Life of the Bizarre Occultist, Poet & Moun­taineer

Aleis­ter Crow­ley & William But­ler Yeats Get into an Occult Bat­tle, Pit­ting White Mag­ic Against Black Mag­ic (1900)

Aleis­ter Crow­ley Reads Occult Poet­ry in the Only Known Record­ings of His Voice (1920)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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