In his "autohagiography" The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, the occultist provocateur Aleister Crowley made passing reference to his own "glacial curry" —
The weather made it impossible to do any serious climbing; but I learnt a great deal about the work of a camp at high altitudes, from the management of transport to cooking; in fact, my chief claim to fame is, perhaps, my "glacier 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. They admitted, however, that it was very good as curry and I should endeavour to introduce it into London restaurants if there were only a glacier. Perhaps, some day, after a heavy snowfall.
As it turns out, Crowley did, in fact, make a mean curried rice. While there's no record of what, exactly, comprises "glacier curry," a recipe for "Riz Aleister Crowley" is included among his archive of papers at Syracuse University.
The writer Nico Mara-McKaye copied the text for this recipe (and also added some more specific ratios, since Crowley seemed keen in just eyeballing whatever he was doing):
– 1 cup brown basmati rice
– sea salt
– 1/4 cup sultanas
– 1/4 cup slivered almonds1
– 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 bowl. 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. Or, If your stove is electric, as mine is, 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.
6. Place the rice back into the pot on a much lower temperature.
7. While stirring continuously add the butter, sultanas, almonds, pistachio nuts, a dash or two of cloves and a dash of cardamom.
8. 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 there you have it, folks: a delightful dish with which to Hail Satan.
Aleister Crowley's Curried Rice Recipe [Dangerous Minds]
Recipe for Riz Aleister Crowley [Nico Mara-McKay]
Aleister Crowley Papers [Syracuse University]
Image via Wikimedia Commons
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