Basmati, photo by cookbookman17

Among other things, Aleister Crowley was famous for his spicy curries. A while ago someone managed to dig up his recipe for “Riz Aleister Crowley” and share it on the Coilhouse blog.

Crowley calls this recipe a “Poem of Spring;” I find this recipe comes out very sweet and is especially wonderful pared with an extra spicy curry.

A few years ago I decided to have a go at it for our Winter Solstice Feast. I’ll be making it again for our Feast this year, so I thought I’d share here for anyone who might interested in trying it out.

Unfortunately, Crowley does not give any quantities for the ingredients, so I had to improvise. I’ve listed the ratios I used below, which can be easily modified.


  • 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 10 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.”

Image credit: cookbookman17


  1. Crowley recommends the use of Jordan almonds, which are candied, but this recipe is very sweet as it is, and I find slivered almonds more pleasant. []