Someone wise said that it is a pleasure to give advice, humiliating to need it, normal to ignore it.

Some of us (classically ME) tend to ignore the smaller instructions in life while concentrating on the larger more complicated ones. So when I set out to cook Lamb Biryani last Sunday, I followed the instructions right down to the last inch of a cinnamon stick.


I parboiled the fine Basmati rice with whole Indian spices and peppercorns with the precision of a honed surgeon. I cooked the tender lamb with tomato and onions, soaked the saffron in warm milk (43.5 degree centigrade) and fried the onions to the specified colour of Burnt Umber (Yea, it’s a real colour). The mint leaves were torn and sandwiched between the layers of rice along with the lamb. The saffron was devotedly poured at regular intervals.


And then I went and made my only but fatal mistake. I chose the wrong utensil. I chose an elegant blue and black casserole with a clear cover, covered it with aluminum foil to seal the food in. What I failed to take note of was the fact that the instructions clearly said ‘prepare biryani in a heavy bottomed dish’. My casserole was perfect except that its bottom was rather thin (pardon for lack of a better phrase).


The result – My painstakingly prepared biryani looked fantastic, tasted pretty darn good but smelt like London during the Great Fire.