The Accidental (and clueless) Biryani Maker – Guest blog by my friend Ali

biryaniI was once told that in order to be a very successful entrepreneur, it helps to be just a little bit clueless, the logic being you are more likely to take the necessary risks. So I have found on my personal journey of Biryani making. I firmly believe that never having made a Biryani before, and in fact never having eaten one, contributed to its ultimate success.My lack of knowledge of the finer points regarding what actually constitutes a good Biryani, allowed me to boldly follow the recipe without so much as a thought to failure or what pitfalls may lay ahead.

In order to assist Poornima on her quest for the perfect Biryani, I had decided to make one for her birthday. A google search threw up the recipe for ‘The Best Biryani’ at, and there my journey began.

The recipe looked great, (not a ready-made ingredient in sight) and a long list of herbs and spices that made my mouth water just reading them.My only panic came when I couldn’t find something called ‘garam masala’ ( I did say I was inexperienced) in Waitrose, but a short phone call to Poornima reassured me that this was not critical to the overall dish and that a mixture of spices would give me what I was looking for.

The next hour and a half was the most enjoyable I have spent cooking in a very long time. I really savoured the spices, colours, smells and the feeling of creating something deliciously beautiful that cooking this dish presented, and it has inspired me to try other things. It tasted pretty delicious too, but only Poornima can say whether she believes this to be the recipe for the perfect Biryani and I await her discerning and knowledgeable judgement.

Note from Poornima: Ali’s chicken biryani had a couple of strict vegetarians digging in with gusto – chicken pieces and all. What does that tell you?