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Yoser Alarashi

on 31 March 2015

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By: Yoser A., Shumaila D., & Karima A.
Oral History Interviews
Restaurants in the GTA
Completed four interviews:
Delhi, India
Hyderabad, India
Karachi, Pakistan
Lahore, Pakistan
Oral History Interviews
Restaurants in the GTA
ORIGINS- British Influence on Biryani
Lahore Tikka House
1365 Gerrard St E. Toronto, ON M4L 1Z3
Communal Style: One platter, plastic plates and cups, and a pitcher of water.
Our Dish of Choice:
Chicken Tikka Biryani
"Does not contain Shan Biryani Masala"
Banjara Indian Cuisine
164 Eglinton Ave. E. Toronto, ON, M4P 1G4
North and South Indian
Buffet Style
Our Dish of Choice:
Chicken Biryani
Parampara Masala?
Pak Centre Halal Restaurant
2683 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1P 2S2
Conforms to Standard Western Restaurant Etiquette
Our Dish of Choice:
Chicken Biryani

Shan Biryani Masala
British Crown takes control of Indian colony from the British East India Company
The British did not enter the colony to acquire new knowledge
Indian cuisine
Memsahibs and Sahibs
employing Indian
or cooks
Sahibs returning home after India gained their independence in 1947
Bombay Bhel
Location: 230 Commerce Valley E, Richmond Hill, ON L3T 7Y3
Modern day Mumbai
Chicken Biryani
Make their own masala for the Biryani
Chef was from Himancha, Afghanistan
La Sani Grill
2058 ellesmere Rd #3, Toronto, ON M1H 3B7
Islamabad, Pakistan
means plate
Only chicken biryani offered
, compared to the other two

The Host
670 Highway 7 E, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3P2
Central Indian Fine Cuisine
'Upscale Restaurant'
Offered Vegetarian, Meat and Fish Biryani
We had
Vegetable Biryani
ORIGINS- Indian/Pakistani Split
ORIGINS- Persians and the Mughal Empire
Affected biryani due to the religious differences
In India, both meat and vegetarian biryani were equally as important since the Hindu religion has a vegetarian diet
Whereas in Pakistan, vegetarian biryani is not that popular, chicken and meat biryani are
Challenges encountered?
Rescheduling- all but one; fear of being recorded
Needing to translate to English
Audio often inaudible!
VERY tedious to type up conversation
Taking charge of audio
Delhi, INDIA
Poonam and Pyuesh Gupta
Topics Discussed:
Length (8 to 24 hours), Parampara packages to save time, Biryani or Pilau?, Vegetarian dish, Hyderabad
Most interesting part of conversation:
Pyuesh: "Basically the most famous biryani is from Hydrabad which is all the Muslims who went south of India, the ones who cook Biryani in Northern India, which are the Kashmiri, they use lots of saffron, because saffron is basically grown in Kashmir. And the ones in Hydrabad, basically the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks are grown. So all these ingredients is basically used in terms of what is available at that time.
If you want to eat Hydrabadi biryani, you get a lot of bay leave flavour, if you want kashmiri, you get a lot of saffron flavour, if you want Bombay biryani, you get mostly nutmeg and anise seed and cardamom
, that’s for Bombay. And it’s all different because of what is grown in that area."
Hyderabad, INDIA
Mr. and Ms. Jeelani
Topics Discussed:
Availability of spices in Toronto, Raitha, Definition of authentic
Most interesting part of conversation:

Ms. Jeelani: "So here is the recipe that we were talking about:
• 2kg rice
• 2 kg lamb meat
• Salt to taste
• Turmeric **
• Red chilli powder 100 grams
• Green chilli paste 30 grams
• Cilantro two bunches
• Papaya one inch

• Fried onions 200 grams
• Ginger garlic paste 100 grams
• Mint 1 bunch**
• 2 lemons
• Astro plain yogurt 200 grams
• Saffron 3 pinches
• [inaudible] 3 of them

Biryani masala, which is the secret ingredient, I won’t give that away!
• Oil 200 grams
• Ghee which is butter 50 grams"
Kauser Khan
Topics Discussed:
Cooking biryani weekly, special ingredient= red plum, possible reason for split of India/Pakistan and how biryani spread
Most Interesting part of conversation:
Yoser: That’s very interesting I haven’t heard that before. In terms of the shan biryani packets, do you find it time saving?
Kauser: It saves time, it gives good flavour, but I think it’s better to use our own, cause then we know there is no health hazard since we’re using our own spices. But it tastes good!....
Don’t forget that back home or other third world countries, they add different colours, which are not safe. Sometimes they add dye, the same dye that they use to dye clothes, which causes cancer. Which is why cancer spreads more easily in that area…There are restrictions when they are importing the Shan biryani masala to these [Western] countries.
Of course, we get the best quality. Back home, there is no quality for them.

Lahore, Pakistan
Ms. Raja
Topics discussed:
Pilau, Punjab vs Sindh, Basmati rice
Most interesting part of conversation:
Jahangir, Rumeana. "How Britain Got the Hots for Curry." BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation, 26 Nov. 2009. Web. 23 Mar. 2015. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8370054.stm>.

McNamara, Robert. "A Timeline of India in the 1800's." About Education. 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 23 Mar. 2015. <http://history1800s.about.com/od/thebritishempire/tp/indiatimeline01.htm>.

Pande, Rheka. "Looking at Indian Food and Cusine in the Past- a Historical Analysis." Academia.edu. Academia, 1 Jan. 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2015. <http://www.academia.edu/3760984/Looking_at_Indian_food_and_cusine_in_the_past-_a_historicl_analysis>.
Daughter: "…But whenever someone says Biryani, they say it’s Pakistan’s… Pakistani Biryani."

Ms. Raja:
"This type of food is what they cook, but naturally there are changes. I mean you are living here, and you are eating their food [the west] but naturally you will change it to your taste."

"The Shan Biryani Masala is an optimized mix of ground spices and herbs that you can use to quickly prepare a wonderfully aromatic and flavourful dish of biryani rice. Suitable for use with beef, chicken or mutton, this Shan biryani masala is available in a fifty gram pack. A recipe with easy to follow directions is available on the back which requires basic and easily available ingredients.
You can save time and minimize the irritation required in having to identify the spices required and measuring them out by using the Shan biryani masala. Recipe in Urdu, Hindi, Arabic & Bangla inside. "

Study completed on Banglore, India and Banglore Indians in Boston US stated that "embracing the use of packaged goods explains how loose concepts were far greater than losing their identity"

Reference: http://shop.khanapakana.com/shan-biryani-masala-50-grams/
In the 16th century, Indian food traces back to Persian ancestors as Mughals brought back Persian and Afghan cooks to North India. They introduced rice dishes such as pilaffs and biryanis.
This was maintained by Nizams (hereditary rulers of Hyderabad city) but Nizams continued to "perfect" and "develop" style of cooking with biryani.
Evidence from writings of Nizams such as Babar, Hammayun and Akbar
Does authenticity exist?
Full transcript