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Virsa: A Culinary Journey From Agra to Karachi

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by Shehar Bano Rizvi
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This handsomely designed collection of Pakistani family recipes is the work of an author who sought to capture in print the day-to-day cooking of her mother, who "had no written recipes. It was all practice and experience."

Shehar Bano Rizvi came to cooking late, and it was only after she married that she began spending time in the kitchen with her mother. From the notebooks she compiled in her quest to cook like her mother she has created this book of everyday recipes, supplementing them with notes on ingredients and basic cooking techniques.

Recipes are typically titled with both their Urdu and English names, and each is accompanied by a full-page photograph. Many can be prepared with items you're likely to have on hand, such as aaloo ka bhurta, a mashed potato dish seasoned with onions, scallions, cilantro, and green chilies. A chicken curry with lemon is similarly composed of familiar pantry staples.

But Virsa also contains more ambitious recipes, from dhuwan dahi gosht, a dish of smoked mutton with yogurt, to meethi tikkiyan, semolina cookies offered as part of a holiday celebration and often paired with kheer, or rice pudding, which appears on the next page.

A comfortable, personable, and enlightening book.

Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.

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