Over 100 simple and authentic Pakistani family heirloom recipes that have been passed down over generations…

Compiling, recreating, and photographing these recipes, this project has been a labor of love for the author – a dedication to her mother – a fantastic cook.

Virsa is a Gourmand Awards winner in three categories and would represent Pakistan at the Gourmand World Cook Book Awards in these categories.

A12 – First Cook Book
C02 – International
D07- Food Heritage

About the Book

Virsa a culinary journey from Agra to Karachi

This book is a collection of recipes that are the author, Shehar Bano’s family heritage and hence the name “Virsa” which means “Heritage” in Urdu language. Food is undoubtedly an essential part of the culture in Pakistan. From Karachi to Khyber, the conversations change from Nihari to Chapli Kebabs, but they still revolve around food. “Virsa – a culinary journey from Agra to Karachi” has some delicious recipes and memories from a foodie family.

What's Inside

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My Parents,

The Reason Behind Writing This Book

Losing a parent is a life-changing event. It makes you ponder over every little detail and everything you could have and should have done to make them proud. I lost my father Dr. Hasan Rizvi, to lung cancer in September 2014. He was an Ophthalmologist by profession and a philanthropist at heart. His passing left us all completely devastated. I always wished Abbo could see what his children have become, and what his children have done to carry on his legacy after his demise. However, I want Ammi to be happy today and forever, so I wrote this book. 

About the Author

Shehar Bano Rizvi is a Karachi girl who was born and raised in the city of lights. Her family originally hails from Agra, India but her grandparents migrated to Karachi, after the partition of the Indian subcontinent.

She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Software Engineer by profession. A Pakistani expat living in Qatar for over 16 years, whose maternal instincts took over her career aspirations leading her to give up her high-profile banking career to be a hands-on mother. She is now a mother of three beautiful children – Amna, Hamza, and Hassan.

Virsa in Press

Testimonials

  • In this day of internet, I still collect cookbooks especially the ones that touch my heart. Cookbooks while teaching different culinary styles, also lets you connect to the author's background and in some cases tells the story behind the book. This might just be the case with the book Virsa which I finally got my hands on. The author, Shehar Bano also known as @thepmpmom has curated and put together a cookbook that beautifully reflects South Asian cuisine, a book that can be passed down generations. The recipes are similar to those cooked in my kitchen which has been in my family for generations. Flipping through the pages, reading the recipes and stories has been such a delight, there is so much warmth and detail in every page layout. Shehar Bano has paid a wonderful tribute to her parents and family while dedicating all the proceeds from this book towards the eye treatment of the poor in Pakistan. I highly recommend this book.

    Ayesha SOttawa Canada
  • I just received my copy of Virsa all the way here in Montreal, Canada. I just have to say, this book is woven with so much love and detail! It was a delight to go through each and every page. I already have some favorites that I want to try VERY SOON inshAllah. Also I do want to particularly mention that I haven't actually seen a book that mentions such small yet essential details like daal types and homemade spices. Thankyou for creating this book ❤🤗 and I wish you lots of success with it and all your future projects.

    Saman SohailMontréal, Canada
  • H U M   S A B   KA   V I R S A

    I grew up in Lahore to a Punjabi Father and an Urdu Speaking Mother.
    Where the culinary realities at home on daddy’s side would resonate with most around us, my mother’s side of the family had food that we won’t even mention in public basically out of laziness and the need to explain. Over time it turned into our little revered secret to some exclusive comfort.
    My nannhiaal was from Jaunpur in U.P. and where some food would come through as common with the Lakhnavi, Dilli vaalas and others, it would mostly be a standalone feat when it comes to most dishes.
    Virsa not only puts a lot of common Urdu speaking family food in one place, it warms the cockles of my heart to find food like Daal Saag (Called Sag Paitaa at ours) and Dry Maash (Maash Muqashshar for us) in a cookbook. I can touch the paper, I can see the food from my childhood (and now my child’s) beautifully photographed and shared with the world.
    Our recipes may differ a pinch here and a dash there but the bond here truly brings together the way we “Saundh” a batch of freshly pulled together Shami Kabab masala.
    I absolutely abhor writing in books but something makes me think that I’m going to scribble plenty in this one to leave a book for my child with the Agra version of recipes along with how it is done “humaaray yahan”.
    This is definitely a book that I can easily give to a friend who I would like to introduce to my Ghar Ka Khana without having to talk too much about it. That childhood laziness of never sharing? Those days are over.

    Thank you @thepmpmom for weaving together a beautiful medley of memories and food intertwined with the love that this project emanates. It is a true labour of love and has definitely earned a spot in my kitchen library and my heart.

    Hareem Sumbul BariLahore, Pakistan
  • Living away from home this book is pure nostalgia. Growing up with similar Nani/Dadi’s recipes, in this time and age, you forget the simplicity of combining basic ingredients and making a dish full of flavor. This book has captured the essence of bringing back Pakistani recipes that were probably forgotten. Thank you for writing Virsa and sharing it with us.

    Amber AbbasDubai
  • Virsa by Shehar Bano Rizvi is in her words, ‘A culinary journey from Agra to Karachi.’ The book contains over 100 authentic Pakistani family recipes that have been passed down through generations in her family. It starts of with a section dedicated to condiments and whereas in most cookbooks of the world, this section sits last, Shahar Bano presents this early on. This selection alone, is reason enough for you to buy this book. The recipes for the various chutneys and pickles are a novel collection and truly a feast for the senses. The selection is authentic and a true crowd pleaser.
    The book contains recipes for eight different types of lentils and I personally find that exciting. Each one is unique in taste and texture.

    Pakistani cuisine is not big on blanching or steaming; oil is omnipresent and perhaps the vegetables may appear a bit over cooked but in reality, Shahar Bano’s recipes are full of flavour and do not disappoint the palate. As I browse through the meat and poultry, I see an array of recipes that contain ingredients that would be found in any pantry. To me this translates into soul food and you will find yourself reaching for these recipes time after time.

    The beauty of Virsa lies in its simplicity. There is a stark honesty about these recipes and they turn out exactly as promised. In fact, there is hardly a recipe that takes up an entire page and that to me is refreshing as most Indian or Pakistani cookbooks have a never ending list of ingredients!

    The book is a beautiful tribute to Rizvi’s parents and part of the proceeds go to the @laytonrehmatullah eye trust in Pakistan which gives you yet another reason to order the book today!

    Design Talk Dubai@designtalkdubai
  • Virsa is undeniably the best executed passion project I have seen and will remain a timeless masterpiece that old or young, desi or not; everyone will benefit from.
    Bano is not only a dear friend, but someone who truly inspires everyone around her to just take a leap and follow their heart. Her commitment, discipline and love for her mom are the main ingredients of this book.
    Virsa is so close to home. It touches the right chords and makes you aware of and fall in love with the simplest of things...mainly family and food.
    The title, photography, layout, recipes and short accounts of her childhood and family, all come together beautifully.
    We have already tried numerous recipes from the book and I have to add, even if you haven't ever had these foods before, the recipes are absolutely on point and the end product will be amazing.
    Virsa is the perfect gift for students leaving for college, youngsters starting an independent life, young moms and dads and expats so they never feel too far from home!

    Manizeh MustajabDoha, Qatar
  • virsa, a culinary journey from Agra to Karachi is proving to be a culinary journey for me as well! I have always shyed away from authentic desi cooking, but this book, with its heart warming stories, it’s detailed explanations and beautiful pictures , has somehow managed to lure me into the kitchen, sleeves rolled up and ready to go!! For the first time ever my food has been called “real” by family and friends. Thanks Bano! I plan to try each recipe from cover to cover, and hopefully by the time I am done there will be a part 2!!

    Tasneem ChamdiaQatar
  • Thank you so much, its such an amazing cook Book Mashallah...I wish I had it when I got married...love the daal section the way you have explained the daal with pictures and rolling of the paratha. Too Good Mashallah I love cook books, I have cook books of Shireen Anwar(pakistani chef) to Mary Berry (British chef) ....I have them all. But Mashallah your cook book's pictures and the recipes are so attractive, Its like going into my childhood....Qwamami Sewaiyan...uff its been ages I have had them and heard about them. Made me all nostalgic. Thank you so much...its a great culinary journey. May Allah swt bless you and your family. Ameen Take care.

    Nadia Jaffery
  • A recipe book which takes you back to your childhood. I was so excited to get my hands on this book, as I followed @thePMPmom creating and photographing every dish. What touched me the most about this project was thePMPmom’s utter dedication to this cause. A legacy for her mother, by sharing her family recipes with us all and carrying on with her father’s passion of treating patients for free at LRBT Eye Hospital in Karachi. I have nothing but admiration for thePMPmom for doing this for her parents.

    Mrs Uzma ZafarVice Principal - Doha College, Qatar

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