Virsa – a culinary journey from Agra to Karachi by Shehar Bano Rizvi

When Shehar Bano came over to my house for the very first time about seven years ago, she brought me two cookbooks. One of the books was ‘The Great British Bake Off’ and the other was a recipe book for ‘Sweets & Hard Candy‘. I instantly thought that was such a lovely and personable hostess present, as she knew I was fond of cooking. However, little did I know a few years later I would be holding Shehar Bano’s very own authored cookbook in my hands!

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Lemon Bars


Lemon Bars are such a quintessential summer dessert! Perfect to have at picnics, brunches, bake sales, bridal showers or just paired with a nice cup of evening tea. The key to a good lemon bar is using fresh lemon juice. I can’t stress that enough. It really brings out the flavor and is totally worth it.
For this recipe, I’ve made a buttery shortbread crust and the filling is double in size because I personally like more filling on top. However, if you prefer less lemon filling, bake this in a 9 x 13 glass pan and it will be perfect for you.

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Baked Salmon Grazing Board


Grazing boards have come a long way and have become popular for both hosting parties, or just to have at home with your family. The versatility of grazing boards allows you to cater to many tastes and you can assemble it with what you have on hand.
For our family, it works great because the kids can pick and choose the veggies they like and plate it up as they like.For meals at home, I try to keep a good lean protein, colorful nutritious vegetables, assorted condiments, and some variety of bread.

I thought I’d share our family favorite salmon recipe along with some sides that help make this a complete meal.

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Orange Chicken


Orange chicken is one of our family favorites when we order from Panda Express. This recipe is a bit different and does not use fresh orange juice as some of the others do. The orange flavor comes straight from the orange zest and takes it to another level!
The frying of the chicken has to be done in batches, and that is probably the only thing that takes time. Other than that, it comes together quickly.
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Baked Chicken With Lemon & Garlic


We all need easy simple dinners, that can be put together quickly. If they can come together in one pan, that’s even better! This recipe for a quick weeknight dinner, can be done with or without marinating the chicken. It is very versatile. You can add any veggies you have on hand, and pop it into the oven.

This chicken is infused with the perfect combination of lemon and garlic. There is a touch of sweetness with honey, and herbs to balance the flavors.

This recipe was inspired by Tin Eats.

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Black Forest Cake

A black forest cake is traditionally made a different way. It uses only eggs and no baking powder to make the cake rise. It also is infused with liquor. Here I have made a different version for you all. I’ve taken my favorite moist chocolate cake and layered it with fresh whipped cream and cherries.

 

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Muhammara Dip

Muhammara is a traditional Syrain dip that is made with roasted red pepper and walnuts. Perhaps the best thing about this dip is that it is packed with flavor and super easy to make.

It is a perfect appetizer that can be served alongside hummus, mutabal, and perhaps a side salad. It pairs well with pita chips or a flatbread. Continue reading

Chicken & Broccoli Pasta with a Creamy Mushroom Sauce


Pasta is one of those versatile foods that you can create in many ways! Perhaps add in some marinara or alfredo sauce, veggies, or even cheese and it comes together beautifully for a substantial family meal. Pair it with a garden salad or some crusty garlic bread for that perfect meal. Pasta dishes are also great to take to potlucks and are loved by kids and adults alike!
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Buffalo Chicken Bites

Buffalo chicken Bites Served with White Rice

This recipe is a family favorite in our home. The chicken comes out nice and crispy and it is paired with a tangy hot and sweet buffalo sauce. I serve it with white rice and my children love it!
Originally I had seen a version of this recipe on Chef Shireen Anwar’s cooking show, and have been making a close variation of it for many years.
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