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The Konkani Saraswat Cookbook, with its base in the laterite earth in the south-western Karnataka, India, celebrates a unique and enduring cuisine with all its captivating flavours. It covers the range from basic recipes to elaborate ones, and those for special occasions.
From potatoes steeped in a tamarind sauce to the well-loved dal seasoned with chilli and garlic. From the delectable fried bitter-gourd salad to the aromatic blast of sprouted moong ghashi. From a chutney with ridge-gourd peels and khotte in jackfruit-leaf cups to sun-dried onion vadis. The book also has recipes for babies and new mothers, and a selection of herbal teas.
The photographs together with Asha Philar's personal notes evoke the textures of Konkani Saraswat food, and of Konkani itself.
The book has a friendly approach with clear steps, notes and afternotes which suggest variations or offer detailed guidelines.
Asha Philar was born in Bangalore, India, and went to school and college there. She worked briefly with a finance corporate and moved to Surathkal after her marriage to Dr Satish Philar, senior faculty of the Karnataka Regional Engineering College.
Asha's early interests in cooking were inspired by her mother Sushila Aroor and her sister-in-law Padmini Aroor who had range as well as a passion for perfection. Later, in Surathkal, her mother-in-law Sumathi Philar enriched her repertoire of recipes, guided her in the intricacies of traditional food-making and extended her horizons beyond food as a kitchen-bound activity. Surathkal also gave her the opportunity to learn from friends on the campus, and to teach.
To help her sons Tarun and Nikhil and their wives Aparna and Shantal, she created a private website with food, remedies and housekeeping guidelines. Her other interests include painting, sewing and writing.
Asha and Satish live in Bangalore and periodically in the US. They have four grandchildren-Milind, Nidhi, Trisha and Shriya.