A sweet that is so crumbly in texture and melts in your yet is the Mysore Pak. I have to also mention that making the perfect Mysore Pak is no easy feat and even the best of the halwais shy away from making the Mysore Pak.
What’s with the name? Well, it’s an easy guess and its right- the sweet is from Mysore but when and how is a mystery. Mysore Pak was first prepared in the Mysore palace kitchen for the then king Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV. It was indeed a task for the chefs in those days to please the kings and other royalty with their culinary skills and cook interesting meals and sweet dishes. You will be amazed to know how many Indian recipes actually are royal kitchen goof-ups and last minutes stirs. Ok, coming back to Mysore Pak. So, apparently, a sweet dish was part of every meal served up to the royalty and the head cook of the royal kitchen Kakasura Madappa wanted to try out something. He mixed gram flour (besan) in oodles of ghee and sugar and made the Mysore Pak (sweet of Mysore). The king was pleased indeed…though we don’t know if he did reward the cook or not. Well, that’s another story.
Recipe of Mysore Pak
Gram Flour- 1 cup
Sugar-1 1/4th cup
Ghee-1 1/5th cup
Cardamom powder- a pinch for fragrance
Preparation- You will need two pans of medium size, a large pan to cook the sweet, a sieve and a big steel plate.
- In one of the medium-sized pans heat ghee on low flame till it gets hot.
- In the large pan roast the gram flour on a low flame by adding just one teaspoon of ghee. Roast till you can smell the aroma of the mixture and the gram flour turn light golden in color.
- Sieve the roasted mixture to avoid lumps.
- Now time to cook the sugar. In the other pan add the water + sugar and cook till you get the single thin thread consistency. When stirring pick up the mixture with the spoon and check for the threads. The mixture should fall from the spoon like a thread. You can even check if the mixture is done using the index finger and thumb. Hold the small amount of mix in between the fingers and pull apart. A fine thread-like consistency means it’s ready.
- Now quickly add the sieved gram flour into the sugar and stir. This should be done in under a minute.
- Add the turmeric and cardamom powder as well and mix well.
- Lastly, add the remaining hot ghee little by little which we had heated up in the beginning into this gram flour mixture and keep stirring. The hot ghee will cook the gram flour and you can see a froth developing. It is part of the cooking process.
- Keep adding the hot ghee and keep stirring. The sweet mix is ready for cooling if you observe a rock-like mass developing but it is a thread like as well. When this happens, stop the cooking and quickly transfer the mix on the steel plate to cool.
- Internally the gram flour is still cooking as the heat is still trapped in the ghee and will give out bubbly noises.
- Once it cools down, cut into pieces and enjoy.
Mysore Pak is a simple sweet to eat but not so simple when it comes to cooking. But do try to make it and enjoy the process.