Once upon a time, many many years ago, there was royal cook named Kakasura Madappa. He was an expert in creating magic with sugar and ghee. Bored with making same kind of sweets and pudding with exquisite and expensive ingredients, one day he decided to experiment with very common and inexpensive ingredient which all aam junta (common man of India) could easily afford. The main ingredient of this sweet which Madappa was experimenting was type casted as ‘to be used in making savoury dishes only’ in the cooking world. Madappa ignored the looks of unapprovals and the little murmurs of snide remarks from fellow cooks and continued his experiment in cooking something remarkable. Little did Madappa and his contemporaries knew that his simple concoction of gram flour, sugar and ghee was about to create a history in the world of sweet confections!
Sugar loaded ~ Mysore Pak
Soon it was time for royal dinner and the king, his queen and other royalties were served this sweet by Madappa made of humble gram flour or chickpea flour. One bite and the sweet melted in their mouth oozing with ghee and sugar. The king taught he must have imagined it and picked up another piece of sweet and put it in his mouth. Again the golden rectangle with honeycomb texture melted in his mouth with few seconds! He looked around and saw every one putting this sweet in their mouth one after the other with their eyes closed in bliss, inhaling the sweet aroma of the fudge, ‘ohh and aah’ing at its delicate texture, and then smiling with complete satisfaction! The king himself couldn’t help but fall in love with this honeycomb sweet. When asked the name of the melt-in-mouth ‘royal sweet’ with Madappa, the royal cook simply called it a ‘Mysore Pak’ for the lack of any name! Thus the Mysore Pak, a sweet delicacy from Mysore Palace originated in the state of Karnataka, what was then called as the royal state of Mysore!
Oozing with pure Desi Ghee ~ Mysore Pak
So, did you like the story of Mysore Pak or Mysore Paak?
If your answer is yes, then you will love the taste of Mysore Pak.
If your answer is no, even then you will love the taste of Mysore Pak!!!
A piece of heaven ~ Mysore Pak
For a sweet hater and sugar avoider, or someone like me who absolutely dislikes most Indian sweets oozing with ghee and overdose of sugar, I literally and liberally salivate when the name Mysore Pak is mentioned! Mysore Pak is probably one of the richest, sweetest and most fattening Indian sweets you will come across, but it still doesn’t stop me from popping a piece or two in my mouth as soon as I see these honey combed fudge! That is the power Mysore Pak has over me! I am its eternal slave…
So why it took me this long to post a recipe of Mysore Pak?! They say people who are on diet shouldn’t even look at the piece of Mysore Pak, let alone eat it! Since I am on diet for almost throughout the year, without much success in loosing weight, I try to avoid stuffing my face with it for all of 11 months when we are here in UK. Come December, our month long trip to India, I throw all the precautions in the air and eat these sweet delights like someone who hasn't seen the plate of food for ages! Among other goodies, one sweet I indulge in is a couple of pounds of Mysore Pak that goes in to my stomach and easily stays around my hips for the next 11 months! ~sigh~
Never say no to a good piece of Mysore Pak
Whenever I pop a piece of Mysore Pak, I am reminded of what my Ajji (maternal grand mother) used to say about them. The true test of Mysore Pak lies in the fact that as soon as you pop a piece of Mysore Pak in your mouth, it should melt on its own without the need to move your mouth or teeth! A piece of heaven melting away slowly leaving behind the sweet taste, rich aroma and whole lot of calorie! But for once you are ready to forgive the Mysore Pak for being fattening as the delicious melt-in-mouth is worth the entire calorie that it carries!
It is equally worth all the time, hard work and pain in the arm muscles you end up getting when making them! The tagline of L’Oreal can be easily used for Mysore Pak as it is ‘Totally worth it’! When my Amma was here in UK, when I was pregnant with Lil Dumpling, she would whip up a big batch of Mysore Pak every fortnight and I don’t have to tell you who ate more than half of them! Even after delivery, I just couldn’t resist the temptation of these sweet delights and I ended up eating little more than I would actually do, and I continue to live with the consequence with few extra pounds around my hips even today!
Sweet and crumbly ~ Mysore Pak
This unassuming, deceptively simple looking sweet is one of the most difficult sweets to master! It takes years of practice, patience and also expertise to make these sweet treats which I clearly lack! If you lack patience, then this is not the sweet you want to make! But I decided to try my hand at making them for the very first time, on my own! Equipped with handy tips from my Amma, who is the queen of Mysore Pak, I decided to take a plunge into calorie laid, ghee dripping, and sugar high world of Mysore Pak! I am glad for once I decided to stick to the instructions by following exact measurement, cooking techniques that my mom provided me with, because believe me this is not a kind of recipe which you want to cook following your heart! Prepare well, measure every ingredient, read the instructions many times and only then you proceed to make this Mysore Pak!
The recipe below makes little soft (like the fudgy Mysore Pak) and little hard (like the honey combed ones) melt-in-mouth Mysore Pak. I have used oil + ghee combination instead of using all ghee. Traditionally the ghee to gram flour ratio is 2:1, but this 2 cups of oil + ghee mix to 1 and half cups of besan also works wonderfully. Make sure that you don’t get cold feet in the end and try to skim the amount of ghee used as the Mysore Park will not turn to be soft melt in mouth! The sugar used in the following recipe will not make the Mysore Paak overly sweet. Also use of cardamom is optional but I love the aroma and flavour of sweet cardamom I get when every piece melts in my mouth! Other than the cardamom, please stick to the recipe instructions and see your taste buds do somersaults when they are hit by the sweet taste and flavour of Mysore Pak. Believe in yourself and your muscle power… Take a deep breath and dive in to the world of sugar coma!!!
Gram Flour/Chickpea Flour for Mysore Pak
Pure Desi Ghee for Mysore Pak
Gram flour mixed with hot ghee ~ Before sieving
Gram flour mixed with hot ghee ~ Sieved to remove any lumps
Sugar syrup bubbling away
Gram flour dissolved in sugar syrup
Mysore Pak or Gram Flour Fudge (Traditional sweet of Bengal gram flour, ghee and sugar flavoured with cardamom powder from Karnataka, a South Indian state)Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: Around 15-18 mins
Recipe Level: Intermediary to Difficult
Makes: Around 12-15 two inch square by 1 inch thick cubes
Recipe Source: My Amma
Shelf Life: 7-8 days at room temperature and 2-3 weeks when refrigerated (In our case 2-3 days and it will all be gone:)
Serving Suggestion: Do you really need one? As a dessert or as and when your taste buds demands :)
1½ cups Gram Flour/Bengal Gram Flour
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Desi Ghee
1 cup Vegetable Oil (or replace it with Ghee)
½ cup Water
6 Green Cardamoms, peeled and crushed to fine powder (Optional)
Melt-in-mouth delights ~ Mysore PakMethod:
- Take a deep breath and pray!
- Grease a plate liberally with ghee and keep it aside.
- Heat oil and ghee in a pan to smoking hot. Reduce the heat to low. Keep a ladle with long hand right next to it.
- Add 2 tbsp of hot oil + ghee mixture to the gram flour and mix them well with your hand. Here only hands will be most efficient mixing tools, so quit all those fancy ladles and spoons! The soft flour will start to resemble a bread crumbs now. The oil + ghee added to the flour not only aerate the flour but also help in preventing the flour from forming lumps when mixed with the sugar syrup in later stage.
- Sift the flour through fine sieve to remove any lumps and keep it aside till needed.
- Take a small bowl of water and keep close to you. This bow of water will help you in testing if the sugar syrup has reached the correct consistency or not.
- Now heat large heavy bottomed kadai/pan or a large non-stick pan or kadai on medium flame and add sugar and water to it. Please make sure that you use the exact ingredients as given in the ingredient list.
- Sugar will start to dissolve quickly in to the bubbling sugar syrup. You need to keep stirring until it forms one string consistency which means when you place sugar syrup in between your thumb and index finger and pull it a single thread of sugar syrup will be formed. Another way to test is to put a drop of sugar syrup to the bowl with cold water and the sugar syrup will immediately solidify into small crystal balls. This is first of VERY important stages in making Mysore Pak. I wanted to keep a note on time taken to get one string consistency but it was quite difficult to note down to the second with all my concentration on making sure I don’t over do it! But approximately it took me around 3 and half to 4 and half minutes on a medium flame to get one string consistency.
- Once the sugar syrup is ready, slowly start adding sifted gram flour in batches or 1/3 cups and steadily mixing it to make sure no lumps are formed. It helps a lot if you have a help of second set of hands at this stage but I had to do it on my own! As soon as one batch of gram flour is mixed with sugar syrup, add the next batch until all the gram flour is mixed well without any lumps. Mix in crushed cardamom powder if using at this stage.
- Reduce the heat to low to medium and keep stirring for another minute or two. Also increase the heat of oil + ghee mixture on other burner from low to medium-high.
- Now comes the stage of adding oil + ghee mixture in batches. With a help of a ladle, add a ladle full of oil + ghee mixture to the gram flour + sugar mix. The minute you add the oil + ghee mixture to the gram flour mix, it will start to froth up and look bit scary! But don’t worry and jump up as I did as it is a good frothy, scary thing and that is how it should be! All the while make sure that you keep stirring the gram flour mix. Don’t think of giving your hand muscle any break for next few minutes if you want to reward all your hard work with delicious bar of Mysore Pak!
- As soon as the ghee mixture gets mixed well with the gram flour mix, which will be couple of seconds, add next batch of ghee mix. Immediately the gram flour mix will froth up again and continue to absorb this ghee and become slightly thick. Keep continuing to add next batch of ghee and stirring till all the ghee + oil mix has been added to it.
- Soon the yellow colour of gram flour mix will change colour to light brownish yellow and become thicker. The sweet mixture will start to leave the sides and the bottom of the pan and it will become easier to move it around in a pan with heavenly aroma of Mysore Pak teasing your nostrils.
- You are almost there. Just one minute or little more and the dense gram flour paste will start to move around easily around the pan. STOP! Switch off the flame and quickly transfer the gram flour mixture to the greased plate. It will spread out evenly. If not just pat the plate lightly on the hard surface a couple of times.
- Let it cool down slightly and before cutting them to desired shapes. Let it cool down completely before taking them off from plate and store them in air tight containers. With in couple of hours, see them vanishing like a frost when sunlight hits them in early morning like these days! These melt-in-mouth treats will last for long time in room temperature that is if you don’t have sweet teeth people living with you :)
- The two crucial and very important steps in making Mysore Pak are getting the right consistency of sugar syrup to one string consistency and knowing when the Mysore Pak is done. You need to keep a close eye on these two steps or else the Mysore Pak will end up either undercooked or overcooked. Yes, it is matter of mille seconds that decides the outcome of melt-in-mouth sweet delights!
- Preparation, extract measurement and following steps to the T are the 3 main requirements to make Mysore Pak. keep the greased plate ready before you start cooking, measure every individual ingredient and read the instructions many times till you are sure of what you are going to do!
- Addition of cardamom powder is optional, but I like the scent of sweet cardamom that I get with every bite of crumbly Mysore Pak I take.
- Replace the oil with pure Desi Ghee or Vanaspati to get rich flavoured Mysore Pak.
- The recipe above makes not too soft or not too hard Mysore Pak. If you follow the recipe to T, you will end up getting little soft, crumby, melt-in-mouth Mysore Pak as that’s the way we like it at my home!
- The colour of Mysore Pak depends on the quality of the gram flour used, time taken to cook and also at what temperature you cooked it. I have cooked mine at medium to low temperature.