South Indian sweets are a little different from sweets from other parts of the country. They do not have the overkill of sugar as evident in north India, and neither do they have a very strong milk/cottage cheese base as is common in the eastern parts of the country. There is a lot of thought put into such sweet and there is a delicate taste that lingers in the mouth.
One such is a delicacy called Mysore Pak.
Mysore Pak is one of the signature sweets of Karnataka. This sweet in commonly available across the state, but the authentic Mysore Pak is available only at a sweet stall located near the Devaraja Market in Mysore called Guru Sweets. This sweet stall belongs to the family of a chef who first discovered the Mysore Pak nearly 100 years ago.
Traditionally made of sugar, ghee, and besan, Mysore Pak comes in two basic varieties in several flavours, either in a crumbly, porous rectangular block or a soft, mushy variety.
Anyone with a sweet tooth knows that the much-loved Mysore Pak comes in two varieties: hard, porous blocks that restaurants and small stores sell from glass jars, and a wet ghee-infused version that dominates most cities today. Traditionally, it was served in weddings and other festivals across southern India.
According to legend, Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV, the king of Mysore, was a food connoisseur. One day, as the king sat down to have his lunch, his royal cook Kakasura Madappa realised he had forgotten to prepare a dessert. When the king inquired about the missing course, Madappa quickly concocted an unusual mix of gram flour, ghee and sugar to make a soft fudge-like mixture. The king was ecstatic when he tried this hot sweet. When he asked for its name, the cook quickly named it Mysore Pak. Pleased with this delicacy, the king eventually asked Madappa to open a shop (the Guru Sweet Mart) outside the Amba Vilas palace grounds.
Soon, this royal sweet was officially designated as the ‘king’ of sweets in south India.
Paaka or extreme sweet refers to the sticky sugar syrup obtained by simmering sugar with an equal amount of water; specifically for Mysore Pak, the simple syrup heated to the softball stage. The syrup, used as the primary sweetening agent in various Indian sweet dishes like jalebi, badam puri, Mysore pak and others. The syrup is given taste with spice essences like cardamom, rose, honey etc. Paaka syrup preparation is a skilled art mastered by few cooks. Some of whom keep their methods secret.
This sweet Mysore pak improved as time went by. However, the original sweet made with the original recipe is still available at the famous “Guru Sweets” stores in Devaraja Market, run by Nataraj, great-grandson of the original inventor of the dish Kakasura Madappa.
- •(1 Cup = 240ml )
- • 1 cup besan or gram flour
- • 1 ¾ cup sugar
- • ½ cup water
- • 1 cup ghee
- • ½ cup oil (preferably peanut oil)
- Recipe/Cooking method
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes Total Servings: 12 pieces
1. Pour 1 tbsp of ghee onto a small tray for setting the Mysore Pak. Set this aside.
2. With the help of a sieve over a large bowl, measure accordingly and add besan to the sieve.
3. Sieve twice, divide the flour into three parts and finally transfer them into small bowls. Set this aside.
4. On a burner, place a kadai (a deep cooking pot) and heat ghee and oil on low to medium heat.
Sugar Syrup For Mysore Pak
1. On another burner, place a wide deep pan. Pour and heat the sugar and water.
2. While stirring often, boil the sugar syrup until it reaches a medium consistency.
3. To check the consistency of the syrup, test a small portion of the syrup in between your thumb and index finger. If it’s perfect, you will be able to see a single string in between your fingers. Ensure the ghee and oil is hot.
How to Make Mysore Pak
1. On a medium flame, add 1/3rd portion of flour to the bubbling sugar syrup. Stir well until the flour completely blends well with the syrup.
2. Then add the next 1/3rd portion of flour. Make sure to not form any lumps and blend the flour well with the sugar syrup.
3. In 1 ladle, add hot ghee and oil to the pan. If the oil and ghee sizzle immediately, it means the ghee and oil is hot enough (which is what you need). Stir well until the ghee has been completely absorbed.
4. Keep adding the ghee in parts and continue stirring until the ghee is well absorbed every time. Make sure it is sizzling, every time the ghee is added.
5. When the Mysore Pak is almost finished, the mixture will turn quite thick with a lot of pores. Avoid adding any more ghee at this stage otherwise, the excess will ooze out. The mixture will leave the pan completely within a few seconds.
6. Quickly, transfer onto a greased pan and level the top. Keep this aside for 10 to 15 minutes and then cut into desired sized pieces.
7. Let the Mysore Pak cool down completely and store in an airtight jar at room temperature.