For those unfamiliar with south Indian sweets, the Mysore Pak is a rich satisfying delicacy made with the goodness of flour, sugar and butter. One of the signature sweets of Karnataka, the origin of this dessert dates back 70 years to the kitchens of the Royal Mysore palace. The texture of this delicacy is similar to that of a dense buttery cookie.
Available almost everywhere in India now, the authentic Mysore Pak is only available at a sweet stall called Guru Sweets located near the Devaraja Market in Mysore. Indulging yourself in this legendary sweet from Mysore should be at the top on your to-do list.
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How Did The Name Of Mysore Pak Come About?
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.
The royal family had asked their cook, Kakasura Madappa to produce a sweet that was different. As a courtesy to the king, the name Mysore was added to the word ‘pak’ from ‘nalapaka’ which in Kannada means the person who makes the ‘paka’ or sugar syrup.
How Was Mysore Pak Invented?
According to legend, former Mysore king Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV 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.
How Did Its Popularity Spread?
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.
Recently, the hard version is slowly being replaced by the new age version of Mysore Pak, a softer ghee Mysurpa. First, it was launched by Shri Krishna Sweets and later occupied the shelves of every sweet shop in south India. It is now the largest selling sweet in south India.
The Controversy Of Mysore Pak
Caught in a bitter controversy, the owners of the famed Mysore Pak have decided to officially file for a GI tag.
Two days after a tweet by a columnist Anand Ranganathan, where he joked that the Modi government had granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Mysore Pak to Tamil Nadu, the family of Madappa, a Mysore Palace royal cook who invented the sweet, felt it’s time they got recognition for spreading sweetness in the world.
Recipe For Mysore Pak
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes Total Servings: 12 pieces
Ingredients For Mysore Pak (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)
- Pour 1 tbsp of ghee onto a small tray for setting the Mysore Pak. Set this aside.
- With the help of a sieve over a large bowl, measure accordingly and add besan to the sieve.
- Sieve twice, divide the flour into three parts and finally transfer them into small bowls. Set this aside.
- 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
- On another burner, place a wide deep pan. Pour and heat the sugar and water.
- While stirring often, boil the sugar syrup until it reaches a medium consistency.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Let the Mysore Pak cool down completely and store in an airtight jar at room temperature.
Food For Thought
Every dish has a story, about its origin, a particular uniqueness about where it came from, and the ways of the people living there. It’s a way to culturally identify different places, through their unique flavours. India has a long and rather wonderful history of hundreds of cuisines and accompanying desserts, and Mysore Pak reigns among the top favourites. The moment you sink your teeth into the square, you will feel like you’re on cloud nine. Wash down this beloved sweet with some coffee for an ultimate kick.
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