Pride of Karnataka, Mysore pak, the quintessential sweet of Mysore (my home town) known for its melt in the mouth feel and richness oozing from copious amounts of Ghee is considered as the king of sweets in our state. The kind of sinfully delicious premium Indian sweet worth preparing for the king of festivals. DeepavaLi tradition in Indian homes is incomplete without sweets. What better way to celebrate Deepavali, the festival of lights and grandeur than with Mysore Pak, right?
I make Mysore pak very rarely but whenever I make, I make it the way it should be made, without any compromises. Eat a little, but eat the best one, that’s my policy.
I am sharing our no compromise beloved heirloom recipe today. If you are looking for a diet friendly, made with less Ghee kind of a recipe or a shortcut 10 min recipe, this is not that. This is the Ghee dripping recipe, as close to authentic as can be.
Legend has it that Mysore Pak was an accidental discovery. The royal cook of the Mysore palace was once experimenting to dish up something new for the King’s feast. He was playing around with sugar syrup, gram flour and then added generous amounts of Ghee to make it fit for the royal Mysore Maharaja and ended up with the sweet we now know as Mysore Pak.
Though he was hesitant to serve it, the king asked for a taste and upon tasting it, he was so overjoyed that he asked what the sweet was called. The cook not knowing what to call it, uttered “Mysuru Paaka” (Paaka means sugar syrup consistency in Kannada – basically sweet of Mysore). And that’s how history was made.
The biggest differentiating factor in comparison to all other sweets is that there are no flavorings used in the making of Mysore Pak. No saffron. No Cardamom. Nothing. Just the flavor of pure Ghee standing out. That is the mark of original Mysore Pak. The main characteristic of a good Mysore Pak is the porosity – light and airy yet melt in the mouth softness.
Traditionally Mysore Pak has just 3 ingredients (other than water) and the fat of choice is pure Ghee. The popular store made versions use oil and smell like it as well and differ totally in consistency too. I am clearly no fan of such super soft oily store made Mysore Pak. The only one that I ever eat is the one made at home.
The sweet, one of the most amazing is however quite unforgiving, finicky and temperamental and demands undivided attention. It is true, be it the first time or the nth time. Persistence is essential to master this sweet. It is just a matter of practice.
In my aunt’s words, who is a resident expert on Mysore Pak, making Mysore Pak is as easy as 1-2-3. There are just 3 main ingredients (other than water) and the ratio of the ingredients is 1 (gram flour) : 2 (sugar) : 3 (pure homemade ghee).
Since ghee is one of the main ingredients, good quality ghee is paramount for a good outcome. The quality of Mysore pak directly depends on it. I prefer pure homemade Ghee and nothing less.
In my grand dad’s place, freshly milled Bengal gram flour is always used as it makes the best Mysore Pak. If you have access to it, there’s nothing like that.
It can be made with Cane sugar too and I have tried it. Cane sugar naturally changes the color of the sweet as well as the consistency. I will update here after more recipe testing for those of you interested in better choice of sweeteners.
This year, a bunch of us blogger friends are coming together to throw a special virtual Diwali Potluck, the fabulous idea for which was thought of by my lovely friend Kankana.
Do check out what my awesome blogger friends have cooked up for this virtual potluck by following #diwalipotluck on instagram
Go check out what my friends are contributing to the potluck menu:
Hope you do get to make this incredible sweet and enjoy with your family and friends!
Wish you all a very Happy and safe DeepavaLi! And memorable times with your framily.
If you happen to make Mysore Pak using this recipe, do share on instagram and tag me #justhomemade
Karnataka specialty sweet - melts in your mouth
makes about 20-25 squares or rectangles
- 1/2 cup besan or bengal gram flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water a little more than enough to soak the sugar
- 1 cup ghee plus half teaspoon for greasing
- 7 " x 1" shallow square tin
- parchment paper to line the tin optional
Grease a square tin or non reactive container (at least about one inch high) with half a spoon of ghee and keep aside. Alternatively, line the square tin with parchment paper. This makes taking out the pieces easy.
Sift Besan / Bengal gram flour to get rid of lumps. Do not skip this step.
Measure sugar and water, pour into a thick bottomed pan or kadai.
Stir and bring to a boil on medium heat.
Stay by the stove from here on till the end.
When sugar syrup begins to rapidly bubble, reduce the heat to sim and take the pan off the stove over to the counter. Pour sifted besan flour slowly into the pan while whisking quickly to avoid lumps from forming. Crush any remaining lumps with the back of a slotted spoon. I find Pav bhaji masher very helpful for this.
Put the pan back on the stove on low-medium heat and keep stirring.
When Besan mixture begins to bubble up vigorously, add 1/4 cup of ghee and continue stirring until all the ghee is absorbed. Repeat this in 2-3 tbsp increments until all the ghee is used up and absorbed. Each time ghee is added, the besan mixture bubbles up more and becomes frothier.
As it cooks, more and more of the surface of the pan will begin to be visible. This is the time to be mindful. Keep stirring continuously until the bubbling is less frequent, begins to make a hissing sound.
When the smoother looking mixture turns to a thicker and porous, add the last portion of ghee and stir. It will come together as one mass and will rise up like as froth. Now, every second is crucial. A few seconds before might be too early and few later might be too late. Make sure you are not distracted.
At this point, as it peels away from the sides of the pan easily, pour the contents into the greased square pan. Do not pat down or try to level it. Let it fill the pan or container. Otherwise it will not be airy and porous.
Let it cool down a little. After 5-10 mins, run a knife to see if it comes out clean. If yes, cut it into squares or rectangles while still warm. Else, wait a few more mins and cut. Let cool completely before storing otherwise it will smell rancid later.
When done right, it should be porous, light, hard enough to hold shape but melts in the mouth.
If there is ghee oozing after pouring into the box or tin, it should be absorbed after sometime.
If Mysore pak turned out soft and holds shape but not porous, then it mean that the desired consistency was not reached. Nothing can be done about the texture. It is a matter of practice. It will still taste very good.
If Mysore pak is porous but brittle, it means that sugar was more and ghee was not enough.
If you want to reduce the sugar, do not reduce beyond 3/4 cup else the desired consistency is hard to achieve.
Using the square tin gives uniformly cut pieces (also reduces wastage after cutting)
If you are trying for the first time, try with a smaller quantity to get a hang of it. That way, even if it does not come out well, wastage will be less.
* I have used a ratio of 1(gram flour) : 2 (sugar) : 2 (ghee) in this recipe. Original recipe calls for 1:2:3. If you do decide to go all out with the original recipe ratio, keep adding Ghee in increments as said in the recipe until the Ghee is not absorbed any more. Rest is the same.
The difference is adding that extra Ghee is that Mysore Pak will stay soft for a longer time.