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The legacy of Mysore Pak

Mysore Palace

Mysore Palace

Mysore Pak: History and legacy

Kakasura Madappa was the head chef of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV of Mysore. To make something new, he tried and experimented to make this sweet. The King loved the sweet and it was named Mysore Pak. The word ‘Pak’ comes from ‘Paaka’ which means extreme sweet or sugar syrup (sugar concoction). This is an essential element for the making of the sweet. A mixture of gram flour, ghee, and sugar is added with the syrup to attain the final sweet texture of Mysore Pak. Honey, cardamom or rose essence are used to add flavors. There are many variations and makers today, but the 100-year-old original recipe is available at the ‘Guru sweets’ store by the great-grandsons of Malappa in Mysore. When Maharaja loved the recipe, he wanted the people also to taste it and the sweet shop was opened by Madappa. Desikendra Sweet stall was opened in Ashoka Road which was named Guru Sweet Mart and shifted to Saiyyaji Rao Road. When 51 recipes are prepared during Dasara, Mysore Pak is a must. There are two types of Mysore Pak, hard and soft versions. The traditional version is the hard one.

Mysore Pak

Mysore Pak

Let’s look at the soft version of the Mysore Pak recipe which can be tried easily at home:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Ghee
  • 2 cups Gram flour (Besan)

Should be strained 2-3 times to get a smooth texture and avoid lumps.

  • 2 cups of Sugar
  • 1/2 cup of Water
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Take a heavy bottom pan. Roast the gram flour until it turns aromatic, and the raw smell goes away. Generally, it takes 10-12 minutes. Carefully roast it so that it does not burn. Let it cool for some time and then add the 2 cups of ghee. Now keep mixing and cooking on a low flame. When the besan and the ghee are thoroughly mixed, keep aside.

Now mix the water and the sugar in a pan and boil it on a medium flame to make the sugar syrup. Continue boiling until it reaches strand consistency.

Mix it with the besan mixture and keep stirring. When it is done, the mixture will not stick to the pan. Remove it from flame and keep it aside. If the mixture looks dry, more ghee can be added slowly.

Take a tray or a deep plate with parchment paper and spread the mixture on it. Cut it into the desired shape or pattern, ex. diamond or square. Let it cool down. The mixture will harden and be ready to serve.

This can be stored for one month in a cool climate else it can also be refrigerated. Making correct sugar syrup consistency is the key and should be prepared carefully.

Important note: Never leave it unattended, especially when stirring.

Nowadays oil is also used to make this, but it does not give the same results as it comes with ghee. Half oil and half ghee are used and give good results. Using oil makes it porous while ghee gives a smooth and soft texture that melts in your mouth. Per day almost 1000 customers visit Guru Sweets where 40 % are tourists or visitors from nearby places of Mysore.

City of Mysore(Karnataka,India)

City of Mysore(Karnataka,India)

Conclusion

There are enormous, sweet recipes found all over India which are created regularly and popularly available in the market. Mysore Pak is one of those rare recipes that are carrying the legacy and is transferred from one generation to another in a long span of 85 years. In the ever-changing world, it is always good to relish such food with traditional touch and value.

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