The Mysore Pak was originally known as Masoor Pak and was made with masoor dal flour. The exact origin of the recipe is unknown, although some claim that it was created in or near the Mysore Palace by a cook raised in the Kakasura Madappa.
Its history dates back to, probably sometime in the 17th or 18th century Mysore, where during the reign of King Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV, the recipe was invented in the kitchens of the palace by the chef Kakasura Madappa. Having no idea for his creation, Madappa decided to call the recipe Mysore Pak, which means in Sanskrit and in several other languages as the sweetness of Mysore.
The King was so enamored of the delicate sweetness of the snack that he asked it be to serve to ordinary people outside the palace gates. Whether or not the story is true, it remains a popular topic in the numerous food stalls bordering the path to the palace grounds.
This succulent dessert had a phenomenal success and spread throughout India and also abroad through Indian expatriates. Today, this specialty of Mysore attracts many tourists who come to taste this dessert in the pastry shops held by the descendants of its creator. This sweet is relatively easy to make and is as popular in children's lunchboxes as it is in festivals. Families make sweets to share with neighbors and family members as well as to offer to the gods.
Desserts also have a place in the daily kitchen. For many Indians, both at home and abroad, Mysore Pak is something of a comfort food. Many mothers will make the sweet to pack in cans of children's food or to share at tea time or as a snack after school.
Mysore Pak is a very popular aperitif at the annual Mysore Dasara festival, which brings together a large number of artists and musicians to the palace. The festival lasts several weeks and includes parades, concerts, and celebrations in general. The vendors prepare Mysore Pak along with other desserts and Indian dishes. Families often also make the snack to take away, too. Thanks to its solid, cooked nature, it transports well and does not require refrigeration.
Making the dessert is relatively simple. Ghee usually comes in the form of a solid, but must be melted and liquefied in order to make Mysore Pak. The liquid is thickened with sugar and flour, which is made from ground chickpeas. Cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks are often added to the mixture as it simmers to give it flavor.
Cooks pour the mixture into the greased molds, then cut into small or diamonds square once cooled. Depending on how long it has been left to simmer, the finished Mysore Pak can be friable and soft or brittle and crunchy. A softer consistency is generally believed to be more traditional, although both versions have many followers.
Mysore Pak - A sweet made of chickpea flour, ghee and cardamom
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Calories per serving: 325 calories per 100 gms
250 grams chickpea flour
50 grams ghee
50 grams powdered sugar
4 cardamom pods
1 cup milk
Mix the flour with half of the ghee and roast it. Sieve it and mix well and set aside for 15 mins.
Heat the sugar in milk till it reaches a thick consistency. Slowly add the flour stirring continuously so that no lumps are formed. When it is well blended, pour in slowly ghee stirring continuously and the cardamoms. Cook till the mixture becomes frothy and the ghee separates.
Spread out on a greased plate. When firm cut the Mysore Pak into squares.
Microwave Mysore Pak
Mix the flour with half of the ghee and roast it in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds in the microwave. Sieve it and mix well and set aside for 15 mins.
Heat the sugar in milk till reaches a ball consistency for about 5 minutes. Slowly add the flour stirring continuously so that no lumps are formed.
When it is well-blended, pour in slowly ghee stirring continuously and the cardamoms. Cook for another 2 minutes till the mixture becomes frothy and the ghee separates.
Spread out on a greased plate and allow to cool for 10 minutes. When firm cut the Mysore Pak into squares.