I am doing a complete turn-around from my usual oh-so-easy-yet-yummy dessert posts today. Indian sweet treats are a test of patience, endurance and experience. Mind you, that does not mean we cannot make them at home ourselves. With a little practice and attention to detail, it can be done!
We take everyday ingredients (like lentils, pulses, flour, even vegetables), add a generous amount of sweetening agent and fat (almost always ghee or clarified butter), cook them over a hot stove, say a little prayer, hope the consistency is right, let them cool down and set properly. Then we eat them, and go into sugar-induced coma!
Mysore Pak is a perfect example of this. It is a sweet treat from Southern India (more precisely Karnataka, Mysore being a historic city there). Legend has it that the royal cook came up with this to impress the then ruler.
It is made using besan (i.e, gram flour or chickpeas/garbanzo flour), along with sugar and ghee. Just three ingredients. If they happen to meet at the right temperature, and at the right consistency, they make these tiny bars of sweet heaven. God, help me! Just typing this out is making me drool!
This post is late I know, what with the festivities of Diwali all over and done with over the weekend. But I made this sweet on Monday, because well, it’s my first attempt, and I wanted the house to myself. I would either create magic in my kitchen or declare it a disaster zone, bury the evidence deep in the trash bin and nurse my hurt ego.
I had a long chat with mom who kept repeating, “You really must get the consistency of the sugar syrup right”. Gee, thanks! That makes it real easy, ma. I realize I should have paid more attention in the kitchen when I was younger. Then I found a helpful recipe online with step-by-step pictures. You should probably try that recipe, but I will tell you how mine turned out anyway.
The recipe calls for a cup of flour, 2 cups of sugar and an equal amount of ghee. Since ghee is atrociously expensive here, and since I didn’t know how these would turn out, and also since I had a sudden, false sense of health-consciousness, I made this using 1 cup of ghee and 1 cup of oil. It is a quick recipe, you can be finished in under half an hour.
You will need:
- Gram flour – 1 cup, sifted
- Sugar – 2 cups
- Water – 1/2 cup
- Ghee or clarified butter – 1 cup
- Vegetable oil – 1 cup
Note: Or use 1 and 3/4 cup ghee and 1/4 cup vegetable oil for richer Mysore Pak (2 cups fat in total)
Must have on hand:
- A large, deep pan to cook the Mysore Pak
- Another saucepan to heat the ghee and oil
- Ladle or Indian curry spoon to spoon the hot fat
- A well-greased 8″ or 9″ pan to set the sweets (Use ghee for greasing. Also, prepare this in advance, as you must transfer the Mysore Pak to the pan as soon as it is finishes cooking)
- Confidence, if you are a first-timer
- Combine the sugar and water in the large pan and start heating it on medium heat.
- Simultaneously, heat the ghee and oil in another saucepan.
- Add a tablespoon of hot ghee to the gram flour and mix with your fingers to make a crumbly mixture. Sift this thoroughly. Coax the coarse crumbs through the sieve/strainer with your fingers.
- Let the sugar syrup come to a boil and reach a single-thread consistency. When the sugar comes to a rolling boil, go ahead and do a finger test. That is the Indian way, there is no escaping it! Keep boiling till the consistency is reached.
- Add the sifted flour gradually and combine well, ensuring there are no lumps. Be thorough, but really fast too.
- Once the flour is combined with the sugar syrup, add the hot ghee-oil mixture little by little. Keep stirring vigorously after each addition. The mixture will turn frothy and the ghee will dissolve quickly. Work fast – add a big ladle of hot ghee and oil, mix well, repeat.
- Repeat till you find that the mixture turns porous and forms a congealed mass, leaving the sides of the pan. The ghee will start separating at the sides. Do not overcook. This is very important so that the Mysore Pak stays soft and does not get burned or harden like a rock once cooled.
- Quickly transfer to the pan greased with ghee and smooth gently with the back of a spoon.
- Make score marks with a sharp, greased knife while still warm, cut into bars once cooled and enjoy!
- Store in an airtight container.
I cut these bars in half again. If the consistency is right, you should have no difficulty cutting the bars of Mysore Pak even when cool.
My Mysore Pak was slightly crumbly. It could be because of the oil I substituted for the ghee or because my overall consistency may have been slightly off.
Still, I consider this a good effort for a first-timer, because it tasted just like good Mysore Pak should – sweet and melt-in-the-mouth decadent!!
Tell me, do you make sweets for celebrations or do you find it too much work? Are you a scaredy-cat like me? Let me know if you have a better recipe or special tips and tricks.
You may also like this modified, easy-to-make Coconut Barfi recipe.
Or how about this delicious Beetroot Halva for your next event or celebration.
I am linking this up at these awesome blogs.
- A Blossoming Life
- Skip To My Lou
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- Better With Age
- Home Stories A To Z
- My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
- A Stroll Thru Life
- Cedar Hill Ranch
- Coastal Charm
- Elizabeth & Co
- House On The Way
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- The NY Melrose Family
- Not Just A Housewife
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- Reasons To Skip The Housework
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- My Romantic Home
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- Love of Family and Home
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- DIY Show Off
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- Nifty Thrifty Things
- By Stephanie Lynn