Mysore Pak (soft)
By DK on Apr 19, 2011
The word "Mysore Pak" does wonders to an Indian's palate (esp. a South Indian). Immediately as if a switch went on, there is an instant drool. This has to be one of those most complicated yet most loved and popular sweets of all. Takes lots of practice and experience to make but the result - so damn worth it. When I think of Mysore Pak, I think of a sweet which is slightly hard and crumbly with a honey comb texture since that's what I grew up with. But then came another new (and improved?!!?) version from the famous South Indian Sweetmeat shop called Shri Krishna Sweets where they made theirs which was exceedingly soft with a melt-in-the-mouth texture oozing with ghee and sugar. Extremely high calorie and extremely delicious. People thronged in like crazy over these and that passion continues till date. The honey comb texture is still made and loved but these melt-in-the-mouth types, I think, are a full head ahead in the race.
This version is similar. I say similar and not the exact same cos its not brimming or oozing with ghee nor it is saccharine 'I-am-going-to-puke-sugar-with-another-bite" sweet. But its close. :) It melts just like the ones at the shop and its DELISH. Regular readers know that I am all anti sweets but even I couldn't save myself from a total sugar high (ate 4 big squares without any prodding or begging! Come to think of it, I don't even remember my mom offering one!) Talking of whom, this was made by my mom. She is a queen of Sweets - be it in making them or for eating them- royally. She can survive on those alone - so much unlike me.:) And well - since this is one of the most complicated sweets, it is certainly not an ideal one if you want to capture the steps of making one! Lots of screaming, scolding and cursing happened while this process was being shot . Although the steps below seem to mislead a viewer of the length of the process, let me tell you - it takes only about 15 minutes. The process is extremely fast and it is not 'my-kind-of-recipes'. By that mean which allows for multitasking! I survive on multitasking (not by choice, believe me) and this is move-i-will-bite type of recipe...but man! It is sooo worth it :) We use part oil instead of all ghee and if you made a face - trust me, you will not know it!
Prep Time: Under 15 min
Cook Time: Under 15 min
Serves: 8+ people
Yield: About 15 med-large pieces
- 1-1/2 cups Gram flour (Besan), sifted
- 1 cup Ghee (we used solidified)
- 1 cup Olive oil (light. NOT Extra Virgin). or use all ghee
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
Heat the oil and ghee together.
In another pan or vessel take the sifted gram flour(besan)
Now add few tablespoons of the hot ghee to the flour.
Just about 1-2 tbsp enough to mix it a little so that it forms into crumbs. This process is done so that it prevents the flour forming lumps while you add it to the sugar syrup mixture.NOTE You are not roasting the flour here. I know the pan on the stove is misleading but my mother is only pouring the ghee on the flour and mixing it to form crumbs. You can do this on the side on a plate too.
Now soft this flour well.
Meanwhile mix the water and sugar together in a heavy pan.
Let it come to a boil and keep it going until you get a one thread consistency. ( The candy thermometer would show 220º F - 222º F)
This is where you need more than one hands (surely not a great situation when you want to take photos). Keep stirring the pan while you sprinkle the flour evenly all over the syrup's surface. (Please give a warm welcome to my mom's hands at Chef In You ;)) Note: Please get used to the word "stirring" cos from this point on to almost the end of the post I am going to be using this term repeatedly to the point of boredom. But I hope to be excused cos this action is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT for the well being of Mysore Pak as well as the consumer later on :)
Once all the flour is in and well stirred this is how it will start looking. Mind you - you are still going to keep stirring. Tips : At this point keep the flame to Low-Medium heat. This is to make sure that the flour does not turn red very soon. Also make sure that the ghee mixture on the side is Med-High flame. You want to keep it at that temperature (so keep the flame going for ghee)
Take a ladle of ghee mixture and pour it evenly on the flour surface at the same time keeping the stirring going. The minute you add the hot ghee to the flour, it will froth up like the picture below. Yes, dont worry - we need that :).
When you see the flour absorbing the ghee and starts becoming thick (which will be in just few seconds), pour another ladle of ghee. It will froth up again,
wait for few seconds till it starts to look like its thickening slightly,
add more ghee.
Keep repeating this process and you will soon see that the mixture keeps getting thick and also changes color from bright yellow to brownish yellow. At this point you will also be hit with a amazing aroma of Mysore Pa. The deepening of color is dependent on the flame. If kept high, it will turn deep red (or deep brownish red)
Also the flour mixture should start leaving the sides. The stirring action will show that the flour mixture starts moving more easily without sticking to the sides or bottom. As you can see below, the bottom of the pan is seen more clearly than it did before.
If you stop stirring for a second, you will also find the mixture rising up with lots of frothing action that it actually starts looking more like the surface of a bubbling molten lava !!.( Sorry I couldn't come up with any other appetizing word. I think its the closest thing to describing how it looks ) Tip: You can try one trick which my mother insists works more often than not, to find out the correct "padham" or "doneness". While stirring, quickly put a drop of the flour mixture on a plate. You should be able to shape the mixture into a small ball that is soft in consistency. Warning: Make sure that you do this all fast cos the sweet goes from not done to done to overdone in matter of milli seconds.
Keep stirring once again - the mixture should now move more freely, will be very aromatic, becomes thick - sort of comes together into a floaty mass and the bottom of the pan is seen more clearly. Tip: When you run the spatula through the middle of the mixture in a straight line, it should part leaving a clear trail. The best example I can think of right now would be like how Moses parted the red sea (!!) - See [ IMAGE ]. Of course it wont stay that way until the followers can pass through!!! But you get the idea. Once you can do that, you know its time for the next step.
Take a well greased plate or pan and pour the hot mixture into it.
Pat the Pan on the surface couple of times to make sure that the mixture spreads evenly on all sides. Let it sit for some time to cool down a little. You don't want to cool it down all the way. You just want to cool it down until it hardens up a little. This is because you need it to be still soft enough to cut it into shapes. Otherwise it will be too hard to do it properly.
Once set, cut them into desirable shapes. We did a simple square.
Now cool it completely and then slowly using a knife, remove the pieces.
Yummy, melt-in-the-mouth Mysore Pa all ready to be devoured. If you can stop eating them enough to have leftovers, then store them at room temperature in a zip lock bag or in a regular container. It keeps well for a long time.
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