Sift the flour well. I find doing this step helps a great deal in avoiding lumps later.
Any hard bits can be pressed into flour and used. Discard dirt or debris if any.
Its extremely essential that you measure everything correctly. If your ghee is solid, melt and then measure the amount.
In a skillet/kadai, warm the 125ml ghee. Don't overheat it - just slightly warm.
Add the besan and stir to combine. Essentially we are making what the French call as roux.
This will be the trickiest part of today's recipe - making sure that you toast the flour well. The raw taste spoils the entire dish, so it pays to be a little overzealous in this step. Just don't burn it :) Traditionally the aroma dictates the "doneness". You start getting a toasty smell and the flour takes a deeper yellow from light yellow. I learned the difference during my beginner days by tasting the flour in the beginning and then after toasting. This process takes about 10-12 minutes on low flame. Don't forget to stir since it starts foaming otherwise. Another trick to check for doneness is to throw in a raw cashew along with the flour. When the cashew gets golden brown, your flour is about done as well. You can remove the cashew or use it, (or nibble it as a treat for a job well done!) - up to you. Set the roux aside.
In a standardized
(v. important) 2L PC,
take the required sugar. I use organic blond sugar. It tends to taste a little less sweeter than regular sugar and that works perfect for our palate.
Next add 1/4 cup water followed by 1 tbsp ghee. You can replace this ghee with cooking oil instead.
and give it a whisk to slightly combine. Just 3-4 turns should do.
Cook on HIGH until 5 whistles - around 4 minutes. The number of whistles can be from 4-6 with 4 whistles providing the soft fudge like consistency and 6 whistles for a firm consistency.
May be because of the weather and/or different sugar that I use, 4 whistles gives me a very soft fudge that needs refrigeration to set - at times with almost halwa'ish texture. Hence I opt for either 5 or 6 whistles. The time taken for all of them must be within/around 4 minutes. More than 6 whistles will give you a sugar syrup with 1 string consistency - which is not a bad thing, but that won't make you the soft "melt-in-the-mouth" mysore pak that we are making today. So make sure you keep a timer nearby so that you don't extend the cooking time. If whistles are not coming, then you have a leaky/faulty cooker.
The pressure valve pops up within couple of minutes,
followed by the whistles. I gave it 6 whistles for this tutorial today which took me around 4 minutes.
Switch off the heat and immediately release pressure using a spatula or any long ladle.
This is how the sugar syrup looks like upon opening.
Immediately, pour out the roux - the flour paste into the bubbling syrup.
Give it a quick mix until well combined.
Pour this to a well greased plate or pan. I used my regular 8" cake pan for this. A small/deep pan will give you thick slices similar to the ones sold at Krishna Sweets shops ands the likes. But any greased surface would work.
Let it sit for few minutes until it starts firming up.
Before it cools down completely, make slices. Its easier now when its warm than later. Then let it sit to cool down completely before removing these delicious golden slabs of heaven!