HYDERABAD: A couple of years back, during one of the periods of Indo-Pak border tension, a food lover had tweeted that he was going to boycott Mysore Pak, the premier sweet from Karnataka unless it was not renamed to Mysore India. As deserved, he was widely trolled for his comment as the word pak in the sweet did refer to a Kannada word paka which translates to sugar syrup, and not Pakistan.
Mysore Pak, a traditional sweet prepared from gram flour, ghee and sugar syrup has quite a history behind its creation. It originated about a century ago at the kitchens of the Royal Palace of Mysore. It is said that as per the desire of Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV, his palace cook Kakasura Madappa created this new sweet where thick sugar syrup was one of the main ingredients. When he was asked about the name of the dish, he casually replied “Mysuru Paka” or sugar sweet from Mysore.
The king liked the preparation so much that he officially designated it as the royal sweet. If you travel to Mysore even now, you can buy this sweet from the descendants of the original chef at a place called Guru Sweet Mart in that city. This shop was started 90 years ago by Basavanna, a son of Madappa. The sweet remains popular and is a must-try during the Dussehra festival in Mysore.
Preparation of Mysore Pak is quite laborious. Sugar syrup is boiled separately till it is thick. The gram flour is next added to it in phases and churned continuously over firewood with ghee added to it gradually. The cheaper versions of the sweet use vanaspati to supplement the ghee. A little turmeric is also added for the golden yellow colour, and cardamom powder brings in the flavour. Once the mixture becomes thick and coarse, it is then poured on a flat dish, tapped to get a flat shape and cut into pieces.
The original Mysore Pak is a porous sweet which is hard outside. Shri Krishna Sweets a Coimbatore based sweet shop created a soft ghee-laden variant of the dish and named it Mysurpa. This melt-in-the mouth dessert became so famous that the shop expanded to many other locations all over the country and even abroad. As per them, Mysurpa is the largest selling pure ghee sweet in India. They have quite a few branches in Hyderabad, including one each in Secunderabad, Kukatpally and Ameerpet. Almond House the premier sweet chain in Hyderabad is also known for its Mysore Pak. They have two variants, the original one as well as a milk version. Sabyasachi is a food enthusiast and blogs atwww.foodaholix.in