Deepavali Special – 30-Minute Mysore Pak (Bengal Gram Flour Sweet)

As the name suggests, Mysore Pak does not belong to Tamil Nadu. It has come from the state of Karnataka but has won the hearts of Tamilians, and is one of the most popular and requested sweets here. With Deepavali this weekend the shops are filled with gifts packs of this sweet, so why not surprise everyone with homemade Mysore Pak?

mysore-pak-1-kalas-kalai

Traditional Mysore Pak with the two-tone darker core and lighter surface

This recipe is the traditional crunchy and dry Mysore Pak that many of us grew up with, before the soft and oily Mysore Pa was introduced. It has the two-tone look of classic Mysore Pak with the darker core and lighter surface. I have found many recipes for Mysore pak and have extensively modified and simplified the method to the extent that this recipe takes only 30 minutes – I do it in 25 or less 🙂

Despite its popularity, Mysore pak is not usually made at home by domestic chefs, because of the fear that they will not be able to correctly judge the stages of the sugar syrup. When I first made it in the cookery lab as a 17-year-old following the recipe very carefully, I produced a rock-like lump of sugar and flour and had to be rescued by my professor who was also very nervous of making this delicacy. I also was nervous when I taught this to my students, until I devised a method to correctly judge when the Mysore pak was done.

Nutritive Value

Like most festival specials, this dish is not for those watching their figures. This is another Calorie Colossus and packs dollops of energy. The Bengal gram flour also adds vegetable protein, but it is in very small proportion to the calories.

Ingredients

  • 1 C Bengal Gram Flour
  • 1 ½ C Sugar
  • 1 C Ghee (Clarified Butter) + 1 tsp for greasing the candy tray
  • ½ C Refined Flavourless Vegetable Oil
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • ½ C Water

Method

  1. Grease a 10.5” × 6.5” (27 × 18 cm) candy tray with ghee.
  2. Heat a thick heavy-based kadai or wok.
  3. Add 3 tablespoons of ghee (from the 1 cup).
mysore-pak-2-kalas-kalai

Adding the ghee to the kadai

  1. Fry the Bengal gram flour in the ghee till a pleasant aroma arises. The flour should look granular.
mysore-pak-3-kalas-kalai

Adding the Bengal gram dhal flour to the ghee for frying

mysore-pak-4-kalas-kalai

The fried flour should look granular

  1. Remove to another dry vessel. Wash the kadai.
  2. Add the rest of the ghee to the flour in small quantities, stirring till a smooth batter is obtained.
mysore-pak-5-kalas-kalai

Add the ghee to the flour in small quantities and stir

mysore-pak-6-kalas-kalai

Make a smooth batter of ghee and flour

  1. Place the sugar, salt, and water in the kadai.
mysore-pak-7-kalas-kalai

Preparing the syrup with sugar, salt, and water

  1. Heat the contents till a thick syrup is formed. Drop a very small amount of the syrup in cold water. It should immediately harden into a hard ball (or at least a hard blob).
mysore-pak-8-kalas-kalai

The sugar syrup should form a hard blob (or ball) when dropped in cold water

  1. Lower heat. Add the ghee batter and the oil to the syrup, stirring continuously. When it begins to boil, lower heat and continue stirring.
mysore-pak-9-kalas-kalai

Ghee batter is added to the sugar syrup

mysore-pak-10-kalas-kalai

Oil is then added to the mixture

  1. Within a few minutes the ghee will separate from the mixture.
mysore-pak-11-kalas-kalai

The fat should separate from the mixture within a few minutes

  1. When the mixture resembles curdled milk, pour into the candy tray.
mysore-pak-12-kalas-kalai

Pouring the done mixture into the candy tray

  1. Draw lines immediately before the Mysore pak cools.
mysore-pak-13-kalas-kalai

Use a palette knife to draw lines in the Mysore Pak before it cools

  1. Remove from tray when completely cooled.

Notes

  1. I use Sundrop Heart (sunflower + rice oil). You can even use groundnut oil if it is flavourless.
  2. Mysore pak recipes usually have no vegetable oil, and only use ghee. I substituted half a cup of ghee with half a cup of vegetable oil to give a smoother texture and to improve the mouth feel of the Mysore pak. Pure ghee tends to coat the tongue.
  3. The Bengal gram flour should be fried on low heat till a pleasant aroma arises. Do not brown. A browned flour will totally ruin the flavour and taste of Mysore pak.
  4. If you continue to stir even after the ghee has separated, the ghee will be reabsorbed and lots of air will be trapped. This is not safe as the batter may overflow when it is poured into the tray and cause burns. The texture of the Mysore pak will also change to a much softer one.
mysore-pak-14-kalas-kalai

This is what Mysore Pak shouldn’t look like. It has been stirred too long and has smooth surfaces without the two-tone colouring

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