Everyone knows how delicious and popular this sweet is, but not many know about its origin. It was way back in 17th or 18th century that a Royal chef stirred up this amazing sweet for the King and the rest is history.
Mysuru is famous for many things. The magnificent Royal monuments, Chamundi temple, Mysuru silk, Mysuru Zoo and then of course the very famous yet humble Mysuru Pak. The melt in the mouth sweet can be seen in almost every household in Karnataka. Most occasions are incomplete without a serving of Mysuru Pak in Karnataka. Lava Kumar tells us why
The sweet gets its name because of its origin. The birth of the humble sweet was not humble at all as the first serving of this sweet was made in the royal kitchen of the Amba Vilas Palace- the earthly abode of the Wadiyar dynasty.
KakasuraMadappa, a culinary expert in the royal kitchen preparing sweets and spicy snacks for the royal family during the reign of NalvadiKrishnaraja Wadiyar takes the credit for the discovery of this sweet.
Legend has it that over a casual walk in the palace the King called Madappa aside and asked him to prepare a new sweet for a change. The King’s ‘diktat’ created some dilemma in expert Madappa’s mind as he was aware of neither the recipe nor the end product. With no room for delay or a thought to disobey his master’s orders, he headed towards the kitchen and took a mix of chickpea flour (besan), sugar, ghee and little cooking oil to produce a sweet and offered it on a salver to the king.
The King took a special liking for the new sweet and patted Madappa on his back for bringing to him something new, innovative and different. Then the elated king named the sweet ‘Mysuru Paka’.
Another version claims that one afternoon, when the reigning King was ready to have his lunch, Chief Chef Madappa found that one slot on the Royal Thali remained empty and that was the slot of a sweet dish. A nervous Madappa experimented with gram flour, ghee and sugar and the dish that emerged was liked by the King to such an extent that he demanded for a second serving.
When the King quizzed Madappaon what this mouth-watering sweet was called, a confused Madappa replied ‘Mysuru Paka’, which means a sweet concoction made in Mysuru. It was soon officially designated the royal sweet and is even today considered the ‘king’ of sweets in the South. Women in Mysore say that during the 10 days of Dasara festivities, they are meant to prepare at least 51 traditional items. And a platter of food and sweets without a bit of Mysore Pak in it, they say is incomplete.
Madappa’s legacy lives on
Madappa employed in palace those days joined his brother in-law Basavalingappa and started a small sweet shop named ‘Shri Dehikendra Sweet Mart’ which became very famous and Basavalingappa managed the shop. Later Madappa’s son Basavanna started a new outlet ‘Guru Sweet Mart’ near the small clock tower on Sayyaji Rao Road in the city. People used to stand in queue for long hours to buy reasonably priced tasty sweets mainly Mysuru Pak which had conquered the imagination of sweet foodies of Indian origin around the globe by then.
In the year 1954 Madappa purchased a plot which looked like a deep mine and constructed a 12 room building to house his large joint family. The frontage of this house is occupied by culinary experts even to this day where different varieties of sweets including Mysuru Pak and Jilebi roll out to keep all sweet lovers happy.
People living abroad carry a pack of Mysuru Pak to their loved one’s including foreign friends and if one is heading to the palace city from any part of the globe they are reminded by their loved ones to ensure their return baggage contains a pack of ‘Mysuru Pak‘ .
When festive season comes a calling regal Mysore Pak adds one more sweet moment to the family celebrations to relish for a life time.
Make it at home
100 gm chickpea flour (besan)
200 gm sugar
300 gm ghee
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp refined oil (odourless)
1 pinch of turmeric
Roast the flour (without any oil) on a low flame in a wok (kadai) for about 2-3 minutes ensuring that no lumps are formed. Spread the hot flour on a plate. Keep aside. Add water, milk, sugar and turmeric to the wok and heat on a low flame. Also add a pinch of turmeric and oil (odourless) as your stir. Use a second wok (kadai) to melt the ghee on a medium flame. Once the sugar syrup achieves a ‘two thread consistency’ start adding the chickpea (besan) flour gradually and keep stirring as you do. Add a ladle of ghee to the mixture. Wait for the remaining ghee (on the second wok) to reach boiling point before you turn it off. Keep adding the boiling ghee to the first wok ensuring no lumps are formed. Turn off the flame once the mixture assumes a frothy and porous consistency. Greece a plate and pour the mixture on to the plate. Add a little ghee on top of the mixture and also sprinkle some sugar on top. Serve the savoury Mysuru Pak with lots of love.(This article was published in the recent issue of Karnataka Today Magazine)