Mysore pak (Indian chickpea fudge) for my Madras ajji

WordPress tells me that it is my 100th post. I never thought I’d get here when I started writing on a cold winter’s night in December 2011. I also wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the constant support and encouragement of my partner (now husband). To all others who have been with me from the time canwehavesomerasam started, I am eternally grateful. You keep my spirits up, encourage me and make me want to share my kitchen experiments with you. I hope you continue to do so and that I don’t disappoint you.

As this is a landmark post, I’d like to dedicate this post to my paternal grandma, Madras ajji who passed away a year ago. “Ajji” is the Kannada word for grandma and Madras, or Chennai as it is known as today, was where she lived most of her life. Despite being a diabetic for as long as I can remember, she still had a super-soft spot for sweets/pudding. The picture of her smiling in front of a large chocolate cake, on her 80th birthday, is one I will always have in my head when I think of her. While Mysore pak may not have been her favourite dessert, it definitely ranked highly on her list and hence, the dedication.

What is Mysore pak ? Well it is essentially Indian fudge made with just 3 ingredients – chickpea flour (or besan), sugar (white, refined, caster sugar) and ghee (clarified butter). As you can see, none of these ingredients are meant to be healthy. The word “paka” pronounced as you would “parka” means a sticky syrup usually made from sugar or jaggery/palm sugar. Mysore was the capital of Karnataka for nearly six centuries until the end of the British rule in 1947. Legend has it that Mysore pak was invented in the royal kitchens of the Mysore palace and the royalty enjoyed it so much that they got the cook to set up a stall outside the palace so it could be shared with the common people. Today, it is one of the most popular desserts in the state and features on many a wedding, birthday, and anniversary feast.

Note: Don’t be fooled by the simple ingredients – Mysore pak is one of the hardest desserts to get right and timing is everything. I hope to demonstrate it to you with my good and not-so-good versions.

Good version of Mysore pak

Good version of Mysore pak : Soft and literally melts in the mouth

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Bread, berry and cherry pudding

I seem to have taken a rather long summer holiday from my blog. In my defence, the English summer until 2 Thursdays ago was glorious. So glorious that we spent most of our time outdoors walking, running, kayaking and even swimming. While the weather was still wonderful (yes, that’s right, it is a think of the past now), our friends took us on a foraging expedition which turned up several boxes of blackberries (bramble) and cherries (small, wild, juicy and amazingly sweet).

Blackberries and cherries

Hand-picked blackberries and cherries : Juicy and delicious

We ate as many berries and cherries as we could on the day and the day after but we couldn’t eat them all. I then asked Mr Google what I could do with a whole lot of berries and cherries. Unsurprisingly, several options were presented to me. Of these, I chose two  – (1) a berry, cherry and almond milk smoothie (2) A blackberry and cherry, bread and butter (yup, a mouthful to say) pudding. This post is on the latter and is somewhat reminiscent of my one of my older recipes on Bread and Butter pudding.

Bread and butter pudding enthusiasts and connoisseurs beware – this recipe violates several basic principles. However, I can guarantee that the taste of the fresh berries and cherries made for quite a delightful dessert while we watched our current favourite TV show Treme.

Do try it and tell me what you think of it at canwehavesomerasam@gmail.com.

Bread, berry and cherry pudding

Bread, berry and cherry pudding

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