At one corner of the bustling Sayaji Rao Road in Mysore, stands a small sweetmeat store that few would give a passing glance to. But the ‘Guru Sweet Mart’ packs in quite a bit of history! It is at this nondescript shop, with barely room for one person to stand, that you will get the original version of Mysore pak, that was first conjured up and made over 100 years ago!
Guru Sweet Mart on Sayaji Rao Road in Mysore serves the original recipe of the Mysore pak | Wikimedia Commons
The Maharaja of Mysore Krishnaraja Wodeyar (1884-1940) was a great food connoisseur and maintained a large kitchen establishment, at his home, the famous Amba Vilas palace in Mysore. Wodeyar was such a foodie, that he had multiple kitchens to prepare different cuisines from European to the sacred prasadam or offerings to the various temples within the palace.
The Maharaja also had quite a sweet tooth and the story goes that one day when the Maharaja, was ready to have his lunch - there was a crisis! His meal was ready, but the chef, Kakasura Madappa had not made any dessert!
– Wodeyar was such a foodie that he had multiple kitchens to prepare different cuisines from European to the sacred prasadam
With time running out and no options, the desperate Madappa began experimenting, wanting to present the King with something unusual. Adding gram flour, ghee and sugar, he made a soft pak (or mixture). This was presented on the royal thali as a hot, fudge like, sweet. The delighted king dug into it and even demanded a second helping. The chef was called in and asked what the new dessert was called. He said the first thing that came to his mind - the ‘Mysore pak’!
It is testimony to the ingenuity and talent of the Wodeyar chef Kakasura Madappa, that the Mysore pak is still so popular! It is available almost anywhere you go, but you have to make a trip to the Guru Sweet Mart shop in Mysore, which is run by Madappa's descendants, to get the original recipe of Mysore Pak and take a bite into its amazing history!