I think chick pea fudge seems like the best description for this delightful sweet from south Indian cuisine. Before moving on to the recipe I would like to share a little anecdote. On my recent visit to India, I traveled via New York. While at the airport there I found myself looking at this delicious huge carrot muffin displayed at a coffee shop. I was tempted to order that muffin and since it was my vacation I told myself it was fine to indulge a little and relax my no butter, no sugar stance. This relaxation of mine lasted.... all of half a minute....when my eye fell on the total calories of the muffin mentioned under it. Boy, what a deterrent that was....once I saw the muffin contained more than a third of my daily calorie requirement, I was not able to make myself order it...vacation or no vacation. Sigh !! :-( ..... Anyway this was thanks to the new policy in New York that all food items sold, should display their total calories. Not sure if this helps other people avoid fatty or high calorie food but it sure worked for me at least on that one occasion.
Anyway this incident got me thinking about this policy and I have to admit that I am a little on the fence on this one. On the one hand I like the idea of being informed and making smart choices, on the other hand I feel that occasionally when we are in the mood for relaxing and indulging, these calorie numbers are sure to be a complete turnoff and I for one may not be able to ignore those numbers and go ahead and indulge. I am sure this is why they say ....ignorance is bliss. Speaking of bliss, here is a fudge made with only three ingredients but one that tastes like pure bliss. Mysore pak or chick pea fudge definitely qualifies for the category of occasional indulgence without looking at calories with the emphasis on occasional.
This one's tricky in the sense that if you get the consistency wrong or cut down on the clarified butter too much it turns out hard. I have seen recipes for this that ask for sugar and clarified butter quantities that are double what I used here, but I believe that this works best for us. It is sweet without feeling too sweet and it is soft enough to bite into without crumbling under my fingers. I have made this numerous times and have worked on the technique to get to the point where I feel it gives me the best results. Try this for an authentic and traditional sweet and indulge a little.........
Ingredients and Method to make Mysore Pak
2 cups chick pea flour (besan)
1 1 /2 cups warm and liquid clarified butter (ghee)
2 cups sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup water.
one or two additional drops of clarified butter to grease a tray
Place the chick pea in a large bowl. Use freshest flour to give best results. See that there are no lumps in them, if there is then you could sift it and then place in a bowl.
Pour half a cup of warm liquid clarified butter(ghee) on the flour and mix well making sure there are no lumps in the mixture. The mixture will resemble cookie dough at this point.
Pour the balance of the clarified butter on this mixture and mix well and let it sit for about 15 to 20 mins.
Grease a slightly deep tray or plate with clarified butter and keep aside
After 15 mins or so after mixing the chick pea flour with the clarified butter, place sugar in a heavy bottomed pan, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water and place on medium to medium high heat.
Once the sugar starts to boil keep stirring it. Once the sugar achieves single string consistency lower heat slightly and pour the clarified butter + chick pea flour mixture into it slowly stirring continuously.
Keep stirring this mixture until it starts to thicken and the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan.
Pour this mixture on the greased plate.
It will solidify quickly so within a minute or two after pouring into a tray/ plate when it is kind of solid, cut them into diamond shapes or square shapes in the sizes that you choose.
To test if done, just pour a small drop of the mixture on a plate, if it solidifies immediately it means it is done.
You can easily half this recipe to make a smaller quantity.
It is better to use warm clarified butter NOT hot, so do keep that in mind when you make this sweet
I find that letting the chick pea flour (besan) sit in warm clarified butter (ghee) for a little while allows the final fudge to become softer.