As a 9 year old when mum and dad first brought my brother and me to Mysore city, I remember both mum and bro were going through what I now understand as a 'culture shock'. Bombay, or Mumbai as its name has reverted to now, a metro, a big city held the greatest charm and attachment, yes attachment for them. They definitely did not like the quiet, sleepy, lazy Mysore. I think I was born only to come to Mysore and get rooted ultimately. Well the whole family was rooted physically, but I guess my soul had found its place. I loved the quiet, the weather, the fruits, the open fields and gardens, the people, the language, the food & sweets and oh! most of all the jasmine flowers... mmm... the ones we know in Inda as mogra (Hindi) or mysooru mallige (kannada)!
As a young school goer my daily allowance was 25 paise (quarter of a rupee). I cannot tell you how many nice things I'd buy from the petty shop and the cartman on the roadside by the school. My favourites were chur-muri, batani, raw mangoes, goose berries, chikkis, tiny tangerines, kobri mithai and much more! mmmmm... just loved those days of fun and eating stuff on the roadside with girlie friends. I assure you though, roadside food never made us sick then.
Though we try at home even now to make the chur-muri, chikkis and kobri mithai, they never taste as they were made then. It was either the age, or then, these goodies were really made well those days. I learned to make kobri mithai from a sweet and loving lady Mutthu Aunty who lived across from our house in Gokulam and always gave me little treats whenever I dropped in on her. Here goes Mutthu Aunty's kobri mithai recipe.
Freshly grated coconut 2 cups
White granulated sugar 2 cups
Cardamom powdered 1/5 tsp
Raisins 2 Tbs
Cashew nuts a handful
Ghee 1 Tbs
Fry the raisins and cashew nuts in ghee until golden. Remove from ghee and keep aside.
Use the leftover ghee to grease a steel plate. Keep aside.
In a thick bottom pan or wok mix the coconut and sugar and cook on medium flame, stirring all the time. As the sugar melts, the mixture will be more manageable. Keep stirring, taking care not to allow the mixture to burn or become brown (control the heat). After around 12 to 15 minutes of stirring and once you notice the sugar drying up or turning powdery white, get the
mix off the stove, mix in cardamom powder, cashew nuts and raisins (keep a few cashews and raisins aside for decorating) and mix thoroughly. Transfer the mix on to the greased plate and spread it out to half an inch thickness, patting it flat or running a greased rolling pin over the surface to make it even. Decorate it with more cashew and raisins. Run a greased knife to mark the pieces in squares or diamond shapes. Allow to cool to room temperature. Gobble gobble!!