Mysore Mithai or Haal Khova | Sweet Nostalgia

Cottage @ Lake Ouachita State Park, Arkansas

I have been away for a while now, to begin with, it was for a lovely fall vacation with friends in Arkansas. (BTW, Don’t miss the state park cottages, they are worth every penny). Then, it was to San Francisco to meet friends who are embarking on a “round the world trip” this weekend starting from Bogota, Colombia to cover the whole of South America and North Africa later. (Curious cats can track their adventures on their blog Crave to Travel). Also, very unexpectedly, a sweet co-incidence it was to meet up with the lovely ladies Sala Kannan of Veggie Belly and Prerna of Indian Simmer, thanks to a quick burst of tweeting! YAY! to Twitter.. Meeting them in flesh and blood over a lovely Thai dinner felt like a dream come true.. After that, in a much unexpected turn of events I spent the whole of Thanksgiving weekend in and out of ER nursing my injured back to normalcy until now..

With so much to share and not being able to communicate with you was difficult enough.. Thank you for your understanding unbeknownst my saga, staring at the same page of Curry Leaf all this while..

So I am back to writing this special post. No recipes this time, but I bring you “this” something very close to my heart, with a big grin and sparkly eyes..

It arrived by mail in a brown box from an unidentified address.

It couldn’t have been any kind of factory made commercial product. It looked very familiar as though something long lost from my childhood. It had been much more than a year since the two of us had met each other. They were about eight geometric packets nicely wrapped in a bling gift wrap, contents playing peek-a-boo from the insides of the rectangular cuboid carefully hand wrapped in see-through wax paper wound with delicate white cotton threads securely knotted at the top.

I smiled.

There was a familiar comfort at sight. How could I know so much about this sweet unless…. I grew up eating it?

My eyes lit up like that of a small child handed with a bar of her most favorite chocolate, only it wasn’t this time.. But I knew exactly what it was and where it came from and perhaps who had taken the pains of mailing it in a box to me. What a splendid surprise!

It was like the most unexpected box parcel that one dreams of getting, when one sees a mail van passing by, thinking wish it was me. This day, it was mine..

If you are a Mysorean, most likely you know it.

If you have grown up in Mysore or have gone to school or college in Mysore anytime between the 80s and now, you might have even guessed what it is when you read the post header.

Haal Khova, Haalu Khova, Mithai – call it by any name and this humble geometrical sweet miracle never fails to melt in your mouth the moment it lands there..

On a small indistinct street somewhere in the heart of Mysore, a pious Brahmin family churns out this sweet daily in pre-fixed number of carefully hand made batches from scratch in their own home all by themselves, using the freshest ingredients. All just home made, Ahan!

“Mithai” as they call it, is their way of life and a sweet packet of bliss for others who get to enjoy it!

By now, the skeptic in you (or at least some of you) might have a question – how can a milk sweet survive travel by mail for so many days and still land in good condition? Yes, this sweet has a decent shelf life – two weeks if it is nowhere near water.. Not bad huh?

If you plan to visit Mysore soon and simply can’t wait to get hold of this sweet, drop me a comment with your email id and I can share the details with you..

And some of you with relatives in Mysore, you know what you can do.. 🙂

Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did sharing a sweet piece of nostalgia from my childhood days.

Also, don’t miss to read how calling it a “piece of paradise”, Ramya Krishnamurthy waves her verbal wand of magic in a heartwarming write-up on this humble Haal Khova on Churumuri.

29 thoughts on “Mysore Mithai or Haal Khova | Sweet Nostalgia

  1. Jayanthy Vijayaragavan says:

    I came across your post while looking for tips to grow curry leaf plant. You have a wonderful blog with beautiful pictures and recipes. Could you share the details of where I could get the Mithai in Mysore? TIA

  2. Pallavi Kalale says:

    Radhika avare…….I too have had this sweet in my childhood days…..But believe me, no one can replicate this sweet. Infact we used to buy from their house during 80’s in Mysore, which was next to a Iyengar mess… The sweet is perfectly cut using a thread, and the packing still the same with butter paper and a thin white tread. You have revoked my childhood days…

  3. Mayuri venkatesh says:

    Jus saw ur blog and this one foooooorced me to drop a comment. Aah I miss this soo soo badly. I have had this all thru my schooldays, college, grad and even pg. even now when I go to Mysore, I meet this childhood friend( atleast 1pk) of mine first who makes me forget the rest. I love you Hal khova….u r d best

    Loved ur blog.
    Namaskara ree

  4. Niru says:

    Lovely pictures! Thanks for the mention, Radhika. I hope you have a great holiday season ahead. Here in Colombia, I’ve been seeing a lot of milk sweets – all with highly reduced milk and some with wheat flour and sugar mixed in. Some of these look like the pictures you have up here. Colombians seem to love milk in everything.

  5. shil says:

    Those look yummilcious, Radhika and reminds me so much of home. Are you from Mysore too ? I had been home recently. Ah !! its so hard to come back.

  6. balvinder says:

    like Asmita I am also first time to your blog. Loved my stay. I thought you will give us recipe the recipe of this mithai. I have my memories of these melting laddus which I ate in a village of rajasthan while traveling with my husband.

    • Radhika says:

      Thanks a bunch Balvinder!
      I must be hearing it for the very first time in my life, this sweet is one of a kind and is made only in this house in mysore – nowhere else..
      Wow! intrigued to hear to ate it in a village in Rajasthan..

  7. Asmita says:

    Hi Radhika,
    This is my first time visiting your blog and am glad I found it. It’s absolutely gorgeous! I love the photographs and recipes. As a kid I used to eat a lot of Mysore halwa. Lovely!

  8. Nishi says:

    You know what Radhika?? Even I have grown up eating these mithais. But only for a short period of time. I used to visit mysore during my School vacations and my Dodappa used to get use these. It felt nice reading the write up. It brought back a lot of memories 🙂

  9. Soma says:

    Yikes.. hope you are feeling better now.. I am not fond of ER and does not sound like much fun. Hmmmm… goodies in the mail. Don’t know if there is a bigger joy than receiving them. are these similar to mypore pak/besan burfis? they look like it.

    I am going to write to u asking more about the Ouachitas.. we had plans to go a couple of years back, but when we saw that it was more than 6 hrs drive we quit and went to degray lakes instead + hotsprings. Now the gals are a bit older, we cld do this esp. next fall.

    • Radhika says:

      Thanks a bunch sweet Soma for checking on me..
      I am doing much better, but apparently back heals at its own sweet pace..
      Whatever part of Arkansas we visited was ‘beautiful’. Lake Ouachita (Washita, for the benefit of everyone) State Park has excellent cottages, I must say alongside the stunning fall colors..
      Best part is, just pack the required baking ingredients and you can let your inner baker wild – the cottage kitchen is fully equipped..
      Yes, I did bake some impromptu desserts with whatever we had at hand minimally 🙂

  10. dassana says:

    hey radhika, have been to mysore a couple of times and i can never forget the melt in mouth mysore mithai. its sooooo good. is it possible for you to share the recipe…. would love to make these at home.

    • Radhika says:

      Wow! Happy to hear you’ve been there and even done that Dassana 🙂
      Unfortunately I have no recipe for it, only pictures and memories.. Don’t think one can get that taste at home though (at the risk of contradicting myself..)

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