Love Rasgullas? Now Make Way for Chilly and Maggi Flavoured Ones!
How many of these whacky flavoured Rasgullas will you try?
How many of these whacky flavoured Rasgullas will you try?Photo: Vibhushita Singh/The Quint)

Love Rasgullas? Now Make Way for Chilly and Maggi Flavoured Ones!

(This story has been republished from The Quint’s archives in the light of Chennai-based Geographical Indications (GI) Registry announcing that Rosogolla originated in West Bengal, not Odisha. It was originally published on 20 August 2017.)

No matter how much you have them, it appears that regular rasgullas can never be passé. Now, Kolkata-based homemaker-turned-entrepreneur Swati Saraf is changing the way we look at our beloved rasgullas.

With over 250 flavours – ranging from downright whacky to path-breakingly innovative – this woman is reinventing the popular Bengali dessert.

What began as an experiment to reduce wastage of sweets (the ones that go unconsumed on every festive occasion), has now taken the shape of a business.

From regular fruity flavours to Kolkata special jhaal and phuchka rasgullas, karela, dhaniya-pudina and clove rasgullas to vodka rasgullas, Swati’s kitchen has a rainbow of rasgullasquite literally!

How Did It Start?

The chef’s bestseller Gundi paan rasgullas. 
The chef’s bestseller Gundi paan rasgullas. 
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/@swatisaraf1984)

Swati’s journey can be traced back to April 2016, when she started to get disillusioned by the growing lack of interest among youngsters in the traditional Bengali dessert. This, coupled with the rising apathy against sweets among the elderly – owing to problems such as diabetes – made Swati attempted something different.

In a conversation with The Quint, Swati talked about the early beginnings,

I wanted to keep alive the popularity of rasgullas; so I decided to use fruits and natural extracts with chenna (cottage cheese) and very little sugar to create my own version of the dessert that is so intricately linked to Bengali culture. Through the various flavours, I have tried to offer something to the young and old alike. My rasgullas are ‘less sugar, more taste’.
Swati Saraf

Whacky Rasgullas

We all love the spongy white delicacy that melts in the mouth, but would you care to try a green chilly-flavoured one? Or phuchka rasgullas? You may have had hot and sour soup at some point in life, but how about a hot n’ sour rasgulla? Sounds crazy, right?

Swati has a different take.

When asked what made her choose such eclectic flavours, she said,

My idea is to cater to health along with taste. This is the reason I have flavours such as karela (bitterguard), laung (clove), jeera (cumin), and ginger among others. As far as the whacky ones are concerned, they just kept happening one after the other. In fact, green chilly rasgullas are a favourite among my clients because of its tangy flavour.
Green chilly rasgullas. 
Green chilly rasgullas. 
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/@swatisaraf1984)
Hot n’ Sour Rasgullas. 
Hot n’ Sour Rasgullas. 
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/@swatisaraf1984)
Bela Rasgullas. 
Bela Rasgullas. 
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/@swatisaraf1984)
Phuchka Rasgullas. 
Phuchka Rasgullas. 
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/@swatisaraf1984)

Born and brought up in Kolkata, Swati considers herself a true-blue Kolkatan despite not being a Bengali herself.

Patakha Rasgullas up Next?

The fun for Swati lies in experimentation and innovation, which is why she once even supplied Vodka rasgullas for a New Year’s party. There's been no looking back since.

Keeping in sync with the season (festive or otherwise), she updates her menu to cater to her ever-growing audience.

There is the alphonso flavoured rasgulla for summers, bhang and thandai flavoured rasgullas for Holi, panjeeri rasgullas for Janmashtmi... I’m currently gearing up to make tutti-fruity and polo flavoured rasgullas for Durga Puja and Patakha rasgullas for Diwali!

Fruity Rasgullas

Here’s Why the Kids Love ’em

Swati’s Maggi rasgullas, chocolate rasgullas and bubblegum rasgullas are a hit among kids.

Kids these days don’t want to eat healthy food! They only want chocolates, junk food and the like. How does one ensure their daily intake of protein? That’s why I decided to have fun with my recipes for them. Since I don’t use any artificial sweeteners, preservatives and flavours, I make sure the kids have their fill of protein through the pure chena that I use in my rasgullas.
Maggi Rasgullas. 
Maggi Rasgullas. 
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/@swatisaraf1984)
Bubblegum Rasgullas. 
Bubblegum Rasgullas. 
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/@swatisaraf1984)
Chocolate Rasgullas. 
Chocolate Rasgullas. 
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/@swatisaraf1984)

There’s Something for Everyone!

(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/@swatisaraf1984)

It's All in the Family

Swati Saraf at one of her stalls. 
Swati Saraf at one of her stalls. 
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/@swatisaraf1984)

With as many as 250 flavours on the menu, one would hope, quite naturally, that there would be an army of people to prepare the delicacy. Surprisingly not. Her home is her workshop and her family members her helpers. Swati churns out 5,000 rasgullas per day and counts her family as her biggest strength.

When asked about expansion plans, she says,

I am thinking about it... expansion plans are in the pipeline. I will, hopefully, soon be able to provide my services in other cities as well.

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