The biggest samosa in the world will be prepared, cooked and served up by the international relief and development agency Muslim Aid on Tuesday, 22 August at the East London Mosque, Whitechapel, London E1 1JQ. The samosa will go to feed the homeless in the neighbourhood. Staff of the charity dreamed up this exciting, if very daunting, challenge to draw attention to the generosity of Muslim people during religious festivals like Eid.
“Everyone knows and loves a samosa. We wanted to make a larger-than-ever version of this popular food to demonstrate visually how people of the Muslim faith work tirelessly throughout the year, and particularly during Eid, doing charitable acts to support the unfortunate in the community around them and further afield,” says Zac Hussain, Director of Communities and Business Development at Muslim Aid. "The samosa will feed the homeless near our offices in London. Meanwhile donations via Muslim Aid will feed hundreds of thousands in the developing world."
The second of the two annual Eids, Eid-ul-Adha, the festival of sacrifice and also known as the greater of the two annual Eids, begins on Friday 1 September for three days. As part of the Muslim festival, people are expected to do good deeds and demonsrate generosity by providing food for the poor including performing the act of Qurbani, when they are required to donate meat to the poor.
Nowadays Muslim Aid and other UK charities carry out this act on behalf of people who make donations so that food can be distributed to the needy in many countries around the world and in the UK.
Around 10 Muslim Aid staff and volunteers aim to create a samosa which will beat the current world record by Bradford College. On 22 June 2012, students at their International Food Academy became the record-holders when they made a samosa which weighed in at 110.8 kg (244 lb 4 oz) and measured 135 cm long (53 in), 85 cm wide (33 in) and 29 cm high (11 in). Muslim Aid is hoping to achieve a weight of 120 kg with its samosa.
After the judging by the Guinness World Records adjudicator, the samosa will be cracked open. The organisers expect to be able to divide it into around 200 portions which will be served with a spicy chana masala (a chickpea curry) to the homeless in hostels, including the nearby Booth House, Whitechapel Road, which is run by the Salvation Army. Booth House is the largest hostel working with homeless men in London. Staff and temporary residents of Booth House will also come along to join in on the fun of the event.
Also watching and encouraging the amateur cooks on will be food bloggers and social Instacelebs - individual or brands like 'Halal Gems' who will be publicising the Eid campaign - and three chefs from Sapna Caterers Ltd, a London-based company specialising in Asian cuisine for everything from intimate dinners to parties for thousands. Sapna Caterers is donating all the ingredients for the samosa and preparing and donating the chana masala. Their chefs are helping design the samosa recipe and cooking method. For the purposes of the challenge, Guinness World Records stipulate flour, potatoes, onions and peas are mandatory. The chefs are also adding lamb and spices.
As well as the Guinness World Records adjudicator, the Guinness World Records require an environmental health Officer, and a witness from ‘an authority within weights and measures’. Concord Lifting are therefore providing an engineer, with experience in weighing and measuring using industrial appliances, and supplying structural lifting and weighing equipment to measure and manoeuvre the samosa.
Elite Caterers & Function Co-ordinators are helping with practicalities including having manufactured tailor-made industrial pots and other kitchen utensils. One square pot will be 150 cm by 150 cm and 50 cm high.
Donations from the UK public to Muslim Aid enabled the organisation to provide Qurbani meat and other foods to over 250,000 people last year in over 20 countries. Countries covered included Bangladesh, Bosnia, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Somalia. Thousands of Syrian refugees received food. Muslim Aid hopes to improve on this record too during this year’s campaign by reaching 300,000.
The Eid campaign provides quality meals to many in the developing world who rarely see meat like 55-year-old Sman Him in Cambodia, who cannot work to provide for his wife and four children as he is disabled. Sman and his family go for days without food. When Sman received the meat and other food funded by Muslim Aid supporters last year, he was overwhelmed. “Thank you very much to the brothers and sisters in the UK and to Muslim Aid”, he said.
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Notes to Editor
1. * The East London Mosque is supporting the challenge by providing its facilities free-of-charge. All the companies involved are also providing in-kind sponsorship.
3. * Muslim Aid is a relief and development agency set up in the United Kingdom in 1985 to provide humanitarian assistance to disaster affected countries and to help poor and vulnerable communities overcome poverty. Muslim Aid delivers relief and implements programmes in over 70 countries worldwide, working with all communities irrespective of faith, ethnic origin or political system.
5. * This year’s first Eid took place in July after Ramadan.