The United Kingdom is all set to celebrate the humble samosa with its first National Samosa Week in the East Midlands city of Leicester from April 9 to 13, the Hindustan Times reported. Leicester is among the areas with a large population of Indian-origin residents in the country.
Organised by Leicester Curry Awards, and supported by charity organizations and the local police, the event has been launched to honor the culture and food heritage of South Asia. The money raised through the event, where people would be encouraged to buy and sell as many samosas as they can, will go to two local charity organizations. The charity groups in question are the Leicestershire Action for Mental Health Project, and Care of Police Survivors.
“There’s a national food event for everything from burgers to beer, so why not samosas? The savory dish has grown in popularity and for many people in the South Asian community, eating one is like the equivalent of having tea and cake,” Romail Gulzar, the founder of Leicester Curry Awards, an organization that celebrates South Asian culture and cuisine, said in a statement.
Gulzar notes that Leicester is the perfect place for the event, being home to the “Golden Mile” and the city’s “thriving curry culture.” The Golden Mile is a stretch of road in Leicester which has authentic Indian restaurant, sari shops and jewelry. Named after the jeweler shops, the Golden Mile is said to be the closest UK street that resembles an Indian bazaar.
“We want to encourage people all over the UK to buy or make their own samosas during the week and sell them at work and school to raise funds for their local community or charities. We’re hoping this could be the start of something really popular and we hope it will gain momentum with each passing year,” Gulzar said.
The triangle-shaped delicacy, most commonly stuffed with potatoes, onion, and peas, has gained a prominent space in UK cultural life since the 1960s with the coming of the phrase “going for an Indian.” The phrase means going for an Indian meal — usually the chicken tikka masala, which was called a “true British national dish” by former foreign secretary Robin Cook.
Although a big part of the Indian diaspora abroad, the samosa is a food that has traveled far and wide before Indian subcontinent adopted it. As per food historians, it had many names, such as sanbusak, sanbusaq or even sanbusaj. They all came from the Persian word, sanbosag. It was introduced to the Indian subcontinent by the chefs in Delhi Sultanate rule. There are however, some accounts that say traders brought the delicacy to this part of the world. Now, the samosa is a popular snack all over the world.