What Is Ashure?
Ashure is one of the limited set of Turkish desserts which contain no animal products. One reason behind it is arguably protesting all kinds of violence and bloodshed. Alevis in Turkey are the prominent group to promote this pudding, traditionally cooking and sharing it following the days of fasting (coinciding Battle of Karbala) in which they abstain from eating meat. In said battle, Hussein ibn Ali and his followers embraced martyrdom.
Traditionally, Ashure is made in large quantities to commemorate the ark’s landing and is distributed to friends, relatives, neighbors, colleagues, classmates, among others, without regard to the recipient’s religion or belief system as an offering of peace and love. Ashure was traditionally made and eaten during the colder months of the year as it is calorie rich fare, but now it is enjoyed year-round.
And each year, around the month of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, many Hizmet volunteers prepare and distribute to various places of worship hundreds of servings of Noah’s pudding, or ashure, a dessert of grain, nuts and fruits symbolic of Noah’s first treat after the waters of the great flood receded.
Noah’s pudding, arising as it does from a story common to the Abrahamic faiths of Jew, Christian and Muslim, symbolizes the unity of humans to each other and to their Creator.
The word Ashure come from Arabic word Ashura Arabic: عاشوراء ʻĀshūrā’ . It means tenth. In Turkish tradition, this dish is made mostly on 10th of Muharram or after 10th of Muharram in Islamic Lunar Calendar. Not only Islamic believing, but also pre-islamic believes related with some semitic stories also connected by Muharram month.
Also in Turkish, Ash(Aş) represents mixed porridge. It is derived from Persian word “Ashur” meaning mixing. Evliya Çelebi defines the Ashure in his travelbook, “Ashure is a porridge (aş) that should be cooked at the tenth of Muharram.” 
Ashure porridge does not have a single recipe, as recipes vary between regions and families.
Traditionally, it is said to have at least seven ingredients. Some say at least ten ingredients in keeping with the theme of “tenth”, while Alevis always use twelve. Among these are wheat, barley, rice, white beans, chickpeas, sugar (or other sweetener) such as molasses produced from grapes, dates, pomegranates to beets, dried fruits, such as (apples, apricots, currants, dates, figs, pears, raisins), and nuts like almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts, though there are many variants. However, many renditions add orange and lemon peel to add depth to the pudding. Anise seed, sesame seeds, pine nuts, black cumin seeds, prunus mahaleb, pomegranate kernels, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice may be used as garnish, and some variations are flavored with anise liqueur, rose water and/or orange blossom water.
In most cases, it is vegan, and it is one of the well-known and the most popular vegan desserts in Turkish cuisine.
History and traditions
In anecdotal history, it is claimed that when Noah’s Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat, Noah’s family celebrated with a special dish. Since their supplies were nearly exhausted, what was left (primarily grains, dried fruits and the like) was cooked together to form a pudding, what is now call ashure.
Turkish families make ashure pudding to commemorate this event. Ashure is distributed to the poor, as well as to neighbors, friends and relatives.
The Day of Ashure is an important day in the Muslim year, corresponding to the Mosaic Yom Kippur observed by Jews, and is observed by Muslims world over in honor of the prophet Moses. The Tenth of Muharrem Day of Ashura also marks the end of the Battle of Karbala and is a special day of observance in Shia Islam. Among Turkish and Balkan Sufis (especially Bektashi), the ashure pudding is prepared with special prayers for health, healing, safety, success and spiritual nourishment.
Ashure represents many cultures’ beliefs, Islamic and pre-Islamic alike, and therefore is celebrated to commemorate many spiritual events believed to have happened on this day; for example, it is believed that:
- The prophet Adam was accepted by God because of his repentance.
- Noah’s ark came to rest and the passengers survived.
- The sea was divided, and the nation of Israel was delivered from captivity, while the Pharaoh’s army was destroyed.
- Jesus was raised to the heavens, etc.
- Martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali
The Armenian version is called anuşabur. Armenians serve it during Christmas and on New Year’s Eve. Like ashure it may be garnished with pomegranate seeds and flavored with rose water, and the pudding is shared with neighbors during the Christmas season. The festive pudding is the centerpiece of the New Year’s table, which is often decorated with dried fruits, nuts and pomegranates.
How To Make It
Noah’s Pudding / Asure
Asure is not just a delicious pudding but also a social event.
- 500 gram wheat grains
- 200 gram chick peas
- 200 gram dry beans
- 50 gram rice
- 1 apple
- 1 orange
- 200 milliliter milk
- 1 table spoon honey
- 100 gram dry apricots
- 500 gram sugar
- 100 gram raisins
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 6 cloves
- 100 gram dry apricots
- 100 gram dry figs
- 1 pomegranate’s seeds
- 100 gram almond peeled
- 100 gram walnuts coarsely chopped
- 100 gram nuts coarsely chopped
- 1 table spoon pine nuts
- 1 table spoon cinnamon powder
- 1 table spoon sesame seeds
- 1 table spoon coconut flakes
- table spoon currants
- Wash half a kilo of wheat grains about 7-8 times until running water runs clear. Boil about 10 cups of water and add the grains. Cook about 10-15 minutes. Close the heat and keep the grains in this water overnight.
- In a separate pot wash the beans and soak them in water overnight.
- In a separate pot wash the chick peas and soak them in water overnight.
- Choose a really big pot and put the grains and the water (if any left). Add hot water to cover. Start boiling. Once it boils reduce the heat.
- Cook the beans in a separate pot/pressure cooker until they are edible. When cooked drain and set aside. You may choose to use canned beans, but don’t forget to wash them before adding to the wheat grains. Don’t boil them separately if they are canned.
- In a separate pot/pressure cooker cook the chick peas until they are edible. When cooked drain and peel the skins. A gentle squeeze will be enough to do this. You may choose to use canned chick peas, then you won’t need to boil them separately. However make sure you wash them and peel them before you add to the wheat grains.
- Add the beans and the chick peas to the main pot with the grains.
- Wash and add the rice to the main pot.
- The main pot should be in your focus. You can add warm water if necessary. You should occasionally stir, so the bottom doesn’t stick and the ingredients are mixed well.
- Take out the rind of an orange, peel the white part out and then cut to small pieces. Cook for 5 minutes, drain and add to the main pot.
- Peel the remaining orange. Cut to small cubes and add to the main pot.
- Peel an apple. Cut to small cubes and add to the main pot.
- Heat the milk and add to the main pot.
- Add a table spoon of honey.
- Add a pinch of salt, black pepper.
- When main pot starts to look like a watery pudding add 500 grams of sugar and cook for another 20 minutes.
- Cut half of dried apricots to small pieces and add to the main pot.
- Add 1 stick of cinnamon to the pot, later discard before serving.
- Wash and add half 100 grams of raisins to the main pot.
- In a small pot, put 6 cloves and add water to cover. Boil, drain and add the water of the cloves to the main pot. Discard the cloves.
- Cook for 5 more minutes. Close the heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
- It is believed that the asure must have 40 ingredients. So it is actually up to you the way you garnish it. You can either keep it simple or you can use all that comes to your mind and that your kitchen has.
- Cut the dried apricots to small pieces.
- Cut the figs to small pieces.
- Put the Noah’s pudding to small bowls once it cools and decorate with all or some of the items listed under “garnish”.
Borrowed from https://www.turkishyummies.com/noahs-pudding-asure/
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