AÅŸure, Noah’s Pudding — Ashura

February 16th, 2007


Here is a another traditional dessert from Turkey, which I am yet to find another country in the region to have it in their repertoire. Please let me know if you know any other cultures having this tradition.

Its name comes from Arabic, in which ashura literally means “tenth.” A dessert that is made on the 10th day of the Islamic calendar. Since Islamic calendar is based on moon, it is 10 days shorter than the Gregorian, hence this day as well as every Islamic holiday has a different date every year. One should not confuse this dessert with the day of ashura. Even though it is a custom to cook this dessert on that day, it is not a religious ceremony.

A story of this dessert tells us that it was a meal made in the Noah’s ark, right after the great flood was over. As you can see in the ingredients list, the main items of the dessert are the grains that one can hardly associate with any dessert.

If one cannot make it on the 10th day of the Islamic year, it can still be made within 20 days, before the next month starts. It is a dessert that you definitely share with neighbors, friends and family. That time of the year, you always have to make sure that you remember which neighbor sent which plate full of aÅŸure, so you can return it back either with aÅŸure or with another homemade dessert.

I haven’t had the courage to make it until last year. I asked everybody’s own way of preparing this wonderful dessert in a Turkish forum I belong to. The responses gave little hints here and there and also showed how it differs from household to household. Gathering all these, remembering how my late aunt used to prepare it and getting more hints from my mom’s friend who was visiting San Francisco last year, I was determined to give it a try. I can say that it does take some mastering but not a very hard one to make after all—just take some patience.

The recipe below results in a huge quantity, so if you are inclined to prepare this traditional dessert, I suggest using half or quarter of them.

  • 500 gr wheat berries (also sold as “Wheat for Noah’s Pudding” in Turkish stores)

  • 200 gr dry chickpeas

  • 200 gr dry white beans

  • 100 gr dry blackeye peas (optional)

  • 4.5 – 5 liter water

  • 500 gr sugar

  • 100 gr raw almond

  • 1 Tbs molasses (optional)

  • 175 gr dry Turkish apricots

  • 100 gr sultanas

  • 80 gr currants

  • 6 dry figs

  • 50 gr dates (optional)

  • 1 little orange’s peel

  • 1/4 tsp salt

The night before:

  1. Soak chickpeas, white beans and blackeye beans in water in separate bowls

  2. Add 2 liters of water to the wheat berries, let them boil for a minute, turn off the heat, close the lid of the pot and let it sit overnight

Next day:

  1. Again using separate pots, cook the chickpeas, and both beans until they are cooked, but not mushy. Drain and clean, especially the chickpeas’ skins

  2. Cut the bigger of the dried fruits in the size of sultanas, or even smaller. If they are so dry, you can soak them in warm water until they are ready to be used

  3. Blanch the raw almonds in warm water for 10 – 15 mins, skin them, save

  4. Cut the orange peel into very thin strips, save

  5. Cook the wheat, by adding additional 1 lt of water until cook very well. They will open up and become very mushy. At this stage, add the beans and chickpeas

  6. In the mean time, boil about 2 – 3 lt of water aside, and add to the beans & wheat mix as needed. Making sure the mix does not burn and has more than enough water to cook

  7. Add half of the sugar, making sure it mixes well. Add the rest, again mixing well

  8. Add all the dried fruits, except the figs. They will turn the color of the mix darker, it is better to save them until the last moment

  9. Add the molasses and a pinch of salt

  10. Keep it boiling with very low heat and add sugar as needed. Make sure to add water at least the amount I have indicated. Remember, the starch of the grains will thicken the mix as it cools down

  11. Add the figs, mix and turn the heat off

  12. Divide into bowls, decorate with ground cinnamon and mixed walnut and hazelnuts. It goes well with pomegranate arils, if they are in season…


8 Responses to “AÅŸure, Noah’s Pudding — Ashura”

  1. carpetblogger Says:

    Thanks yogurt land! Now I know what this is and why my neighbor brought me some.

  2. Christine Says:

    That looks AMAZING! Thanks for the recipe. I have to see if I can get all those ingredients here.

  3. Selis Says:

    Noah’s Pudding – I love that name, although I knew the story behind it, I had never heard it being called Noah’s Pudding before. I think the point in the story is that Noah was running out of supplies and he used everything he could find around to make this delicious dessert. Maybe that is why it doesn’t have a certain recipe, you can always add your own touch to it. Awesome!

  4. sra Says:

    What a very interesting recipe! Is there anything we can substitute wheat berries with?

  5. fethiye Says:

    Carpetblogger, is your neighbour Turkish as well?

    Christine, I hope you can try out!

    Selis, yeah, definitely nobody in Turkey calls it this way as you know and the more I see it named like it in Internet the more I liked it. ;)

    Sra, a friend of mine, also living in the USA, said that once they used barley instead of wheat berries, and the result was good. Having said that another friend living in the UK said she didn’t like the result after substituting barley for wheat. If the issue is not to be able to find wheat berries, I suggest checking natural food stores or getting it online from a Turkish online shop. It sure is interesting and lovely to eat. ;)

  6. chanit Says:

    Hi fethiye,
    I tagged you to the “5 things about me” meme, on my Blog.. just if you want to write about..in your Blog :-)

  7. Dimitur Says:

    Hi, I’m from Bulgaria and we in Bulgaria also make ashure dessert. I like it, but didn’t eat for years.

  8. Mariana Kavroulakis Says:

    Hi Fethiye,
    Congratulations on your blog,
    Ashure seems to be a trans-cultural culinary and religious link for countries in Eastern Meditteranean region. For Greece [...]According to Greek Christians of Asia Minor assurè was made the night before Christmas as an offering to to Mary in child – bed. Women charged [....]

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