Noah’s Pudding: My Hala’s Aşure…

When I was living in Turkey, one of the most anticipated time of the year for me was the Aşure (ah-shu-re) day. Aşure is a type of dessert that was believed to be made by Noah with the food items left on the ark after the Great Flood. The ark is also believed to be resting on Mount Ararat which is located on the eastern part of Turkey. The story and the search for the ark always fascinated me and of course the promise of a great Biblical discovery has lured many researchers to the location. Last year, there was even a claim that a group had found the ark.

According to the lunar calendar which is the basis for Islamic events, it is supposed to be on the tenth day of the month Muharram. Lunar calendar drifts 11 to 12 days a year so all the fasting, Islamic observances and celebrations  move 11 to 12 days earlier each year. This year, Aşure day is supposed to be at the beginning of December. Traditionally, everyone makes a big batch which has a consistency of a thick soup/pudding and shares with their neighbors. So not only we made bowls of bowls of aşure at home but also got to taste many different versions from our family and friends.

The ingredient list might sound very random but it reflects what could have been left on the ark. Traditionally wheat, rice, navy beans, chickpeas, dried fruit and nuts are used with a touch of rose water at the end.Everyone has their own version of this filling dessert. My grandma includes rice and navy beans whereas my aunt omits navy beans. I usually follow my aunt’s recipe but this time I did not include rice, the only grain was the wheat.

It is a tradition for us to visit my hala, my father’s older sister, on asure day. We help my hala and my cousine, Handan, to make aşure by painstakingly removing the skins from blanched almonds and walnuts in the morning. If you don’t peel the brownish skin off of the walnuts, it will darken the color of your asure. Figs also darken the color so they are are added right before sugar.

First, wheat cooks on the stove, bubbling away. Then all dried fruit and chopped nuts are added, brought to a boil one more time. Sugar is added at the end, the aşure is ladled in small bowls after sugar melts.All measures for dry fruits and nuts below are approximate. Adjust based on what you like. The only thing I pay attention is to use sugar and wheat  at the weight ratio of 1:1. This makes it just sweet enough for me.

After aşure comes to the room temperature, it is garnished with chopped walnuts, pistachios or pomegranate seeds, and moved into the fridge. I like it cold, right out of the fridge. I consider this dessert a great breakfast as well. Some sugar, some grains, some protein all piled up in a bowl fill you up and get you going in the morning. What else could you ask for from a breakfast?

Aşure

Recipe: Courtesy of my Hala.

  • 500 gr. wheat for aşure (you can check here and here )
  • 1 cup of uncooked rice (I did not add rice this time around)
  • 1-1/2 cups of blanched almonds – whole (soak them in hot water for a couple of hours, and peel the skin)
  • 1-1/2 cups toasted, skinless hazelnuts- whole
  • 1 cup of golden raisins
  • 1 can (about 1-1/2 cups) of chickpeas (drained, skins removed)
  • 8 oz of dry apricots (roughly chopped)
  • 12 oz of dry figs(roughly chopped)
  • 500 gr of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of rose water or orange juice (optional)
  • Orange zest (optional)
  • Walnuts, pistachios and/or pomegranate seeds for garnish

1. Wash wheat several times, drain, put in a big, deep pot. Cover with several cups of water until water is 2 inches above the wheat level.

2. Stirring frequently, cook wheat for 20 minutes on medium heat.

3. Add rice if you are using, keep cooking until all the wheat and rice is cooked. Add water occasionally to keep it at a thick soup consistency.

4. Once wheat and rice are soft and cooked thoroughly, add chickpeas, almonds, hazelnuts, golden raisins and apricots. Add enough water to keep the consistency as a thick soup.Bring it to a boil, then turn it down to medium heat again.

5. Add figs and sugar. Add water if necessary. Stir until sugar melts. Add rose water, or orange juice or orange zest. Take it off the heat.

6. Ladle into bowls, let them cool. Garnish. Serve  immediately or refrigerate.

 

 

 

 

16 Comments:

  1. by Gokce
    7:20 am
    Nov 20, 2011

    Ilke the pictures are amazing! And asure bowls scream like “eat me” :-)

  2. by Beth Anne
    1:19 pm
    Nov 20, 2011

    I always love your family stories within the recipes :) Thanks for sharing your family with us!

  3. by Angie@Angiesrecipes
    1:35 am
    Nov 21, 2011

    I don’t think I have ever had anything like this…it looks so pretty and appealing. Thanks again, Ilke, for sharing your family stories and recipe with me.

    Angie

  4. by Lisa
    5:21 pm
    Nov 21, 2011

    Oh wow, asure sounds wonderful! I love your turkish recipes so much, and your photos are stunning, the pomegranate seeds just pop with ruby translucency! Oh, how I wish I had natural light, PLUS your photo skills :) I hope you try the pie, it’s so amazing!

  5. by Katherine Martinelli
    4:15 am
    Nov 22, 2011

    So lovely! What a great tradition. This looks delicious. I agree, it would make a perfect breakfast.

  6. by Kezban
    5:59 am
    Nov 22, 2011

    İlkecim harikasın…

  7. by Parsley Sage
    9:28 am
    Nov 22, 2011

    Gorgeous photos! I think it looks incredible, even if the ingredients are a little unorthodox :) Thanks for sharing the information too, I love learning stuff on your site

  8. by Peggy
    4:36 pm
    Nov 22, 2011

    I’ve never seen anything like this, but I know I would absolutely love it! Lots of great stuff packed into one bowl =)

  9. by Lana
    6:00 pm
    Nov 22, 2011

    This is a holiday dish my Serbian family would wholeheartedly embrace! What a wonderful bowl of goodness! The only moment that made me cringe a bit was when you mentioned peeling walnuts (we peel almonds and hazelnuts, but I cannot imagine trying to clean all the ridges and nooks in walnuts:)
    Beautiful photos, Ilke!

  10. by Shelley
    1:35 pm
    Nov 23, 2011

    Your Hala’s asure looks terrific! It sounds way better than the yogurt and granola with pomegranate seeds that I’ve been eating for breakfast lately. I hope you and yours have a great Thanksgiving!

  11. by rebecca
    5:18 pm
    Nov 23, 2011

    this is so cool, and new to be love the story of Noah have a great thanksgiving

  12. by Lora @cakeduchess
    1:44 pm
    Nov 24, 2011

    I love this post and these photos are stunning. Your recipe is delicious:)I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving, my sweet friend (I had to fix my post and your comment got deleted. Thank you for your kind words).xoxo

  13. by Calantha
    10:53 pm
    Nov 27, 2011

    That looks absolutely delicious and your photos are stunning, as usual. I love the unique combination of ingredients.

  14. by Gypsy
    8:26 am
    Dec 5, 2011

    Hi Ilke:)

    Thank You very much for sharing this recipe:))) I just finished cooking Aşure :))) I think it came out very tasty, I only made a little bit of modification. Usually I don’t write any comments but I thought I will say thank You for sharing!! :)
    I just moved to Istanbul and I’m loving it:)
    I stumbled upon your site 2 days ago, and I really liked it!! You do a very good job with the recipes and a pics and the stories!! Thanks again!!
    I’m sure I will visit your site often!!
    All the best:))

  15. by Asima
    1:25 am
    Apr 5, 2013

    Stumbled upon your blog while searching for Turkish recipes….had this aśhure in Istanbul a couple of years back n loved it totally….will surely be trying the recipe,thanks

  16. by Irene
    7:24 am
    Sep 30, 2014

    …yummmy. I have never made this before but will now with your recipe….otherwise in Izmir I always would order it at Özsüt Cafe. Thanks for sharing your fab recipe.

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