When speaking of popular Turkish desserts, we just have to mention asure, arguably one of the world’s oldest desserts. In this post, we’ll show you what you need to make the traditional asure recipe, share some interesting facts about this dessert and its history, and teach you everything there is to know about Turkish asure.
But first things first…
What is Asure?
Asure is a delicious dessert made of grains, dried fruits, and pulses that’s also known as Ashure, Ashura, or Noah’s dessert. The dessert is famous across Turkey, Armenia, and the Middle East and is beloved by all, Muslims (both Suni and Shia), Christians, and Jews living in these regions. Historically, Jews prepared this dessert to celebrate the rescue of Moses from the Pharaoh, Armenian Christians make it for Christmas, while Muslims prepare asure on the 10th day of the Muharram month, a few days before Ramadan.
The World’s Oldest Dessert?
According to the legend, the first version of the asure recipe was created by Noah himself. At the time, he has been on his ark for weeks with limited food resources. Rationing the limited resources, Noah decided to throw bits of everything he had in the ark into one pot to prepare enough food for himself and his passengers for the rest of the journey. The final result was a delicious pudding that’s today known as asure.
Many people use this legend as an argument to claim that the asure recipe is one of the first desserts ever made. It’s also a symbol of diversity, unity, and friendships (it’s loved by all people from different religions) and traditionally, when prepared, asure is shared with as many friends and neighbors as possible.
Do you like almond-based desserts? Then you may enjoy our Moroccan amlou recipe.
Origins & Etymology
The word asure (or ashure) derives from the Arabic word “Ashura” ( عاشوراء), meaning tenth. This is a reference to the 10th day of Muharram (or after the 10th of Muharram in the Islamic Lunar Calendar). This reference to the Muharram month is important because it’s also mentioned in many Semitic stories that pre-date the Islamic religion.
The etymology of the name can also be connected to the Persian word “ashur”, meaning mixing, referring to the fact that the asure recipe is a mix of many different ingredients and the Turkish word “ash” that translates to mixed porridge.
The Day of Ashure is one of the most important days in the Muslim Year. It corresponds to the Mosaic Yom Kippur (observed by Jews) and similarly, it honors the prophet, Moses. This day also marks the end of the Battle of Karbala, making it a special day for Shia Muslims. The asure recipe is also popular among Turkish and Balkan Sufis where it’s prepared alongside special prayers for health, safety, and spiritual nourishment.
Enjoying this post? Then you might also like this list of the best Balkan desserts.
History Of Asure
As you can see, asure represents and is a part of many different cultures and beliefs and is celebrated to commemorate many important spiritual events that are believed to happen on the asure day. Some of them include the acceptance of the prophet Adam by God, the arrival of Noah’s Ark, the division of the sea and the end of the Jewish captivity from the Pharaoh’s army, the Martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, and there are even theories that Jesus was born on this day.
In case you’re wondering why the dates don’t match on some of the above-mentioned holidays that asure is linked to, the answer is simple; it’s because you’re using the Gregorian Calendar as a reference, whilst the Islamic Calendar is based on the moon and is 10 days shorter than the Gregorian Calendar. That’s why asure takes place at a different date every year.
The first reference of the asure recipe in history is linked to Jewish people. They used to prepare this dessert to celebrate the Prophet, Moses. During one of Mohammad’s journeys to Medina, he encountered a group of Jewish people who were eating asure to commemorate the end of their fast.
Curious, Mohammad asked them why are they fasting and they told him that they’re celebrating the day when Moses saved them from the Egyptians. After this event, the Prophet Mohammad urged all Muslims to do the same because Moses is considered a prophet in the Islamic faith as well. This means that the day of asure likely precedes Ramadan (fasting month for Muslims).
Asure Recipe In Turkish Culture
Desserts play an important role in Turkish culture. Many desserts like baklava, muhallebi, lokma, kunefe, tulumba tatlisi, sekerpare, pismaniye, keskul, kabak tatlisi, etc. are traditionally prepared for special occasions but also enjoyed on a regular basis. And just like most of these sweets, asure also plays an important role in Turkish culture.
Traditionally, when made, asure is prepared in large quantities and is shared with neighbors and friends. In fact, it’s very common to see people taking asure to their neighbors and friends on the 10th day of the Muharram month. After accepting the bowl, the other person usually fills the bowl with asure and gives it back to the owner. This is a very important part of Turkish culture.
Asure is usually served in one large serving bowl or in several smaller bowls. It’s usually served at room temperature but it’s equally tasty when slightly chilled. For some additional flavor, you can also add a little bit of rose water and some grated orange or lemon zest (but use these in small quantities in a way that they don’t overpower other flavors).
As for decoration, there aren’t any strict rules but in general, the more texture and more colors you use, the better. Some of the most common toppings feature dried figs, dried apricots, honey, sesame seeds, desiccated coconut, walnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, or pistachios, and of course, red pomegranate seeds.
A Few Things You May Need
- 1 Cup Wheat
- 4 Cups Water
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 1 Cup Raisins
- 1/2 Cup Dried Figs & Dried Apricots (diced)
- 1/2 Cup Chickpeas
- 1/2 Cup White Kidney Beans
- 1/4 Cup Rice
- 3 Tablespoons Pomegranate Seeds
- 3 Tablespoons Chopped Almonds/Pistachios (or both)
- 1 Tablespoon Rose Water
- 1 Tablespoon Orange or Lemon Zest
- 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1. Soak the wheat, chickpeas, beans, and raisins in water (in individual bowls) and leave them overnight (for at least 7-8 hours).
2. Drain the wheat, place it in a pan, fill it with water, boil for 10-15 minutes, and let it simmer for 30 minutes more at low heat.
3. Drain the beans and chickpeas and boil them in another pot until they become soft and tender.
4. Clean the rice and add it to the simmering wheat. Boil it for 15 minutes over medium heat and don’t forget to stir occasionally.
5. The rice-wheat mix should get a thick consistency (similar to a creamy soup). At this point, add the chickpeas, beans, and sugar and keep simmering.
6. Slice the orange/lemon zest in small pieces and add it to the mix together with the rose water.
7. Add the raisins and other dry fruits into the mix and cook for another 5 minutes before removing them from heat.
8. Pour the pudding into small bowls and let it cool down.
9. Garnish with some pomegranate seeds, almonds, pistachios, and cinnamon, serve, and enjoy.
Serving Size:1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 325Total Fat: 2.2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 13.5mgCarbohydrates: 73gNet Carbohydrates: 73gFiber: 4.5gSugar: 50gProtein: 7.5g
Did you ever try asure? How did you like our asure recipe? If you tried to make it at home, don’t forget to leave us a rating.
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