Ashure (in Turkish: Aşure) or Noah’s Pudding is a Turkish dessert dish that is made of a mixture consisting of grains, fruits and nuts. In Turkey it is served during the first month of the Islamic calendar, Muharram, on the Tenth of Muharrem, or the Day of Ashure. "Ashura" means "tenth" in Arabic. Ashure is part of the culinary tradition of Turkey as well as many of the surrounding countries, and Christian and Jewish cultures as well as Muslim share similar versions under a variety of names.
In anecdotal history, it is claimed that when Noah’s Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat, Masis sar in northeastern modern-day Turkey, 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. 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 stands unique among other Turkish desserts as it contains no animal products. One reason behind it is arguably protesting all kinds of violence and bloodshed. Alevites 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 meat. In Battle of Karbala, Hussein ibn Ali and his followers are murdered.
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.
Ashure pudding 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, rice, beans, chick peas, sugar (or other sweetener), dried fruits, and nuts, though there are many variants. However, many renditions add orange and lemon peel to add depth to the pudding. Condiments such as sesame seeds, pomegranate kernels, and rose water, as well as cinnamon are placed on top before serving. There are renditions of ashure containing lentils as well.
In most cases, it is vegan, and it is one of the well-known and the most popular vegan desserts in Turkish cuisine.
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