Noah’s Pudding or Ashure 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, especially on the 10th day. (“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.
The Prophet Noah (pbuh) called his people to the religion of God for nine hundred and fifty years. But his people insisted on unbelief and persisted in their wrongdoings. So, God ordered Noah to build an ark and embark two of every creature, his family and the believers. A long and hard journey was awaiting Noah and the believers. Days had passed, and food was scarce. They were facing starvation. No food by itself was enough to make a good meal. Noah gathered all the foods and, mixing them, obtained a delicious meal. Believers survived through famine. The very next day, flood receded as God said “O earth! Swallow up your water, and O sky! Withhold your rain”. Today we call the meal Noah prepared “Noah’s Pudding”. It is also called as “Ashure”.
Quran: Chapter 11, Verses 25-40.
Significance of Noah’s Pudding tradition
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. The making of ashure is a common practice among Muslim and Christian people in the Middle East. In Turkey, it is customary to prepare ashure at a certain time of the year. Christian communities throughout the Middle East prepare a similar sweet wheat dish, called hedik, amah or qamhiyyi. Day of Ashure is an important day in the Muslim year, corresponding to the Mosaic Yom Kippur observed by Jews. Among Turkish and Balkan Sufis, the ashure is prepared with special prayers for health, healing, safety, success and spiritual nourishment.
Ashure does not have a single recipe, as recipes vary between regions and families. Ashure stands unique among other Turkish desserts as it contains no animal products. In most cases, it is vegan, and it is one of the well-known and the most popular vegan desserts in Turkish cuisine. Traditionally, it is said to have at least seven ingredients. Among these are wheat, rice, beans, chickpeas, 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.
Sample Recipe for Noah’s Pudding (makes 30 servings)
• 1 cup wheat
• 1 cup white beans
• 1 cup garbanzo beans
• 1 cup raisins
• 1 cup almonds
• 3/4 cup peanuts
• 12 dried apricots
• 5 1/2 cups sugar
• Water (enough to cover)
• Topping: walnuts, cinnamon
1. Soak wheat, white beans, garbanzo beans and almonds in water overnight.
2. Boil the above ingredients and remove the outer shell or skin.
3. Soak the raisins in boiling water until they soften.
4. Put all the ingredients above (steps 1-3) in a large pot and boil. Add peanuts and almonds (peeled and cut in half) at this point.
5. Chop the apricot into small pieces and add to mixture along with sugar.
6. Boil for 10-15 minutes.
7. Enjoy your pudding!