This recipe is very special among muslims. They especially make this dessert on a special day. They believe that a lot of miracles happened on that day. God forgave Adam on that day, Noah and other living things on his boat were saved from flood on that day, Yunus was taken from the stomach of a fish, Musa passed over Red Sea, and Jesus was born, saved from death and uprised alive to heavens on the same day, and some other miraculous events.
Because of these miracles, it’s a common tradition to celebrate the day (tenth of Muharrem month in Islamic calendar) with a dessert called Asure within 20 days in that month. Islamic calendar is based on moon, so it is 10 days shorter than Gregorian calendar. As a result, the date of this day changes every year. Turkish people are mostly muslims and they also cook this dessert.
But people don’t wait for that special day to make this dessert as it is very delicious even though it is based on some religious events.
Another part of this tradition is to share it with neighbors. On these days, it’s very ordinary to hear your door bell and see a neighbor with a bowl of aşure in her hand. You immediately take it thankfully and clean the bowl and give it back. If you don’t give the bowl back at that moment, you return it full of something else on another day. This is a part of Turkish culture. Whenever a neighbor brings something, you return that bowl full on another day.
There is a story of ingredients. Noah’s ark was finally saved from the huge flood and landed on Mount Ararat. To thank god, Noah and other living things fasted that day. And at the end of that day, they cook this dessert with the foods they could save from flood. That’s why you may not associate these ingredients with any kind of dessert. You can also add to these ingredients to create your own Asure recipe.
• 2 cups wheat or barley
• 1 cup chickpeas
• 5 cups sugar
• 1 cup white kidney beans
• 15 cups water
• ½ cup rice
• 1 cup raisin
• ½ cup dried fig & dried apricot, diced
• 1 orange or lemon zest
• cinnamon and pomegranate seeds for garnish
Soak wheat, beans, chickpeas and raisin in seperate bowls overnight (at least 8 hours before cooking).
Drain wheat and put it in a steel pot, add 15 cups water and boil it. Take the foams gathering on it with a sieve and put the lid on to boil it 30 minutes.
Strain beans and chickpeas and boil them in another pot.
Wash and drain rice. Add it in boiling wheat. Boil it over low heat for about 4 hours until wheat grains get tender. Stir occasionaly.
When water in wheat and rice mixture is about to get thicker (like creamy soup), add sugar, chickpeas and beans.
Slice orange zest in small pieces and add it. Lastly, put raisin, apricot, dried fig and cinnamon into the mixture. Keep stirring. Boil it for 5 minutes and take it from fire.
Pour it into small bowls, and serve cold. Garnish it with pomegranate seeds and cinnamon.
Note: If you like, you can sprinkle some crumbled walnut, nut or almond on it before serving.