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Aşure (1).JPG
Place of originTurkey
Main ingredientsGrains, fruits and nuts

Ashure[1] (Turkish: aşure) or Noah's pudding is a Turkish dessert porridge that is made of a mixture consisting of grains, fruits, dried fruits and nuts. In Turkey it is served all year around, especially during Muharram,[2] the first month of the Islamic calendar, as the 10th of Muharrem corresponds to the Day of Ashure. ("Ashura" is Arabic for "tenth".)

Traditionally, ashure is made in large quantities to commemorate the ark's landing and is distributed to friends, relatives, neighbors, colleagues, classmates, and 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 due to its heavy and calorie rich nature, but now it is enjoyed year-round.


The word Ashure come from Arabic word Ashura Arabic: عاشوراءʻĀshūrā’ , meaning 'tenth'.[3] In Turkish tradition, this dish is made mostly on 10th of Muharram or after 10th of Muharram in Islamic Lunar Calendar. The association with Muharram is not only significant in Islamic beliefs, but also pre-Islamic beliefs, with some Semitic stories also referencing this month.

Also in Turkish, Ash(Aş) represents mixed porridge. It is derived from Persian word "Ashur" meaning mixing.[4] Evliya Çelebi defines the Ashure in his travelbook, "Ashure is a porridge (aş) that should be cooked at the tenth of Muharram." [3]


Ashure porridge does not have a single recipe, as recipes vary between regions and families.[5]

Traditionally, it is said to have at least seven ingredients. Some say at least ten ingredients must be used, in keeping with the theme of "tenth", while Alevis always use twelve. Among these are wheat, barley, rice, white beans, chickpeas, sweetener, dates, pomegranates, beets, dried fruits, and nuts. However, many renditions add orange and lemon peel to add depth to the pudding. Anise seed, sesame seeds, pine nuts, black cumin seeds, prunus mahaleb, pomegranate kernels, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice may be used as garnish, and some variations are flavored with anise liqueur, rose water and/or orange blossom water.

In most cases, it is vegan, and it is one of the well-known and the most popular vegan desserts in Turkish cuisine.

History and traditions[edit]

In anecdotal history, it is claimed that when Noah's Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat, 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 called ashure.

Turkish families make ashure pudding to commemorate this event.[6] Ashure is distributed to the poor, as well as to neighbors, friends and relatives.[7]

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.[8][9][10][11] 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 represents many cultures' beliefs, Islamic and pre-Islamic alike, and therefore is celebrated to commemorate many spiritual events believed to have happened on this day; for example, it is believed that:

  • The prophet Adam was accepted by God because of his repentance.
  • Noah's ark came to rest and the passengers survived.
  • The sea was divided, and the nation of Israel was delivered from captivity, while the Pharaoh's army was destroyed.
  • Jesus was raised to the heavens, etc.[5]
  • Martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali

The Armenian version is called anuşabur. Armenians serve it during Christmas and on New Year's Eve. Like ashure it may be garnished with pomegranate seeds and flavored with rose water, and the pudding is shared with neighbors during the Christmas season. The festive pudding is the centerpiece of the New Year's table, which is often decorated with dried fruits, nuts and pomegranates.[12]

Popular culture[edit]


Turkish author Elif Şafak has scenes involving ashure in The Flea Palace and The Bastard of Istanbul. In The Flea Palace Şafak writes, "As they boiled there on the stove, all the ingredients prattled on in unison but each in its own language,"[13] and in The Bastard of Istanbul Mustafa recalls childhood memories of eating the bowls of dessert he had been entrusted to distribute to his neighbors.[14]


  1. ^ "Ashure. Rumi Club" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  2. ^ Fieldhouse, P. (2017). Food, Feasts, and Faith: An Encyclopedia of Food Culture in World Religions [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-61069-412-4. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "aşure".
  4. ^ Saleminejad, Hossein. "جست‌وجوی آشور".
  5. ^ a b "Noah's Pudding. Rumi Club. University of Massachusetts" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-11-25.
  6. ^ Laudan, Rachel (2015-04-03). Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History. Univ of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-28631-3.
  7. ^ Kutlu, Halis (2014-05-26). Istanbul City Guide: Best Places Of Istanbul. Halis Kutlu.
  8. ^ "Muslim Holy Days (Islamic Special Holidays) | 30-Days of Prayer for the Muslim World". Archived from the original on 2011-12-06. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
  9. ^ "Aşure Günü 10 Muharrem - İslam Tasavvuf Metafizik". 2008-11-14. Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
  10. ^ "Muharrem Ayı ve Aşure Günü, Mübarek gün ve geceler, dini gün ve geceler, Mübarek Aylar, kadir gecesi, recep ayı, regaib kandili, Üç Aylara Girerken, Miraç Kandili, Şaban Ayı, Berat Kandili, Kadir Gecesi, Ramazan Bayramı, Şevval Ayı, Kurban ve Kurban Bayramı Özel Dosyası, Muharrem Ayı ve Aşure Günü, Kutlu Doğum ve Mevlid Kandili". Archived from the original on 2011-11-16. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
  11. ^ "Muslim holy days". Retrieved 2011-11-25.
  12. ^ McWilliams, Mark (2012-07-01). "Be Merry, Around a Wheat Berry!". Celebration: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2011. Oxford Symposium. ISBN 978-1-903018-89-7.
  13. ^ Shafak, Elif (2012-10-25). The Flea Palace. Penguin UK. ISBN 978-0-14-196137-8.
  14. ^ Shafak, Elif (2008-01-29). The Bastard of Istanbul. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-4406-3584-7.

External links[edit]