Monday, January 12, 2009

Dish of Multi-Culturalism

One brought a handful of wheat, another a handful of dried grapes, another a handful of almonds...

The first meal cooked on the earth

Noah's ark landed on Mount Ararat (Turkish: Agri Dagi) which is located in the northeastern Turkey and the tallest peak in Turkey, there was a great joy and the joy of continuing life. With these, Noah cooked a dish containing seven different grains. So they satisfied their hunger with the abundance of Prophets. And the believers offered thanks to God.

After the flood, this was the first meal cooked on the earth, so it became customary to eat this thanksgiving dish on the Day of Asure.

Since then we cook this sweet dish, called in Turkish Asure -
pronounced Ash-ur-e (English: Noah's Pudding) every year this time in remembrance of what Noah and his people went through mixing all of the dried beans and wheat they can find to make this pudding.

Pretty lovely Asure-table settings

Asure is not only a dish, but has got very important meanings itself. It is:

~the opportunity to show gratefulness. One who can show gratefulness is aware of existence and the whole life. The Asure bowl symbolizes this awareness,
wellbeing, goodwill and sharing.

~the symbol of abundance. The Asure spoon represents the joy of sharing and enjoying the gifts of life and plenty.

~the a
bility to forgive that is essential part of tolerance and lasting peace.

~the common taste of friendship and brotherhood.

~the common symbol of the monotheistic religions, identities and languages of the world.

Delicious Asure-servings for everyone!

Back to the Ark...

Those on the Ark prepared a delicacy with what was left on the Ark
. There were grains, dried fruits, pulses, almonds and apricots which were cooked with sugar. Each of the parts preserves its individual taste and together enrich one another to create a yet more delicious whole, just like Asure, as photographed above. So Asure symbolizes the relationship between ''The parts and The Whole'' which is a fundamental element of the concept of conciliation.

While it embodies a message of sharing life with all living creatures together in harmony, on the other hand expresses a consequence of peaceful coexistence by the pomegranates decorated on the topping as below:

Time for gratefulness, goodwill and sharing

In the Ottoman Empire period, Asure was cooked and distributed to neighb
ours and the poor. For centuries the Ottoman Palace followed this tradition, so did we. And Asure cooked at the Palace was the most famous of all. The original recipe for the Asure was prepared in 1870 by Pertevniyal Sultan.

The numerous ingredients of Asure are brought together in a cauldron where they are blended to create this dish symbolising abundance and fertility. Because cauldron is the place where good intentions take tangible form, so itself presents life and coexistence.

After it's prepared
in large cauldrons, we definitely share firstly with poor and neighbors, then friends and family. As tradition goes the residents of forty houses to your house east, west, north and south are considered neighbors regardless of what their religion or beliefs may be.

All in all, a Asure bowl is inscribed with expressions wishing a go
od appetite for Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Abkhaz, Persian, Arabian, Albanian, Azeri, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Circassian, Assyrian, Jewish, Khyrgyz, Uzbek, Tatar and Greek, so presenting our multi-culturalism and peaceful coexistence.

As Asure reminds me that tolerance, unselfishness, gratitude and coexistence are essential for a sustainable and abundant future, I hardly wait the Day of Asure every, every, every year with an impatient heart! As far as its cooking, not so easy cooking dish -at least for me. I can say that it requires some mastering. Just does take seriously patience and also time.

Last weekend it was different from the flow of my days recently. Oh, how much I enjoyed having a Mama made Asure:) I helped her when preparing the bowls as well as taking photos of this moment for you at her house:)

In the end of day, I kindly gave my gratefulness to her. It was so delicious, so unforgettable taste left in my mouth until next year's Asure time. Me? I did not forget to pocket more 2-bowls only for me when she was out of house for distributing
twelve-bowlful Asures for the neighbors:)

Would you please join me for the Asure prayer:

''May our fast of thanksgiving be accepted; the light and labours of Asure are a service to God, the friend of abundance, with the submission of all courageous souls. May our Asure and other food be accepted, and be righteous for all of us gathered here. With the guiding light may four doors, four torches and the fourty souls be enduring. May the abundance of the rich eye and heart be showered upon those who deserve the Asure, those who recognise the share of the Prophet Noah, and all the members of our community. May their ancestors rest in peace, may their homes be happy, prosperous and united.''

It's one of Turkey's most famous deserts, not only delicious but also a historical tradition and a perfect recipe for a harmonious society, just like Turkey.

Happy Asure-making
the Day of Asure-celebrating:)


  1. I was not aware of Ashare. In a way, it sounds similar to our Thanksgiving, a time to be grateful for all we have and to share it with family and friends. This was a lovely post, like so many that you write. Hmmm, I would love a taste of the pudding! :-)

  2. Nihal, this was so fascinating. I was not at all aware of Asure. I like the historical significance and the meaning that symbolizes gratitude.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  3. What a beautiful post and tradition! Happy Asure!!

  4. Oh, I love this. I will have to learn more about it. It looks delicious - all the ingredients are things I love.

    They say that Persephone ate pomegranate seeds while in Hades, which obligated her to spend winter there. I loved seeing your pomegranate seeds in your asure!

    Your place setting is exquisite, too. Love the blue handled spoon.

  5. Nihal, I enjoyed your story about Noah and the tradition of the making of the Asure. It sounds delicious and is steeped in tradition. A beautiful story of sharing and gratefulness. Lovely.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the quiz. I did too. It is supposed to be very accurate. Thanks for stopping by today.


  6. What a beautiful tradition. The Asure looks delicious. Pomegranates are like litte bit of edible jewelery.


  7. Nihal;

    This is so fascinating. I'm married to a Turkish guy for over 20 years [Izmir] and he never told me about this tradition. But I do know Asure, because I make it sometimes and we enjoy it. Cok Guzel.


  8. @ Erica: Merhaba:) What a lovely message sent away from beautiful Izmir, my #1 the pearl of Aegean:)
    Turkish guys? They are very business-oriented, aren't they? How nice you're already familiar to our cuisine:) Bravo that you can make 'difficult' Asure, one step ahead of this girl:)
    By the way, your name sounds like italian, right?
    Read/write.. whatever it's, I'd love to see you again here. Iyi aksamlar guzel Izmir, sana da Erica~