Füsun A.



Montréal, CANADA
January 12
Freelance Writer - jack of all genres;master of none.
warm and genuine
I divorced my full time career of teaching after 25 years, because meanwhile I fell in love with freelance writing. Ever since, I decided to legitimize my ten-year fling which started in the new millennium. Author of: "WILL OF MY OWN - A Memoir" Available at all major book outlets. For a preview please visit: http://www.dictionmatters.com/


MARCH 20, 2011 1:23AM

Noah's Pudding

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Noah's Pudding 

image source

Noah's Pudding is a Turkish dessert I have known and loved all my life as Ashure. I heard the nomenclature Noah's Pudding only after I started living in North America. The name made so much sense to me as I thought of the story of Noah and the species of every kind that filled his ark. I was making a connecting between the idea of the ark's motley crew and that of the ingredients which go into ashure, rendering it just as varied, imaginative and colorful.

Much later, with a growing interest in food lore,  I researched the anecdotal history and I learned that when his family wanted to celebrate the landing of Noah's Ark on top of Mount Ararat known as  Agri Dagi in Turkish – in northeastern Turkey with a special dish, their supplies were almost exhausted. Thus they threw whatever was left together to create a pudding consisting of various grains, legumes and dried fruits. Thus was born what is now known as Ashure, or Noah's Pudding !

I was a senior at McGill University when I announced my discovery one evening at the dinner table, as we were digging into our very desserts, adding that I preferred my own version of the story far better to what I had read. Babacim, smiled and replied to me and my sisters then, that he actually liked both versions, but neither was really true to the real tradition and folklore behind this delightful dish.

Oh? There was a tradition to this?

Apparently, this pudding was traditionally prepared on the Day of Ashura, whih marked the end of the Battle of Karbala. Today it is prepared almost in every Turkish household during the Ashure Month as a cherished tradition. Though it is not declared as a public holiday, this month-long Ashure celebration is still observed as a religious occasion in Turkey which immediately follows the Kurban Bayrami - or Feast of Sacrifice. During this time of the year large quantities of Noah's pudding is cooked in almost every household in all regions of Turkey. It is traditionally served to guests at home while leaving aside separate bowls of it to be shared with the neighbors, relatives, and friends.

Although ashure was made and consumed during the colder months of the year as a healthy, calorie-packed pudding, nowadays it is enjoyed year-round because of its richness in omega fats, healthy grains, dry fruits; and it is specially attractive to omnivores and stricktly vegetarians alike. The essence of sharing Ashure with other people has become a common practice not only to Turks, but also to the other neighboring Middle Eastern countries.

Whenever my mother cooked ashure, she made sure there was enough to send a big bowl of it with me to our neighbors and friends as an offering of peace and love, regardless of their faith or religion.

Over the years I may have altered my mother's recipe often by omitting the dry figs and rosewater-for which I personally don't care much-  and adding dried cranberries or occasionally sprinkling coconut on top, but the basic tradition of sharing and love is something I've carried on from my cultural roots - unconditionally.

Ashure does not have a single recipe; recipes vary among regions and families. I was taught to include at least seven ingredients among which are barley, rice, beans, chick peas, sugar, nuts, and dried fruits of which there are many variants. Many renditions add citrus peel to lend depth to the pudding. Condiments, such as pomegranate seeds, and nuts, as well as cinnamon are sprinkled on top before serving.     

Noah's Pudding

         asure 2  




1 cup pearled barley

1 cup chickpeas

1 cup dry white beans

1/3 cups short grain rice - I use Basmati 

10-12 cups water

10 dried apricots, quartered 

1 cup seedless raisins

1 small orange, zest grated

2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons rose water 

3/4  cup walnuts (or hazelnuts-skinned)

1 cup pistachio nuts, unsalted

1 small pomegranate (optional)

cinnamon, for sprinkling on top


Day 1

•Wash the barley thoroughly. Measure 4 cups of water in a pot and bring to boil in high heat. Immediately add the barley and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Turn the heat off and leave the barley (in this water) overnight.

•Repeat the same procedure for the chickpeas and white kidney beans leaving them overnight in the same water they were boiled in.

Day 2

•Measure 4 cups of water in each of three separate pots. Boil the barley, white kidney beans and chickpeas separately – because they cook at a different length of time – until cooked. Discard the cooking water and drain.

•Remove skins from the white kidney beans and chickpeas.

• Fill a large pot with 10 cups of water.

•Add the barley, white kidney beans, chickpeas, rice, orange rind and bring to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes over high heat uncovered. Stir.

•Add the sugar, raisins, and dried apricots while reducing the temperature to medium heat. You may also add water occasionally as necessary because barley absorbs a lot of water.

•Stir occasionally.

•Continue boiling for another half hour or until the chickpeas are soft.

•Turn off the heat and allow the pot to rest for half 20 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in rose water.

Spoon into individual dessert bowls. Cool. Garnish with walnuts, pistachios and pomegranate seeds*.

Serve cold or chilled.

* I prefer a generous sprinkling of cinnamon in place of pomegranate seeds before garnishing with pistachios or walnuts, and also leave out the rose water.

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Classic Turkish Cooking - by Ghillie Basan

The Sultan's Kitchen - A Turkish Cookbook  - by Ozcan Ozan

Foundation for Intercultural Dialogue

Video Clip - Courtesy YouTube


~The sources for photos and references are as acknowledged above~



Füsun Atalay ~ Copyright © Will of my Own - 2011


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To peace and friendship around the world and relief to all suffering.
I never thought about what Noah ate. Glad he didn't eat the animals! This is wonderful.
Yahoooooo! That sensual pudding and the video will go a long way to creating world peace and relief of all suffering. Sublime!!
What an interesting combination of ingredients, Fusun. I can't help but think that the diversity of flavours and colours here ... the savoury and sweet ... could be representative of the diversity of cultures and people. Coming together ... mixed together ... sharing a world together. Some lovely traditions are to be found in the world indeed. Thank you for sharing!
I am so full, yet your recipe has me salivating! Not fair! You did this skc oc so proud! You are a wealth of information, lover of culinary traditions and a giver of life in whatever you see and share. xo
Lovely recipe. I really might try it. I like barley in sweets: there is an Easter cake from Salerno called Pastiera that is gorgeous. I had it a few times, while serving the Italian army down there and loved it so much that I still remember it a century and a half later. xxx m.
I hadn't thought about what Noah ate. I presume he was a vegetarian. I would hate the thought..,
To peace and friendship, amen!!!


**Wanders off into the thorn bushes for some chocolate pudding**
This is a very time-consuming recipe! It truly would be a thoughtful gift. Though it a-shure does sound delicious!
You know what I like about your work here? Your stories are as good as the food. That makes a perfect combination for me.
Wow!! What a wonderful story and intriguing dish!!! I love the combinations!!! I'll have to make this. Thanks Fusun!!
A fascinating combo of ingredients indigenous to the ancient world.
Your food posts are always so lovely.~r
This is definitely something we would eat at our home. It is acceptable to use canned chick peas and white beans? Thanks for sharing this and the tradition behind it.
Fascinating legend, Fusie. Looks delicious, too.
It's fascinating to me to see the many ways that beans show up in desserts: black beans in brownies, navy beans in cakes, Thai red bean dessert, Chinese bean past buns. On and on. And let's not forget cocoa beans and vanilla beans, although they're a different thing. And now a lovely Middle Eastern dessert with a tradition of sharing and love. Brilliant, Fusun. :)
The story and the recipe are both intriguing. As your posts usually are. -R-
This sounds like the best hippie granola ever made in pudding form. Why didn't we hippies think of this?! Yum.
Just got up and this made me swoon.
My gluten free toast is no match for it.:)
Great piece as usual

Reading your posts has been mind-broadening for me, Fusie. In a million years, I wouldn't have dreamed of calling a vegetable-based dish a dessert. Does it taste like anything we might be more familiar with in North America?

@Sheila - Yes, absoluely, you may used canned beans and chickpeas. I'd recommend rinsing them well before you proceed.

@Pilgrim - This is a labor of love, however, my mother had been using the pressure cooker to save time for many years in making Ashure. I didn't get into that method - perhaps another story.
oh wow! back to The Flood! Love this recipe. Congrats... sure to be a winner for sheer legacy! Delicious.
Food lore--a fascinating topic for a book. Have you/will you/are you working on this? Hope so, Fusun. North Americans would eat it up.
Yum! Thanks for sharing the origins of your tasty pudding! I look forward to making it for my morning book club. rated~
Fascinating and delicious looking, Fusun.
Sounds delish. I use a pressure cooker these days for fresh beans, it makes them very quick and very tasty, rather than the longer boil, plus they get softer rather than tougher (skins). Have you tried that?
Barley, chickpeas, rice and beans for dessert! It's fabulous sounding. Love this new piece. R!
The video has left me speechless.....
But the story behind the dish is so cool and the idea that you always share this dish with others. I think I would leave out the rose water too. This sounds like a dish I may want to try. On top of being so incredibly healthy it also sounds pretty tasty.
You are such a wonderful spirit, and your recipes are unknown, but so appealing! You should have a show for a while on Food Network!
Oh, thank you! I fully expect there will be someone's version of this at our celebration tonight. Now that I have a recipe, I will surprise one of my middle eastern friends when they least expect it.
@ Lezlie - I thought about your question. It's difficult to compare the taste to anything North American. Closest I could come to is an Amish pudding made with tapioca and brown sugar, called "fish eye pudding". It's cooked in a slow cooker over night until the tapioca pearls become translucent, resembling the eyes of fish. Their starch is what thickens the pudding.

@ Oryoki - Yes, I often make this in the pressure cooker myself. I went with the traditional recipe here.
Cinnamon is the most important ingredient for me. I love Ashure.
Fusun, I didn't know you were such a good dancer.
Wow, how interesting! I don't think I've got a recipe other than a salad that incorporates pomegranate seeds. I guess it would figure that Noah was a vegetarian, right?!
I second your motion, FununA. Here's a toast to peace and friendship around the world and relief to all suffering. Maybe if we all say it at the same time the answer will come. R
This looks very healthful and wholesome--I bet it would be great for breakfast. Thanks for sharing this and the intriguing story behind it!
It sounds like a wonderful tradition and very yummy. And I think you spread love wherever you go. :-)
@ Leepin Larry - There's much you don't know about me.

@ Felicia - Yes, this is great for breakfast - I have it even for lunch sometimes. It is very delicious and healthy.
Fusun...I love this! I am soooo making this! xox
So we indulge and then dance the calories away? Very nice.
wow-that is truly unlike anything I have ever had before
what a lovely idea; people move so much more now; i want to have a sense of a neighborhood; we had a Christmas open house this year
Oh I have loved that pudding since I first had it. This is a real dessert and I give it big votes. Thanks for sharing it here . MMmmmmm!
Also thanks for that history..
I sure would love some of that pudding right now.........r
This was really interesting. I've never heard of this dish! I also totally understand about replacing rosewater with cranberries. So many things in this world are better with cranberries!
I'm going to make it with splenda..what a fantastic post.Thanks for the history and recipe.Amazing.Peace to you as well xoxo
FusunA: You are very good at making my mouth water. Thank you for this, it was very interesting and the traditions of your family are beautiful.
Funsun, Wow, I love this and will make a copy of the recipe. The history of this is wonderful, thanks for sharing. I LOVE this music, if you can think of any artist's, I could purchase, let me know. I would be interested in an instrumental version of this type of music. Love it! Great post, dear.
Wow- looks and sounds delicious!
Now that is a real tribute to peace. Thanks for the recipes and that lovely Turkish...beat. R
I have obviously spent years underestimating Turkish cuisine through inadequate exposure to it.

Sounds delicious and hearty, Fusun. Sorry to be so late to the party!
Great story. I licked the computer screen. And the picture of Noah's pudding, too.