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Asure – Noah’s Dessert

Asure; dessert of Noah's Ark; a festive treat

Asure; Noah’s Dessert; a festive treat

This delicious dessert of grains, pulses and dried fruit, referred as Asure or Ashura – Noah’s Dessert-, is most probably one of Turkey’s most famous dessert. According to the legend, Noah made it on the Ark by combining whatever ingredients were left on the ark. It is also the traditional dessert to serve on the 10th day of the Muslim month Muharrem, the first month of the Islamic calendar. Asure is always made in large quantities and shared with friends and neighbors.

Though the ingredients list is pretty rich, I believe whatever grains, pulses and dried fruit you have in your pantry will do. And if you are short of time, why not using good quality pre-cooked chickpeas and beans in cans; I am all up for it if it helps making this wonderful dessert. Adding the pomegranate seeds over the top give a festive touch and make the dessert refreshing too.

Desserts play an important role in Turkish culture and the centre piece at religious festivals, weddings and family celebrations. A wide variety of sweet treats from Turkish rice pudding to fruit based desserts are included at my new book, SEBZE, Vegetarian recipes from my Turkish kitchen (please note that Asure is not included in this book.) You can order a copy of SEBZE here.

SEBZE, Vegetarian Recipes From My Turkish Kitchen

SEBZE, Vegetarian Recipes From My Turkish Kitchen

This recipe is a slight adaptation from dear Ghillie Basan’s The Complete Book of Turkish Cooking; one of my favorite authors.

Serves 10 – 12

50gr/2oz haricot (navy) beans, soaked overnight (or at least for 6 hours) and drained
50gr/2oz skinned broad (fava) beans soaked overnight (or at least for 6 hours) and drained
50gr/2oz chickpeas (garbanzo beans) soaked overnight (or at least for 6 hours) and drained
115gr/4oz pot barley, with husks removed, and soaked overnight in plenty of water
50gr/2oz rice, washed and drained
115gr/4oz dried apricots
50gr/2oz raisins
50gr/2oz currants
225gr/8oz sugar
30ml/2 tablespoon corn flour (cornstarch) or rice flour
150ml /1/4 pint rose water

To garnish:
2 teaspoons/10 ml cinnamon
4-5 dried figs, sliced
4-5 dried apricots, sliced
15 ml/1 tablespoon sultanas
30 ml/2 tablespoon crushed walnuts
Seeds of 1/2 pomegranate

Cook the beans in separate pans of fresh water until just tender. The haricot beans will require about 50 minutes; the broad beans and chickpeas about 1 hour.

Transfer the barley and its soaking water to a large, deep pan and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the barley is tender, topping up with the water during the cooking time if necessary.

Add the cooked beans, chickpeas and the rice, and bring the liquid to boil again. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place all the dried fruit in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for 10 minutes, then drain. Add the fruit to the pan with the beans and stir in the sugar. Continue to simmer, stirring from time to time, until the mixture thickens.

Mix the corn flour or rice flour with a little water to form a creamy paste. Add 30ml/2tbsp of the hot liquid from the pan to the paste and add it to the pan, stirring constantly. Add the rose water and continue to simmer the mixture for another 15 minutes, stirring from to time, until the mixture is very thick.

Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Shake the bowl to make sure the surface is flat and leave the pudding to cool. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the pudding and arrange the sliced dried figs, apricots, sultanas and walnuts over the top. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over generously. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Afiyet Olsun,


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20 Responses to Asure – Noah’s Dessert

  1. azime December 22, 2010 at 3:31 am #

    Than you Ozlem for this recipe… I will try to do it sunday!

  2. Ozlem's Turkish Table December 23, 2010 at 1:49 am #

    You are most welcome Azime'cim, hope you enjoy it 🙂
    sevgiler, Ozlem

  3. Deborah Groom November 5, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    I don’t have rose water. Would apple juice be a good substitute or just plain water? Also can canned chickpeas and fava beans be used? Thanks, Deb

  4. Deborah Groom November 5, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    Oops. Sorry. I just read the part about using canned beans. I have white kidney beans. Are those similar to the fava beans?

    • Ozlem Warren November 5, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

      Hi Deborah, canned white beans should perfectly be fine, I used them before too. You can also use normal water; if you can get rose water extracts, you can add a teaspoonful of it too. There is plenty of flavours already here, it should still taste lovely. And yes, I did use canned chickpeas too 🙂 hope you enjoy it!

  5. cali December 10, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    Hi ozlem

    Can we use pearled barley?



    • Ozlem Warren December 10, 2013 at 10:00 am #

      Hi, yes you can, I used it, it was delicious!

  6. cali December 10, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    And what are sultanas?

    • Ozlem Warren December 10, 2013 at 10:00 am #

      Sultanas are similar to raisins, they are plummer and a little more juicier; you can always use raisins too – hope it helps!

  7. Mary Casha December 29, 2014 at 7:09 am #

    Can I use quinoa instead of barey or bulgar wheat ? Is it possible to blend the cooked legumes. I had Ashure in turkey and loved it, but now i want to do it at a dinner party where I do not know all the guest’s taste and I am trying to think of making it look and feel smoother,but have it retain the same taste. Thank you.

    • Ozlem Warren December 29, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

      Merhaba Mary, thank you for stopping by; quinoa would bring a different texture than barley but combined with all that nuts and dried fruit, it should still taste nice and near to Asure. I couldn’t understand what you’ve meant by blending legumes, do you mean in food processor? I would avoid that and keep it as whole, retaining their shape and texture. Pomegranates and dried apricots work so well over the top as a decoration and their taste refreshen and complement Asure, I am sure your guests will appreciate your effort and your Asure, afiyet olsun!

  8. Eda August 13, 2018 at 8:41 pm #

    This recipe is a very slight adaptation of the recipe found in Ghillie Basan’s book “The Complete Book of Turkish Cooking.” It is customary to give credit to the original, otherwise you are plagiarizing.

    • Ozlem Warren August 14, 2018 at 10:03 am #

      Merhaba Eda, thank you for stopping by and absolutely agree – being a recipe developer myself too, I strongly agree with you. This must have been an oversight when we updated the blog and we must have missed out, many thanks for letting me know, I gladly corrected it. I am a huge fan of dear Ghillie, she is a mentor and a dear friend, who also very kindly wrote the Foreword for my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. I will be meeting her later in Aug for the Edinburgh Book Festival, where she will be interviewing me on Aug 24th – really can’t wait, a real food here of mine. Selamlar, Ozlem

  9. Ale May 18, 2021 at 2:32 am #

    I am Mexican, I loved the receipt, It is a unique taste delicious desert! Thank you

    • Ozlem Warren May 18, 2021 at 3:40 pm #

      Merhaba Ale,

      Hola and many thanks for your kind note, so glad you enjoyed this Asure dessert, Afiyet olsun, Ozlem

  10. Ozlem Warren October 1, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

    thank you so much for sharing my Asure recipe and your kind mention!


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