In Turkey, the preparation of Noah's pudding in every home is not just about tradition but more of a commemoration of the great story of "Noah's Ark". The huge floating vessel (the ark) where Noah and his family along with some animals had been secured during the great flood is believed to have rested on Mount Ararat after the great flood had subsided. Mount Ararat, also known as AÄŸrÄ± DaÄŸÄ± in Turkish is situated in the highlands of AÄŸrÄ±, a city in the eastern part of Turkey.
To summarize briefly, the story tells of Noah and his family together with some animals aboard a large vessel or the "ark" of which they built to save themselves from the great flood. After the long journey above high waters, the great flood has finally subsided and the ark rested on dry land, yet Noah and his family almost already run out of food. So in order to save themselves from starving, Noah immediately decided to gather all the left over fruits, nuts, and other remaining grains in his storage and mixed them together. The way Noah and his family prepared and cooked all the ingredients that were left from their storage resulted in a porridge-like pudding which we now call "aÅŸure".
Today, aÅŸure which is also known as Noah's pudding is prepared almost in every Turkish household during the so-called "AÅŸure Month" as a cherished tradition. Though it is not declared as a public holiday, this month-long aÅŸure celebration is still observed as a religious month in Turkey which immediately follows the Kurban BayramÄ± or Feast of Sacrifice. It is also during this time of the year that large quantities of Noah's pudding is cooked in almost every household (regardless of the family's religion) 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. The essence of sharing aÅŸure to other people had become a common practice not just to Turks, but also to the other neighboring Middle Eastern countries.
So if haven't been to Turkey or any other country following this tradition, and yet you wonder how Noah's pudding would have tasted like, then why not try doing this in your own home?
Below is a homemade aÅŸure or Noah's pudding recipe that I've prepared in my own kitchen during this year's AÅŸure Month in Turkey.
- 1 cup barley
- 1 cup white kidney beans
- 1 cup chickpeas or garbanzos
- 1 cup rice (short-grain)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup sugar
- 10 cups water
- 10 pcs dried apricots (diced)
- 10 pcs dried figs (diced)
- 1 tbsp orange rind
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
- walnuts (crushed)
- dried figs (diced & previously soaked in warm water)
- dried apricots (diced & previously soaked in warm water)
- 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.
- Measure 4 cups of water in (each) three separate pots. Boil the barley, white kidney beans and chickpeas until cooked. Discard the water they were cooked in and leave to drain.
- Remove the skins of the white kidney beans and chickpeas.
- In a big pot (this will be your main pot), put in 10 cups of water.
- Add the barley, white kidney beans, chickpeas, rice, orange rind and bring to a boil for about 10 -15 minutes over high heat.
- Stir and add the sugar, raisins, dried apricots, dried figs, and the rest of the ingredients while reducing the temperature to medium heat. You may also add water from time to time if its necessary since the barley absorbs a lot of water.
- Stir occasionally.
Continue boiling for another 15-20 minutes or until fully cooked.
- Turn off the heat and leave the pot to rest for about half an hour.
Pour into small bowls and garnish with diced dried figs & apricots, chopped walnuts, and fresh pomegranate seeds (optional).
Afiyet Olsun! (Have a good appetite!)
1) The reason why barley, white kidney beans, and chickpeas are boiled separately is because they cook at a different length of time.
2) Noah's pudding can be served warm or chilled, depending on your preference. Either way, its equally delicious and mouth-watering!
3) Since everyone prepares Noah's pudding or aÅŸure in different ways (depending on the ingredients they have), it doesn't matter if you prefer to use other grains as substitutes. For example, you can use bulgur instead of barley or barley instead of rice, or use both. (I just prefered to use rice and barley together for it is how aÅŸure is traditionally prepared in Istanbul. The same thing goes for walnuts as the main garnish). Others may prefer to use pistachios, hazelnuts or almonds instead of walnuts for garnish. Currants, pine nuts, and other delectable nuts as long as they are crushed maybe added as well. Some others also prefer to use molasses instead of sugar.
4) Actually, you may either substitute some of the ingredients listed on my aÅŸure recipe or you may prefer to add something to enrich the flavor. Either way, your homemade aÅŸure will still taste good and the little variations will just mostly depend on your taste, being the cook.
5) The most important thing to remember here is that the significance of making aÅŸure is to use whatever is left in our food storage or pantry to eat and share it to others, just exactly what Noah did during his time. And that's the reason why we also call this recipe as "Noah's Pudding".