Recently, on October, 22, the Aşure party has been held in Ezıç Premier, Kyrenia. It was a part of cultural program for the members of `Lions club` with traditional charity sale organized by association. For this time, Şerife Kutlu, our friend and previous President of the club, cooked Aşure on the special occasion of another Lions Club meeting. We forward special thanks to Ms Serife for her efforts and support!
During several years have I met this healthy dish here in Cyprus and were fascinated by its taste. So I decided to dig up deeper and discovered the history of Aşure. Let me share it with you…
According to the most popular version of Aşure`s origin, this delicacy dates back to Noah time (Nuh in Islam).
Allegedly, when a stock on Noah’s ark was exhausted and only some of the species rested on board, Noah gathered some edible plants and fruit from nearby debris and mixed them in a bowl to feed everyone.
As a result, he prepared very tasty dish, which provided travelers with energy enough up until the fourth day of the famous voyage. They could therefore continue their journey and successfully landed on Mount Ararat soon. That’s why English people call Aşure `Noah’s pudding`.
The first aşure’s recipe consisted of 40 components. Nowadays, housewives use no more than 15 elements, or a little bit more.
These are chickpea, wheat, starch, rise, white beans, raisins, cinnamon, garnet, figs, dried apricots, nuts, milk, salt, sugar or honey.
In Turkey, as well as on Cyprus, Ashure is not only tasty dessert, but also a symbol of abundance. Moreover, it has been considered as a medicine for almost all diseases from the Ottoman Empire times. Tasty and universal panacea, though!
There is a tradition to cook Ashure in each Turkish home on Thanksgiving Day at the end of Kurban Bayram.
It seems that culinary traditions and historic motifs correlate all over the world. Armenians, for instance, have a dish named Shorva-Shorhpa, which resembles ashure. While Russian people cook Sochivo, similar to legendary Ottoman delicacy, for their national celebration of Kutya.
Back in ancient times there was a goddess of fertility named Asherah (sometimes referred to as Ashtory or Ishtar). Presumably, her name was used to designate the popular dish so that it is now called `ashure`…
Legends are amusing to explore, and which one is closer to the truth is for you to decide.
Apparently, the dish of unique qualities has also its own curious history, which unites people from different places of the world.
Create your own Ashure celebration and let it be a symbol of international Friendship!
by Alfiya Khafizou
Official Member of Lions Club