אשורה. איור: נדב יהל
אשורה. איור: נדב יהל
Magazine

Ashure

What is the connection between Noah's Ark, a very ancient culinary tradition, and a baby’s first tooth?

Those who grew up in families of Balkan origin, and Turkish Jews in particular, will fondly recall Ashure, (also known as Asure, Asura or Ashura,` Trigo among Ladino speakers, or Belila among Egyptians and Lebanese) a a porridge of soaked wheat and grains that is slow cooked with sugar, cinnamon, fruits, and nuts. In Jewish communities, the porridge is prepared as a festive food, mainly for ‘Tu B’Shvat’ (the Jewish new year for trees that occurs on the 15th day of the Shvat month in the Jewish calendar), as well as to mark a baby’s first tooth.

However, it has a distinguished history in other cultures and religions as well; sweetened wheat grains have been a popular dessert in the Mediterranean region since the days of the Greeks, and according to a Turkish legend, Ashure was the first food prepared by Noah after the ark reached Mount Ararat (hence its name in English: Noah’s Pudding). Muslims usually prepare it on the 10th day of the first month of the Muslim year (thus its name for the number 10 in Arabic).

Some prepare Ashure in particularly large quantities and give it to relatives and friends as a symbol of abundance and love.

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