"It’s cooked and shared on the feast of Asure and marks a symbol of sharing, love, charity and unity. Passionate Turkish home cook Ulku Gani loves making this special dish throughout the year and says her family love it for breakfast and snacks as it gets better after a day in the refrigerator. Ulku’s decoration with fresh pomegranate seeds looks and tastes so good." Maeve O'Meara, Food Safari Earth
Known as Noah’s Ark pudding to celebrate finding land after the flood, this is a dense, delicious, nutritious mix of grain, dried fruits, nuts and spices enjoyed since ancient days in Turkey.
- 400 g (2 cups) pearl barley, soaked overnight and drained
- 200 g (1 cup) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
- 200 g (1 cup) dried white beans, soaked overnight and drained
- 95 g (½ cup) dried figs
- 95 g (½ cup) dried apricots
- 85 g (½ cup) sultanas
- 85 g (½ cup) raisins
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 10 cloves
- 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
- 35 g (¼ cup) slivered almonds
- 60 g (½ cup) chopped walnuts
- 80 g (½ cup) roasted peanuts
- 440 g (2 cups) sugar
- 40 g (¼ cup) dried currants
- 40 g (¼ cup) sesame seeds, roasted
- ½ pomegranate, seeds removed
- 30 g (¼ cup) pistachios, roughly chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time: overnight
Cooling time: 1 hour
Wash and drain the pearl barley, chickpeas and white beans separately. Place the chickpeas in a large saucepan with 1.5 litres (6 cups) water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse. Return to the pan with another 3.5 litres (14 cups) water. Bring to boil, then simmer for 10 minutes or until the chickpeas are almost cooked through. Rinse and drain. Repeat the process with the white beans.
Rinse the barley a few times, then place in a saucepan with 1.5 litres (6 cups) water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat and drain. Rinse in cold water, then return the pan with another 1.5 litres (6 cups) water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or until tender.
While the barley is cooking, place the figs, apricots, sultanas and raisins in a heatproof bowl and cover with hot water. Stand to rehydrate for 5 minutes, then drain. Slice the apricots and figs and set aside.
When the barley is tender, briefly blend with a stick blender to thicken slightly if desired. Add the drained chickpeas and white beans to the barley, along with the cinnamon stick, cloves and orange zest. Add three quarters of the figs, apricots, sultanas, raisins and slivered almonds and a half each of the walnuts and peanuts. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes before adding the sugar. Mix well and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the currants and half the sesame seeds. Cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
Spoon the asure into small serving dishes and garnish with the pomegranate seeds, chopped pistachios and the remaining walnuts, peanuts, sesame seeds and dried fruit. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. (The asure will thicken as it cools down).
Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Emma Warren. Creative concept by Belinda So.