Guide to SKOPJE

Asure, the oldest dessert in the history of mankind

The traditional, centuries old Asure is not simply a dessert. It is foremost a symbol of sharing, solidarity, love, wealth and above all a symbol of our life together.

It is the tenth day of the month of Muharem, the first month according to Islamic calendar. The markets are bustling with life. Wheat is the most demanded cereal. Chickpeas, corn, rice, nuts, raisins, dried plums are among the most sought for products. The centuries long tradition goes on. Asure is being cooked. According to Islam money spent on asure is considered a good deed. It is hard work, but the taste is irresistible. It contains a dozen of ingredients that blend into one taste. At the same time they each keep their own flavour, and are not assimilated by any of the other.

“ASHARA” – “TEN, TENTH”

Sulejman Baki, a vaiz (preacher) at Murat Pasha Mosque, talks about the history, symbolism and meaning of the oldest dessert in history of mankind.

– This day has a significant value in Muslim culture, emphasizes Sulejman, adding “According to popular beliefs, the centuries old tradition of asure started the day when the prophet Noah and his followers were saved from the flood. After his ship made it to land, they gathered what food they had left and cooked it into a single dish. That dish is called asure.”

The term asure originates from the Arabic word “ashara” which means ten or tenth. Sulejman claims that it is not just a dessert, it is foremost a symbol of sharing, solidarity, love, wealth and a symbol of our life together.

EDIFYING LESSONS

Asure is called a dish of love and charity. It is shared with  neighbours, friends and relatives. A Skopje based non-government organization Ensar, whose president is Sulejman Baki, the city of Bursa and municipality Chair in Skopje are continuing the old traditions. Last week they organized the sixth “Asure day” in the Old Bazaar.

– Asure is a symbol that gives us many edifying lessons. The world we live in belongs to all of us, we live together and we have no other world. We believe in one God who created us all. That is why we need to live in harmonious coexistence, where all nationalities will keep their characteristics regardless of their religion, was Sulejman’s message.

Asure is rich in vitamins and according to experts it is very healthy, especially in winter. It is a source of energy and strengthens our immune system. Cereals used in preparation of this dessert contain vegetable protein. That is the reason why the month of Muharem is also called the month of health.

Husamedin Gina

Preparation:

Choose a large pot, put some water and the wheat and bring it to a boil, then add semi-boiled chickpeas and beans. This mixture needs to boil again before you add the chopped dried apricots and orange rinds. Meanwhile boil the rice and add it together with the water. It needs to be stirred constantly so as not to burn. Soak raisins in water for a while and add them together with the apples. Add milk, and after it has been boiling for a while add the sugar. The amount of sugar depends on your preference.

In the end add starch so as to make it thicker. If the wheat is of high quality you will not need any starch.

Asure is served in cups and is garnished with pomegranate, nuts, walnuts, currants, cinnamon, figs and pistachios.

Ingredients:

1 kg  wheat

2 glasses  chickpeas

2 glasses  beans

500 gr  dried apricots

2  orange rinds

3  apples

2.5 glasses  raisins

7 glasses  powdered sugar

5 spoons   rice

2 glasses  milk

1  lemon rind

water

Garnish:

pomegranate

nuts

walnuts

currants

cinnamon

figs

pistachios

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