May 14, 2011

Asure - Noah's Pudding

Most of you probably know about the issues Blogger was having during the past 24 hours and unfortunately it seems I won't be able to get all those lovely comments back onto my last post. Thank you all for your comments anyway, I'm so glad to hear you liked the little tartlets!

I'm really excited to share a new recipe with you. This is my version of a Turkish dish called 'Asure' or 'Noah's Pudding'. Never heard of it? - Neither had I, until just recently (Thank you Brent!), but it didn't get me long to jump right into it and start experimenting.

To me, the beauty of this recipe is that it is so adaptable. Many of the original recipes seemed to call for wheat grains as the main ingredient, but I've made this gluten-free by using oat groats instead (organic, uncontaminated). You could also use pearled barley, even quinoa, for a truly modern version of the dish. Instead of mung beans you could use white beans, adzuki beans, black beans - really anything you might find in your pantry. I've replaced orange with mandarins which I still have plenty of thanks to my recent trips to the countryside. This dish really is so forgiving to adaptations - I've used fresh figs instead of dried ones, added pistachios and dried dates and used honey instead of sugar. It's all about textures and finding the perfect balance of flavours and sweetness. 

Although the recipe may seem a little daunting with all the different ingredients, soaking and different cooking times, I can guarantee you it is well worth the effort. I truly love this dish.

 (serves 4-6)

1 cup oat groats, soaked overnight*
1/2 cup raw chickpeas, soaked overnight
1/3 cup mung beans, soaked overnight
1/4 cup brown rice, soaked overnight
juice of 2 mandarins
zest of one mandarin, finely chopped
2 tablespoons manuka honey
1 tablespoon raw natural vanilla sugar
(pinch of ground cinnamon)
5 dried apricots, sliced
3 pitted dates, sliced
3 tablespoons golden sultanas (raisins), chopped
2 tablespoons blanched almonds, chopped
2 tablespoons pistachio kernels, chopped
1/2 pomegranate, for serving
fresh figs, for serving

* Soak the ingredients in different bowls. The next day, drain the water out before cooking. 

1. Start by placing the oat groats and chickpeas in separate saucepans. Cover with water and bring to boil. Cook the oat groats for about 40 minutes and the chickpeas for about 30 minutes or until soft. Drain and set aside. Once cool enough to handle, slip the skins of the chickpeas and set aside.

2. Place the mung beans and the rice in one saucepan, cover with water and bring to boil. Cook for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain and set aside.

3. Now place the oat groats, chickpeas, mung beans and rice into one big saucepan. Add the mandarin zest and juice and 1/2 cup of water (you may need to add more as you cook, up to 1 cup).  Bring to boil. Add honey and vanilla sugar (and a pinch of ground cinnamon) and let simmer for about 10 minutes. 

4. Next, add in the apricots, dates and sultanas. Simmer for a further 5-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan. Leave to cool for one hour.

5. Serve the pudding (room temperature) with chopped nuts, pomegranate seeds and fresh figs. Drizzle with more honey if needed.