Ashure with a Kurdish Family in Şanlıurfa, Turkey

A Kurdish family in the city of Şanlıurfa kindly hosted me. The mother prepared this dish called ashure, which I’m not sure if it’s to celebrate or to mourn. I think it’s celebratory food because it’s a wholesome hot porridge that feels fuzzy on these cold days. It’s with fruits and nuts and grains and sugar, which sounds like peak comfort food.

Mourning because I was just in Iran on the 2nd and 3rd of November, which is when Shia Muslims mourn the martyrdom of Husayn. It has a very similar name: day of Ashura. I was in Orumiyeh back then when men and boys slapped their backs with chains for bloodless self-flagellation. But that was ten days ago.

Anyway, I don’t have to understand everything 100% the first time I encounter it. All I understand is that this lovely lady is cooking up a big batch of ashure to share with the neighbors. My host told me they will share it with everyone, regardless of their religion. And I know now that it’s absolutely delicious!

I must say that Şanlıurfa has been a great place to visit, including the wish tree at Göbekli Tepe nearby. It’s incredibly cold right now, but the people are warm. I think it would be great to return here one day. Next time I hope to speak a little more Kurdish so I can say things that are deeper than “Mmmmm!” when I’m tasting some delicious food 😀

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