Asyura: Porridge For The New Year


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ASYURA Porridge is a uber-delicious one-pot meal which is usually served on the 10th day of Muharram, the day of Asyura.

Today is 23rd October 2015 which is also 10th Muharram, 1437, the Islamic calendar, where Muslims all over the world commemorate the special day by preparing special porridge – Asyura Porridge or Bubur Asyura as we Malaysians call it.

This famous rice meal comprises rice cooked with meat of our choice, mixed with vegetables and spices. They would be blended together and left to simmer for hours.

According to some narrations, Asyura Porridge is thought to resemble closely the first food that being cooked on land after the Great Flood of Noah. It was narrated that Prophet Noah safely landed on Mount Juuhi in his ship after the great flood on the 10th of Muharram. Once safely landed, Noah ordered his people to gather whatever food they have to be cooked to cater for everybody. It was originally a combination of seven types of nuts and beans with rice flour, cooked until thicken. The recipe thus change with additional roots and spices to make up the taste.

Nowadays, you can dress it up with celery leaves, deeply fried garlic and shallots. Some may add a bit of curry powder for extra oomph. Taste delicious, it remains as one of my favourite meals and my dear mom will make this porridge (upon requests…hehe) ever so often. So our family’s Asyura Porridge will be appearing on our dinner table irrespective of the months.

My sneaky reason to persuade mom to prepare the meal – that it is easy one-pot meal to prepare so she doesn’t have to worry about all other side dishes. No need to worry about stir-fried ocra or deep-fried chicken. This porridge is enough.

Apart from Noah landed safely after the great flood, there’s also narrated that 10th Muharram was also the day that Prophet Moses won against Pharoah and the Egyptians.

Presently, making the Asyura Porridge is part of a community ritual during the Muharram. They will contribute either money or the ingredients to make the porridge. The cooked porridge will be then given out to everybody especially to the poor, orphans and single mothers.

In my village, Bubur Lambuk or Spiced Porridge/Congee which resembled the Asyura Porridge in term of ingredients will also be cooked daily at the mosque’s premise by volunteers throughout the month of Ramadan where the cooked dish will then be given out (for free) to the villagers and anyone who came by to break their fast.


ready to be given out…

As being mentioned above, the Day of Ashura is celebrated by majority of Muslims across the world to commemorate Noah left the ark and that God saved Moses from the Pharaoh and Egyptians. However, Shi’a Muslims, the Day of Ashura is also a day of mourning for Husain ibn Ali. Husain ibn Ali was a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and was killed in 680 CE at Karbala, currently in Iraq.

It was narrated that when Prophet Muhammad came to Medina, he found the Jews fasting the Day of Asyura, the tenth day of Muharram. He asked them why they were fasting and they told him that it was an auspicious day: the day on which Allah saved Moses and his people and drowned Pharaoh and his people. Moses fasted out of gratitude to Allah and his people continued the practice after him. Prophet Muhammad told the Jews that his nation was closer to Moses than them. He then fasted that day and ordered his companions to fast.

Several narrations point to the significance of this day from the earliest of times. Apart from Moses victory over Pharaoh and Noah landed after the great flood, it has also been narrated that it was the day on which Allah forgave Prophet Adam and the day on which Allah forgave the people of Prophet Jonah (peace be upon him and all the Prophets). God knows best. A


Asyura Porridge

2 cups rice of your choice
200g meat of your choice
1 carrot-diced
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
2 potatoes-quartered and cubed

1 cup thick coconut milk
5 shallots-thinly diced
1 red onion
2 inch ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 cup chopped celery leaves
8 cups of water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil

1. Dry roast the coriander powder, cumin, fennel seeds and black pepper until fragrant. Add some water and blend to form a thick paste. Set aside.
2. Blend the red onion, ginger and garlic to form a paste and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the shallots until golden brown. Set aside.
3. Using the same pan, brown the beef (or chicken/lamb etc). Add the spices and blended onions, ginger and garlic. Once the spices are well blended, add in the rice and 6 cups of water.
4. Add the vegetables and salt to season.
5. Simmer on low heat for about an hour until the porridge is well cooked.
6. Add the coconut milk at this point and let it simmer for few more minutes.
7. Garnish with fried shallots, garlic and chopped celery leaves.
8. Serve warm.