Fesenjan, the Persian Pomegranate and walnut stew is one of the most delicious and unique stews, you’ll ever taste. This stew belongs to Gilanis of Iran who have taste for sour foods like this one.
What Fesenjan means?
Fesenjan or Khoresh Fusenjan is Iranian or Persian stew made with pomegranate molasses or syrup and ground walnuts. Khoresh literally means stew.
Origin of Fesenjan
This is traditional Persian dish made on religious occasion and weddings. The origin of this tangy stew is in Gilan province of Iran. The province lies along Caspian Sea, a region where wild ducks are plentiful.
dish is originally made with duck.
What is the taste of Fesenjan?
Fusenjan is usually made with poultry (duck or Chicken). It tastes tangy with a hint of sweetness. The walnut provides a wonderful nutty flavor. It is advised to prepare the dish a day ahead as the flavors are enhanced after a day. (Of course, you can eat is right away but leftovers taste even better.) The original flavor is amazing and rich.
BUT, for my family (who loves spicy food), I added extra spices in the dish. So, I’m sharing the most authentic recipe, but at the same time I suggest changes to meet everyone’s taste in the notes of recipe card.
What to serve with Persian Fesenjan?
Traditionally, Fusenjan is served with Persian Saffron rice also called tah-dig. But, good new is, it’s taste great with/over white rice, taftan or naan too. You can pair is with salad like fatoosh and you are set for a yummy meal.
Fusion Serving suggestions:
If you like a bit of fusion, you can serve this stew over white herbed rice with a garnish of sliced green onions and herbs of your choice.
Pomegranate molasses or pomegranate syrup is concentrated pomegranate juice. You can buy this from any Asian store in most countries. If you like, you can also make your own pomegranate syrup by boiling 1 cup pomegranate juice until is reduced a little more then ⅓ of original.
Tips to adapt this recipe to your taste
- Now this is perfect recipe, honestly hubby loved it and kids too. But, we have our desi buds that love spicy food even better. So, I’ve also tried this dish with ½ tablespoon green chilli, 1 teaspoon garlic paste and 1 teaspoon ginger paste. With this addition my in laws loved it too. So, I suggest making the dish exactly in the recipe card, make a taste test. And add, above addition only if needed.
- More variation, some people love to add 1 carrots and ½ -1 apples to this stew. But then please omit the sugar in the recipe.
- You can also make this recipe with meat balls. The step, when I add fried chicken you can add semi-cooked meatballs too.
How to make Fesenjan , the Pomogranate walnut stew?
Fesenjan, the Persian stew
- 1 pound skinless chicken – (Bone in or boneless) (450 grams)
- ¾ cup walnuts – (about 75 grams)
- 4 tablespoon oil
- 1 large onion – , sliced
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon green cardamom powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
- 1 cup chicken stock – (see note 3)
- 5 tablespoon pomegranate syrup or molasses – (see note 4)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt – to taste
- Water – as needed.
- 2 tablespoon coriander – or cilantro leaves
- Few green chillies slices – (optional if you like spicy food)
- Pomegranate arils – for garnish
- Dry roast walnuts in a pan on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat oil in a skillet and fry sliced onion on medium heat for 10 minutes until light golden.
- Next, add spices and give it a stir. Then remove fried onions leaving extra oil in the pan. ( Press onions against the wall of skillet to squeeze excess oil out of it.)
- Blend fried onions, chicken stock, and walnut in a food processor until smooth, set aside.
- Add chicken cubes in the same oil (left from fried onions). Fry on high heat until golden.
- Now add blended walnut purée, pomegranate syrup and sugar. Mix well and add 2-4 tablespoon of water as needed for desired consistency.
- Place the lids and simmer fusenjan on low heat for 7-10 minutes.
- Add cilantro, green chillies and lemon juice, mix well.
- Garnish with pomegranate arils and serve hot.
- If you want to add spicy touch to this stew you can add ½ tablespoon green chilli, 1 teaspoon garlic paste and 1 teaspoon ginger paste with other spices or just before simmering.
- If you like sweet stews with vegetables and fruits , add ½ large carrots chunks and 1 small apples chunk to this stew.
- To substitute, chicken stock, you can add ½ tablespoon chicken powder or ½ chicken cube plus 1 cup water. Chicken cube and chicken powder have added salt so please adjust salt accordingly.
- You can buy pomegranate molasses from Asian store or you can make your own pomegranate molasses simply by boiling fresh pomegranate juice until reduced to ⅓ cup that is about 5 tablespoon needed for this recipe.
- This curry is originally made with walnut, however if walnuts are not available you can substitute walnuts for cashew nut.