Posted by: gdevi | December 30, 2015

Pomegranate walnut chicken fesenjan

I made the Persian dish Fesenjan with the pomegranates in Appu’s house today. Because it is so late in December the pomegranates are sort of more tart and less sweet: perfect for pomegranate chicken or Fesenjan. My Iranian friend N. had taught me how to make Fesenjan when we lived in Dallas. It turned out quite good. Everyone liked it, and Appu, who doesn’t normally like stuff like this liked it as well. I only tasted the sauce; I don’t eat chicken.

Fesenjan is made in four separate steps: first, the pomegranate molasses, followed by the ground walnut, followed by the chicken, followed by the mixing of all three.

Here is an easy recipe to make Fesenjan:


1 pound walnuts roasted (350 degrees for 10mnts)

1.5 pounds chicken cut in small pieces

1 large red onion

3 medium-sized cinnamon sticks

3-4 bay leaves

salt to taste

pepper to taste

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

To make the pomegranate molasses

5 large pomegranates split and seeds taken out

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons brown sugar

Pomegranate molasses

Split the pomegranates, take the seeds, and put them in a colander. Put the colander on top of a saucepan. Juice the seeds with your hands–set aside the fiber.

Pour the pomegranate juice into a deep saucepan, add the lemon juice and the brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Keep it on a slow boil and reduce the juice to a quarter of the original volume. The juice will turn into an deep and intense pomegranate molasses with the reduction.  It will be incredibly sweet and tart. Set aside.

To make the Walnut paste

Roast the walnut pieces in a 350 degree oven for 10 mnts. Run your palms over the roasted pieces and blow out the skins. Run in a processor until the pieces are sort of a grainy powder. Set aside.

To make the Chicken

Pour about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan, and add about a quarter of the diced onion in it along with the cinnamon and the bay leaves. When the onions are sort of translucent, add chicken pieces (diced and marinated in salt and pepper) to the onion mixture. Cook on medium heat until cooked. Set aside.


In a heavy bottomed saucepan, add the remaining olive oil, onions, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Keep it on medium heat. Add the ground roasted walnut. Mix well. Pour the pomegranate molasses reduction into the walnut onion mix. Stir well. Add a quarter cup of chicken or vegetable stock to the walnut-pomegranate mix. Cook on low heat for about 30 mnts until the sauce is reduced to a dark brown color and the walnut oil separates on top.

Add the cooked chicken pieces to the pomegranate-walnut mix. Stir and mix well with the pomegranate-walnut sauce. Adjust salt to taste. Cook for 10 mnts on low to medium flame until the chicken is well incorporated into the sauce.

Serve the fesenjan on top of hot Basmati or Persian rice. Delicious!





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