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Fesenjan - Persian Chicken in Pomegranate-Walnut Sauce

Monday, 20 December 2010

Pomegranate molasses has been on my to-buy list for months. I finally found a shop that stocks this a few months ago and quickly grabbed a bottle. I thought I had quite a few recipes that involve pomegranate molasses bookmarked, but after going through and searching my list of bookmarked recipes, I couldn't find any. Well, I guess having nearly a thousand "favourites" in the list didn't help. Anyway, I googled and came across a rather interesting recipe that uses this thick sweet and sour fruit syrup.

Fesenjan chicken

Khoresht-e fesenjān (خورشت فسنجان), or simply fesenjān (فسنجان), is a Persian dish traditionally made with poultry (chicken or duck) stewed in a walnut and pomegranate sauce. I've never had this dish before, but the dark brown and thick gravy caught my attention.

Fesenjan sauce

I added cinnamon and some cardamom (yeap, more cardamom which I am currently obsessed with) as suggested. Used less pomegranate molasses as the wild boar is usually not too keen on sourish dishes. The final dish was very rich and tasty. The super thick sweet and sour gravy was very appetising, so good with rice. The wild boar thought it was a bit too sour, so you might want to stew the chicken in less pomegranate molasses and add more to taste later.

Fesenjan pomegranate
Adapted from whats4eats
  • 1/4 cup butter or oil
  • 750 g chicken pieces
  • 1 large onion - thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 1 cup walnuts - finely ground in a food processor
  • 1 cup stock or water
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate syrup or molasses
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pomegranate seeds (for garnishing)

  • Heat up a pan. Pour in ground walnuts and toast until fragrant and darkens in colour. Remove from pan and leave aside for later use.
  • Heat the butter or oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium flame. Add the chicken pieces a few at a time and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the onions to the pot and sauté until translucent.
  • Add garlic, cinnamon stick and cardamom, sauté until fragrant.
  • Stir in the toasted ground walnuts and stock or water and return the browned chicken pieces to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  • Stir in the pomegranate juice, sugar, honey, salt and pepper. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes until the chicken is tender, the sauce is somewhat thickened and the walnuts begin to give off their oil.
  • Adjust seasoning and serve with plain white rice.

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