Also called Khoresht-e-Fesenjan, this is a special occasion Persian food.   Traditionally, it is made with duck or pheasant in the province of Gilan in north of the country along the Caspian Sea, the swamps being a nesting place for these wild birds.  It is a thick, rich, sweet and sour dish.  Fesenjan improves in flavour if served the next day, as all the flavourings soak up into the meat!


I have prepared this dish, with virtually any meat and occasionally without any at all!  Here is how I prepare it with chicken:


  • 1 whole chicken, cut up into 12 pieces (alternatively, 2-2 ½ lb Boneless meat)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and finely ground in a food processor
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups pomegranate juice
  • OR 3 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
  • 2 or 3 cardamoms
  • Half a cup of almonds or cashew nuts (optional)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the chicken and onions and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (at this stage you can put a diced aubergine, if desired!).
  3. Mix in pureed walnuts, salt, pomegranate juice/molasses, and cardamom. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1½ hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. If the sauce becomes too thick, stir in 1/4 cup warm water.
  6. Adjust the seasoning, and simmer for another 10-30 minutes.


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