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Chicken or Lamb Stew with Walnuts in Pomegranate Sauce – Fesenjan

Khoresh-e fesenjān (خورش فسنجان‎)

Cuisine: Iranian/Persian
Region: Gilan

Fesenjān or Fesenjoon is an ultra-classic Iranian/Persian stew (khoresh) featuring pomegranate sauce and ground walnuts. It will take some time to cook but the result is, well, indescribably good. There are many (unnecessarily complicated) Fesenjān recipes out there. This recipe comes straight out of the recipe box of our dear friend and fabulous home-cook Minu Chamani. Enjoy!

You will need: a pot
Cooking time: approx. 2 to 2.5 hours
Serves: 2


  • 300g (just over 1 lbs) lamb or chicken meat. If your’re using lamb, then prefer shoulder cut (always better for stews),
  • 150g crushed/ground walnuts,
  • 1 medium sized onion, shredded or thinly diced,
  • 2 Tbsp Pomegranate paste,
  • 1 pinch of salt,
  • 1 pinch of turmeric,
  • Black pepper to taste,
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil,
  • 1 dry prune, OR 1 small potato, OR 1 piece of yellow pumpkin,
  • 2 cups of warm water.
    • Optional: 1 Tsp of brown sugar


  1. Wash the meat well and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  2. Dice the onions and shred the potato or pumpkin.
  3. Add the olive oil in a pot and put the pot on the stove.
  4. Turn on the fire to medium high, wait for a few beats and then add the onions and the pinch of salt.
  5. Saute the onions for a minute or so, and add the meat.
  6. Stir the meat together with the onions, browning it on all sides.
  7. Before the onions turn golden add black pepper and turmeric. Give it a stir.
  8. Immediately add your 2 cups of warm water.
  9. Add to the mix the crushed/ground walnuts and the pomegranate paste.
  10. Stir well and wait until the mixture is brought to a boil.
  11. Let the mix boil for about 5 minutes.
  12. Add the shredded potato or pumpkin or prune.
  13. Lower the heat to medium low, or low.
  14. Put the lid on the pot and let it simmer gently for about 1.5 hours.
  15. Then, taste the sauce and add sugar (if you think it’s needed) and perhaps extra salt to taste.
  16. Leave it simmering for another 1/2 hour, or until you can clearly see the oil on top of the liquid.
  17. Once it’s done, turn off the fire and let the stew sit for 10 minutes or so.
  18. That’s all. 🙂

Side dishes

Serve with long grain Basmati rice.
An extra side dish of sour plums is also very popular.

Notes on Chicken or Lamb with Walnuts in Pomegranate Sauce : Fesenjān

You could also use small meatballs instead of chicken or lamb.

You can freely scale this recipe up by double. However, if you’re cooking for more than 4 people then it would be a good idea to cook in 2 pots and combine them in a soup tureen (or a bigger pot, for that matter) prior to serving.

We are adding potato, pumpkin or prune in order to thicken the sauce while the stew is cooking. If you’re using potato shreds then do remember to stir occasionally, otherwise the potato shreds will stick to the bottom of the pot.

We are adding salt towards the end of the process because salt dries the meat while it’s cooking. You can always add salt at the beginning, together with the black pepper, if you like – there’s no hard rule here.

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