Khoresh-e-Fesenjan: An Iranian Masterpiece


Khoresh-e-Fesenjan or simply, Fesenjan, is an Iranian stew flavoured with walnuts and pomegranate. Though it is traditionally prepared with poultry (chicken or duck) it may also be prepared with any ground meat or lamb (cut into small pieces). It is extremely rare to find this stew made from fish or no meat at all. The final taste can be sweet or sour, depending on adjustments to the recipe.

Fesenjan is considered to be the oldest Iranian cuisine and was cooked in the Sassanid period to mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring in March – a celebration known as Nowruz. Wiz means walnut in the Northwestern Iranian languages ​​(such as the Telshi and Wafsi languages), and ingen translates to crushing/rubbing. Forsnjun or Fasanjan refers to Visignogen, an area in the central regions of Iran. It may also refer to the shoots (of plants).

Fesenjan is normally served with either white or yellow rice.

This recipe has been shared by Chef Mona.

Ingredients Quantity
Choice of meat 250 g
Walnuts 100 g
Sugar 30 g
Pomegranate paste 50 g
Tomato paste 30 g
Red apple 1 quarter
Onion 50 g
Cooking oil As required

1. Grind the walnuts in a meat grinder at least two times.
2. Stir on heat in a medium-sized pot. Add the onions and fry until it’s golden.
3. Add the meat, then add the walnuts.
4. Be careful to keep the flame low until the walnut turns golden.
5. Add the tomato paste and press it down/rub for 2 to 3 minutes.
6. Add twice the volume of cold water and add pomegranate paste to boil.
7. After a few minutes of boiling, add some sugar then reduce the flame to medium level
8. Peel the apple and grate it, add to the pot then place on mild heat for 1.5-2 hours till ready.

Chef’s Tips
1. For best results, use fine and fresh walnuts.
2. The onion should be fried lightly until it turns golden.
3. Feel free to adjust amount of sugar or leave it out completely.
4. Shortly before the Fesenjan is done, add 2-3 ice cubes into the pot; this dissolves the oil in the walnut making the Fesenjan even tastier.