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Fesenjan (Persian chicken stew)

This comforting dish has several elements to it: tart pomegranate molasses, a creamy quality from ground walnuts in the sauce and the warming spices of cinnamon and paprika. We can't get enough.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 1 hr cooking plus drying
  • Serves 4 - 6
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Fesenjan, the Persian dish of chicken braised in walnut sauce, is at once piquant and comforting. The secret? Pomegranate molasses. The quantity here is a guide – add more to the pot and the dish will come out sweet and tart, or use it like you would lemon juice, seasoning at the end to cut the richness.


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 chicken Marylands, jointed
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • Large pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 tsp pomegranate molasses, or to taste, plus extra to serve
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 55 gm (⅓ cup) almonds
  • 50 gm (½ cup) walnuts
  • Red onion, sliced into rings, and coriander, to serve
  • Jewelled rice (optional), to serve


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 200°C. Heat oil in a flameproof casserole over medium-high heat. Season chicken, add to pan skin-side down, and cook, turning occasionally, until golden, (6-8 minutes). Remove from casserole. Reduce heat to medium, add onion and ghee to casserole and stir occasionally until onion is soft and starting to brown (10-12 minutes). Stir in cinnamon, paprika and pomegranate molasses, then add stock and bring to the boil. Return chicken to casserole, transfer to oven and braise until tender and cooked through (40-45 minutes). Season sauce to taste.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, pound nuts with a mortar and pestle until coarsely ground, then stir into sauce. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until combined (4-6 minutes). Season with pomegranate molasses and serve topped with onion and coriander with rice on the side.


Drink suggestion: Exotically perfumed viognier. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.

  • undefined: Lisa Featherby