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Persian chicken

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
  • Print
Also known as fesenjan, this Iranian 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.
Want more fragrant dishes bursting with nuts, spices and herbs? Check out our collection of Middle Eastern recipes.


  • 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