Fesenjan (Fesenjoon, Khoreshe Fesenjan, فسنجان ) is another delightful and famous Persian stew from north of Iran. There are three main Fesenjans based on the region it is cooked at. However, historians believe that it is originally from the Gilan province because Fesen is the Gilaki term for walnut.
Nowadays cooking Fesenjan is not limited to the north of Iran. You can find Fesenjoon in every region, but it may have a different taste. Because in every part, locals adjust Fesenjoon’s flavor to their taste.
Fesenjan is a dish of walnuts and pomegranates. Usually in fall when fresh pomegranate is available, northern Iranians cook Fesenjan. However, the main recipe is with pomegranate sauce or paste not the net pomegranate arils.
Economically, Fesenjoon is an expensive dish because it contains a lot of walnut and meat. But it is has a finger-licking taste that totally worth it.
According to the region, you have Fesenjan in Iran; you can experience different tastes. Some little changes in ingredients result in various kinds of Fesenjoon. Mainly there are three types of Khoreshe Fesenjoon: Mazani, Gilaki, and Farsi. Fesenjan is the term referred to Mazani and Gilaki version of the stew. Where Fesenjoon is the Farsi term for the stew.
Since pomegranate paste has a sour taste, some people add sugar to moderate its taste. In the middle parts of Iran, people like a sweet version of the stew. However, in the north of Iran, it is usually sour. In Azerbaijan parts of Iran, people like a subacid taste. They sometimes use dried apricots to acidulate the pomegranate’s sour taste.
Fesenjan can differ according to its meat type, too. In the north of Iran, people usually use chickens or ducks meat. In the middle parts of Iran, people use beef or lamb. Cooking Farsi style of Fesenjoon with meatballs made out of ground beef is also typical.
Like all other Persian stews, Fesenjan is served with a dish of Persian style cooked rice next to it. You can utilize any kind of rice you like, including Polow, Kateh, or Chelow. However, like most northern Iranian stews Kateh is the best type to accompany the Fesenjan. A light salad garnished with sour orange juice can be a wise choice as a side dish. Olives and Zeytoon Parvardeh (filled olives,زیتون پرورده) and Sir Torshi (سیر ترشی) are other typical side dishes. For drink, a saltless flat Doogh is an excellent option.
Fortunately, the vegetarian type of Fesenjan is available. For a vegetarian dish of Fesenjoon, you should omit the meat and add water instead of the gravy. The sauce made out of the mixture of walnuts and pomegranate paste on a Kateh style cooked rice is one of the most delicious foods you can ever experience.
Since this dish is full of walnuts, it contains lots of healthy oils and useful fatty acids. Therefore it can be a treat for eczema. Moreover, walnut includes a notable amount of Vitamin E and copper that can fulfill the body’s daily need for these nutrients. Pomegranates are natural blood purifiers. The meat in the food is a source of iron and can help ammonia.
To cook Khoreshe Fesenjoon, you have to grind the walnuts. Some people chop walnuts in order to get a crunchier taste. You can adjust it to your taste. Then you should saute the walnuts. For cooking the meat, (no difference what meat you are using) you should cut it into sizes you like and saute it with onions and turmeric. Then let the meat cook with some water.
You will add walnuts and pomegranate paste to the stock of chicken and wait until walnuts leak their oil to the stew. The taste of the chemistry among these ingredients after cooking on a low heat for some hours is unexplainable.
What are the ingredients?
You may be shocked when you find out about the ingredients. For the love of God, are you sure these mixture is going to taste good? The answer is a big YES. Fesenjan is one the most delightful masterpieces of Persian cuisine collection. Although many people might think that the main ingredient is the main meat ingredient is walnut. Because most people change the meat to their taste, but walnut is the one fixed member of ingredients’ team.
After walnut, we have pomegranate sauce or paste as the main ingredient. You can find pomegranate sauce or paste at any middle eastern grocery store. However, it is not too difficult to make a home-made pomegranate paste.
The last main ingredient is meat. According to the region, Fesenjan is served, or according to the chef’s taste, Fesenjoon can have different types of meat. In the north of Iran the motherland of Fesenjan, people usually use chicken or duck meat
- 300 gr walnuts
- 2 onions
- 4 pieces chicken (breast or thigh) or 1 kg cubed lamb or beef or meatballs
- 4 tablespoons pomegranate paste
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper to your taste
- ¼ cup brewed saffron
- 2 tablespoon sugar (to moderate the sour taste)
- Grind the walnuts and saute them in a pan.
- Saute diced onions in a pot.
- Pout the meat in the pot and cover it with water.
- After the chicken is half cooked (after 1.5 hours) add walnuts to the pot.
- Add pomegranate paste
- Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Add saffron
- Taste your stew and add sugar is needed to moderate the sour taste.
- Cook your stew on a low heat and wait for 4 hours until the walnut’s oil leaks into the pot.
- Serve Fesenjoon with a dish of rice.