Fesenjan (Iranian Special Occasion Dish)

Total Time
1hr 15mins
Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr

I had this marvelous dish in a Mediterranean Cafe. The fragrance is wonderful and the taste sublime. There has been quite a bit of discussion on this recipe. I would like to clarify that I have had this dish only twice at one restaurant and that I have never actually made the dish. I enjoyed it so much I searched and found this recipe online, it is not original by me. I do not find the one star review helpful. That it doesn't taste like grandma's does not mean it is a bad recipe. As for the use of Garlic, I know nothing of regional Iranian dishes, but I love garlic in most anything!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Heat butter or oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven.
  2. Add onions and sauté until wilted and translucent.
  3. Add garlic, cinnamon and nutmeg and sauté, stirring, for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Stir in walnuts, pomegranate syrup, stock, sugar, salt, pepper and saffron.
  5. Adjust sugar and salt to taste.
  6. Bring to a low boil and simmer 1/2 hour.
  7. Add chicken and simmer on low heat another 30-60 minutes.
  8. Halfway through the cooking time, add the lime juice to taste.
  9. The sauce will thicken and darken during this cooking time, and the oil will begin to render out of the walnuts.
  10. Add water or stock if necessary to prevent the sauce from thickening too much and scorching.
  11. Serve with plain white rice.
  12. NOTES Fesenjan is special occasion food in Iran.
  13. It is traditionally made with duck or pheasant in the north of the country along the Caspian sea.
  14. It is a thick, rich, sweet-sour dish that improves in flavor the next day.
  15. Pomegranate syrup is available in most Middle Eastern and health food stores.
  16. If it is unavailable, you can use an equal amount of frozen, concentrated cranberry juice.
  17. The flavor is roughly the same.
  18. You can use a whole bone-in chicken if you like.
  19. Cut it into 8 serving pieces and remove most of the skin.
  20. The bones will give the dish a richer flavor.
Most Helpful

Please omit the garlic, it does not go in this dish. Only north iranian dishes include garlic. I know only to use salt, pepper, cinnamon on this dish and I think saffaron is a waist on this dish unless you use it to decorate the rice.This dish and Khoresht-e-Ghorme-sabzi will always be served when you visit an iranian family. It is a special dish just like our american potroast for example.Those iranian dishes used to be quite labor intensive. Today we can buy many ingredients ready and have a food processor. Imagine shelling and grounding walnuts in your kitchen. As someone mentioned before if you think the dish is too sour add more sugar.There is no right or wrong way to cook it too sour or too sweet. Every iranian has a different opinion about this dish in regards to and sour or sweet. So eat it the way you like it. Serve it with a sugar bowl on the table for those sweet toothed folks.Cook it slowly over medium heat long enough ( ca. 2 hrs or more) until the oil seperates from the sauce and swims on top. Yes this is a heavy dish. I usually cook it in cooler month.

texasgal #3 July 24, 2009

This is a very easy dish to make and tastes just like what you order at the restaurant. If you are unable to find pomegranate syrup, you can use pomegranate molasses (same thing), but make sure it does not say "sour" or you will have to add a lot of sugar.

FoodLover! November 11, 2005

One of the best persian traditional foods. Garlic, nutmeg, cinammon, or cardamom, and black pepper are not essential, you can cook it without them too. If you don't like it sour you may not add lime juice or add more sugar to taste or even dried plums as they are sweet in the U.S. Make sure to let it cook on very low heat for some time (2-4 hours) for the walnut's oil to separate.

benahayat December 04, 2004