Fesenjoon | Fesenjan - Walnut and Chicken Stew
Fesenjoon is a super popular dish in Iran made with walnuts and chicken. It's often made with pomegranate molasses that gives it a tart and sweet taste, but I'm introducing a version with lemon, sugar, and tomato paste. There are many ways to cook it - some using Iranian spices, some sweeter or more sour than others, and some made with different types of meat. Experiment and try different flavors!
Background: One of the most loved dishes in Iran!
- Chicken thigh meat (400 g)
- Walnuts (about 350 g)
- Onion (can leave out if you want) (1/2)
- Tomato paste (2 Tbsp)
- Salt & pepper (about 1 tsp each)
- Lemon juice (2-3 Tbsp (1-2 lemons))
- Brown sugar (2-3 Tbsp )
- Saffron (optional) (1 tsp soaked in 1/4 cup of boiled water)
- Cooked white rice (a serving for each person)
Get your ingredients ready! Juice the lemons and prepare the rice (you want it to be finished by at the same time as the fesenjoon, in about 90 minutes). Prepare the other ingredients as follows.
Finely grind the walnuts.
Mince the onion finely in a food processor or use a knife.
Remove the skin from the chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces.
If using saffron, pound it into smaller pieces with a mortar & pestle if available, then mix with about 1/4 cup boiled water. Cover with plastic wrap and let soak for at least 30 minutes (longer the better!)
Heat a little oil in a pan and saute onions until most of the moisture has evaporated (about 5-10 minutes).
Add the walnuts to the onions and turn the heat to low. Toast the walnuts for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly so they do not burn.
Add about 2 cups of cold water. The cold water helps bring out the delicious oils from the walnuts!
Bring to a simmer, then add the tomato paste. Mix well.
Add the chicken and stir.
Add a few ice cubes into the pan. Again this helps bring out the oils from the walnuts.
Cover the pan with the lid and simmer for about 30-45 minutes. You can insert a spatula under the lid into the center of the pan which helps prevent burning. Add a little cold water during cooking if it gets too low.
Add sugar and lemon juice. If you like a slightly sweeter taste, add more sugar. If you enjoy a tart/sour taste, add more lemon juice. You can adjust the flavor later!
If using saffron, stir in a few spoonfuls (about half) of the saffron water. Save the rest for the rice.
Continue cooking the fesenjoon on low for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the stew is pretty thick. Adjust salt, pepper, sugar and lemon to taste.
Right before you're ready to serve, make the saffron rice by adding 1/2-1 cup of rice to a bowl and mixing it with the rest of the saffron water.
Top the remaining white rice with the saffron rice. This creates a beautiful mixing of color!
Serve rice onto plates and top with plenty of fesenjoon.
Now you made it, don't forget to take a Cooksnap photo to upload below! Recipe authors always LOVE to hear from you and see how their recipe turned out in your kitchen.