A fortnight ago, I had shared a recipe for the Iranian dish Tabrizi Koofteh.

And now the Irani New Year is around the corner. Celebrated as per the Irani Kadmi calendar, this year it falls on 18th July. So I thought it only appropriate to share another recipe from Iran this week.

Iranian food is different from Parsi food although there are lots of similarities. Since the Parsis came from ancient Iran and settled in India a long time ago, their cuisine has evolved over time and picked up influences from India as well as her former coloniser, Britain. Iranian food, on the other hand continues to have simpler, cleaner flavors.

This dish, known locally as Khoresh e Fesenjan (Khoresh means stew) is a simple chicken gravy cooked with walnut paste and pomegranate molasses. Pomegranate Molasses may sound wildly exotic but in fact is a simple concentrate derived after boiling fresh pomegranate juice for hours. The resultant liquid is the color of dark amber with a piquant balance of sweet and sour. You can make this at home easily. If your concentrate turns out more sweet than sour, you can add a little tamarind paste to achieve the balance you prefer.


Chicken Fesenjan

Serves 4


Chicken on the bone– 1 kg  (use thighs or legs)

Oil- ¼ cup

Ginger -garlic paste – 1 tbsp

Onion – 2 numbers, ground to paste

Turmeric Powder- ½ tsp

Red Chilli Powder – ½ tsp

Cumin Powder – 1 tsp

Dried or Fresh Thyme- 1 tbsp

Walnuts – 150 gms, turned into a paste with water

Pomegranate Molasses/Concentrate – 4 tbsp (adjust according to sourness)

Salt – 2 tsp

Sugar – 1 tsp

Fresh Pomegranate and mint – for garnish


Marinate the chicken with ginger-garlic paste, turmeric and salt for some time.

Heat oil in a pan and sauté the onion paste first, till the oil separates. Next, add the red chilli and cumin powders and sauté further.

Release your chicken into the pan and keep cooking on high heat. Once the chicken is par-cooked, add the thyme and walnut paste. Cover and cook. The walnut paste will release oil and your gravy will look rich by now. Finally, add the pomegranate molasses. Check for seasoning and cook till the gravy is thick.

Garnish with fresh pomegranate and mint and serve with pulao or rotis.


Picture Courtesy : Subhasree Basu


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