Recipe: Pomegranate Khoresht-e Fesenjan

Since ancient times, Persians prepared Fesenjan, also known as khoresht-e fesenjan, for special occasions in Iran.
This dish is traditionally made with duck but can be prepared with chicken smothered in pomegranate walnut sauce.
According to A Taste of Persia:  an Introduction to Persian Cooking, “Fourth-century Persian manuals describe the domestication of the male duck, fed on hemp seeds and the butter of olives.  The finest meal possible was one of these ducks served in a pomegranate sauce.”  For their version of this recipe, visit:  E CookBooks.  Also, you can find some tips for this dish from the author Najmieh Batmanglij at Epicurious
We referenced a few recipes and created a blended version with chicken (see below).  It was delicious and we loved the Pomegranate Walnut Sauce.
Pomegranate Khoresht-e Fesenjan
Servings:  6


  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil OR butter
  • 2 small red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken pieces
  • 1/2 cup of pomegranate paste diluted in 2 1/2 cups of water or 4 cups of fresh pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 pound of walnuts (shelled, toasted)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 4 large carrots or 1 lb of butternut squash (seeded), peeled and cut into thin strips or cubes
  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron threads dissolved in 1 tablespoon of hot water OR 1/4 teaspoon saffron powder
  • salt to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat.  Sautee onions for about 5 mins. until translucent, starting to brown. Add chicken pieces, and fry for about 15 mins. until lightly golden brown.  Add the carrots or squash and sautee for about 2 more mins.
  2. After toasting the walnuts, finely grind them in a food processor.  Add the following ingredients into the pot or skillet with the simmering chicken mixture:  ground walnuts, sugar, diluted pomegranate paste or juice.  Mix well to create a creamy sauce with balanced taste of sweet and sour.  Season with cardamom, cinnamon, saffron powder or saffron water, and salt.
  3. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes over very low heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon.
  4. Serve Khoresht Fesenjan while hot and present it on top of a bed of saffron steamed rice.
  5. Garnish with 1/2 cup of fresh pomegranate seeds and/or 1/4 cup of toasted walnuts (optional)