Persian chicken stew

Persian chicken stew, also known as Fesenjan, is an indulgent dish often served at parties and gatherings
By Neilufahr Alimohamadi
Persian chicken stew
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 250 g walnuts, ground to fine crumbs
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • small cup boiling water
  • 6 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 4 chicken, cut in to large chunks
  • 300 g basmati rice, rinsed 4 times to remove starch and left to soak in cold water for 30 mins
  • 1 pinches saffron strands
  • sugar, to taste
  • sumac, for sprinkling

Tips and Suggestions

The stew will initially be sharp and sour, but dont be tempted to add sugar immediately, as the cooking process sweetens the sauce gradually.


1. Add the oil to a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the onions and fry until soft and brown. Lower the heat, add the walnuts and cook for a further 10 minutes.

2. Place the onion and walnut mix in a large saucepan, then mix the tomato puree in a small cup of boiling water and stir. Add the pomegranate molasses and continue to heat over a low heat.

3. Flash fry the chicken in a hot pan for 3 minutes and add to the rest of the ingredients. Season with a pinch of salt and cook over a low heat for approximately 45 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, cook the rice in a large pan of boiling water, when soft add a little oil to a rice pan or large cooking pot, add the rice and sprinkle over the saffon, fry gently so that the rice at the bottom of the pan has a crisp texture and the colour from the saffron has transferred on to the rice.

5. By now the Fesenjan should be thick, rich and with a sweet and sour flavour. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar to taste. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a few drops of boiling water to thin it out.

6. Serve with the rice and finish with a sprinkling of sumac.

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