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This recipe is classed as intermediate

Rating 3.45 / 5 (38 votes)

Prep time:
10 min
Cook time:
1 hr 15 min

Persian chicken stew, also known as Fesenjan, is an indulgent dish often served at parties and gatherings


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.


  • 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 don’t be tempted to add sugar immediately, as the cooking process sweetens the sauce gradually.

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