Fasanjoon (Walnut and Pomegranate Chicken)

 

Fasanjoon (Walnut and Pomegranate Chicken)

My brother-in-law is Iraqi, and his mother can cook up some amazing Iraqi dishes. I am always excited to try something new, particularly when it is a Middle Eastern recipe that I have never had before. His mom’s recipes are passed on to me the same way my mom explains recipes – a short list of main ingredients, and a few main instructions, but really you have to figure out the steps in-between on your own. While travelling to Dubai last weekend, I picked up a copy of Lamees Hamada’s The Iraqi Cookbook. At long last, the secrets to making the perfect Iraqi kubba and biryani were in print! Even more interesting, I found that a recent Iranian dish I made, khoresht fesenjan, was in the book. Hamada describes that the Iranian dish “reached the kitchens of Baghdad from the cities of Najaf and Karbala, where a number of Iranians visit the holy shrines…” The dish has even made its way into a traditional Iraqi children’s song where a man named Hassoun stole a cockerel and cooked fasanjoon.

I wanted to share my recipe with everyone, as this type of dish is what midEATS is all about – a dish that is not only delicious and healthy, but that has a beautiful, rich history behind it. I had scoured through a number of Iranian food blogs before settling on making my own version of fasanjoon (or fesenjoon) but my recipe seems to hit all the main ingredients. My family really enjoyed the fresh flavor, and my kids always like the tang of pomegranate in food. So if you are looking for something different, whip up some fasanjoon. It even makes you sound cool when you say “fasanjoonha!

Fasanjoon (Walnut and Pomegranate Chicken)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup onions, diced
½ cup pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp sugar
1 to 2 cups of water
Olive Oil

Marinade:

½ tsp salt
¾ tsp coriander, ground
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cardamom powder
Pinch black pepper

1.  Combine chicken with marinade ingredients. Set aside for at least 20 minutes, but you can leave it overnight.

2.  Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts on a baking sheet, and toast in oven for approximately 20 minutes. Once cool to the touch, place into a blender to finely grind the walnuts.

3.  Over medium-high heat, place 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. Saute the onions. Once translucent, add the chicken and lightly brown.

4.  Once the chicken is brown, add the ground walnuts, sugar, and pomegranate molasses. Mix well.

5.  Add 1 cup of water. Once the mixture comes to a rapid simmer, reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

6.  Check on the chicken every 10 minutes or so. As the water begins to evaporate and the sauce is reduced, add another cup of water. You want a nice stew consistency, but you do not want too much liquid nor do you want it too clumpy.

7.  Serve hot with a warm bowl of rice. If you do not serve immediately, make sure to add water when reheating the chicken.

 

5 Comments

  1. I love fesenjoon! This was my favorite dish at an Iranian restaurant in New York, love the sweet tangy gravy. So glad to see your recipe on this – though one question, where do you get pomegranate molasses in Dubai?

    • Hope you get a chance to try it! I bought mine from Carrefour in Abu Dhabi – mine was sold as “Grenadine Molasses” next to the drinks section. I have no idea why, but that is where I found it! In the US, the brand Cortas sells Pomegranate Molasses, as well as Orange Blossom and Rose Water. It can be found at any Middle Eastern grocery store. Enjoy!

  2. If one were to sub in whole cardamom pods instead of cardamom powder, how many would you use in this dish?

    By the way, your website is addictive. Why am I on here at 1:30 am??

    • ha! glad midEATS draws you in at odd hours of the night 🙂 I would just use one cardamom pod. Cardamom is strong, and you dont want the flavor to dominate. It plays a subtle role here. Just crack it open before you throw it in with the marinade. I would also try to fish it out before you add all the liquids, so that an unsuspecting guest doesnt bite into it….

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