Persian Walnut & Pomegranate Stew (Fensenjan)

Serves 4

| Prep Time: 20 mins

| Cook Time: 1 hour 20 min

| Total Time: 1 hour 40 mins

You may need: Dried Garlic Powder

Discover The Recipe

Long-time Piquant Post subscribers know that we love to send recipes that transform ordinary ingredients into something special. This Persian Walnut & Pomegranate Stew recipe (Fensenjan or Fesenjoon in Farsi) fits the bill, is easy to make, and transforms your weeknight chicken dish into an exotic spread that will make everyone happy. Beyond our spices, the only exotic ingredient is Pomegranate Molasses, which many major supermarkets now carry. Or, save the search and order this ingredient online with ease. 

Pomegranate molasses adds a lovely sweet-tart flavor to any dish, and it's typically used in Fesenjan dish in Iran. You can also make a decent substitute at home using Balsamic Vinegar and honey (see Alternatives section below for a couple substitute options). Roasted walnuts add a complex nutty base while the pomegranate adds the tangy notes that make this dish sing. 

Persian Advieh is an all-purpose Persian seasoning used in myriad of dishes to add layers of Middle Eastern flavor without effort. Advieh recipes vary from region to region and even family to family, but what makes Advieh special are the seductive notes of dried, ground rose petals. Try using Advieh in your favorite stews, beans, or meat dishes. Also try our other recipe ideas such as Persian Herb Frittata or vegan Persian Jeweled Rice.


  • 2 cups raw walnuts

  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil

  • 1.5 lbs chicken (thighs or drumsticks)

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, diced

  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional)

  • 2 Tbsp Piquant Post Persian Advieh

  • 1/3 orange peel (about 3-4 thin peels, using a vegetable peeler)

  • 2.5 cups chicken broth 

  • ¼ cup pomegranate molasses

  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup

  • 1.5 tsp sea salt

  • 1 can garbanzo beans (15oz), drained

  • Fresh parsley and pomegranate seeds for garnish


To get the best sear on chicken, make sure the oil is hot when the meat hits the pan. To check if the pan is hot enough, flick a few drops of water onto the pan. If they sizzle, the pan is ready. Add the meat slowly and lay flat, so as much of the surface area of the chicken is touching the bottom of the pan. Don’t touch the meat until you flip it.

Pomegranate molasses is rich and has a sweet and sour flavor. It can be tough to find in traditional markets, but you can find this at Whole Foods, Middle Eastern grocery stores, or gourmet stores. Look for it in the baking aisle, or near Middle Eastern ingredients. Or, plan ahead and buy online (Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc)!


First, roast the walnuts: lay the walnuts on a flat roasting pan. Roast at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Once cooled, place in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Make the Stew: In a dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pan, heat 2 Tbsp oil over Med-High heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken. Sear 3-4 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.

Reduce heat to Med. Add onions and garlic to the pan (add 1 tsp more oil if desired) and cook for 5 minutes. Add turmeric, Persian Advieh spice, orange peels, and stir fry for 1-2 more minutes, until fragrant. Add broth, pomegranate molasses, maple syrup, salt, ground walnuts, and chicken. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to Med-Low, and then simmer for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, stir in garbanzo beans. Simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes. Serve with basmati rice or pita bread, and garnish with fresh parsley and pomegranate arils (seeds).

Alternatives & Substitutions

  • Substitute chicken thighs with beef, lamb or pork, but make sure it’s a fatty cut, as it will simmer for 45 minutes.

  • Use 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar + 1 Tbsp honey as a substitute for the pomegranate molasses in this recipe. 

  • Or, if you can find pomegranate juice, make your own. Add  1 cup pomegranate juice, ¼ cup sugar, and 1 tbsp lemon juice to sauce pan and simmer on Med-Low until thickened enough to coat a spoon (~30 mins). Watch carefully not to overcook.

  • To make this vegan/vegetarian, use 2 cans of garbanzo beans, and substitute the chicken with extra firm tofu (cubed). Add the tofu at the same time as the garbanzo beans. (simmer the stew for 45 minutes)

  • Try using Persian Advieh in our Persian Herb Frittata or in our lovely (vegan!) Persian Jeweled Rice recipe. Or, use it as as a meat rub or in stews and soups.

  • For other recipe ideas to use Persian Advieh, try Advieh Chicken Kebabs, Advieh-Spiced Meatballs, or Lubia Polo (Persian Green Bean Rice).

  • Be sure to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.

  • Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!

Liked This Recipe? Share It Now!