Persian Koresh Fesenjan
from my new book Heavenly Bites, the Best of Muslim Home Cooking
It’s a sweet sour meat dish I first remember was made for me by a friend’s mum who had come to the UK from Tehran to fast Ramadhan. I fell in love with this dish and many other Persian creations, the love affair still go on. A rich chicken stew with walnut and pomegranate syrup, this famous and memorable Persian dish is usually made for festive occasions like Eid.
This dish is not as difficult as some princesses makes it out to be and my recipe has the seal of approval from the Prince of Persia mashallah! What else can I say – Alhamdulilah!
Persian food is considered one of the top cuisines in the world the clever subtle use of spices combined with fresh rustic herbs like tarrogan , dill and raw onions may seem a little odd until you actually taste the combination of rustic and sophisticated.It is a cuisine I intend inshallah to learn more about, its a challenge because the ingredient can be quite specific.
I love Persian food and like all foods its best cooked at home
• 30ml/1/4 cup /2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
• 115-200grms/4-7 oz/1-2 cups finely ground walnuts(depending on your budget)
• 15ml/1/2 oz/1 tablespoon of tomato puree
• 240-480ml/1-2 cups/8-16 oz pomegranate paste or syrup( depending on budget and availability)
• 5ml/ ¼ oz/1 tea spoon cinnamon
• 5ml/ ¼ oz/ 1 teaspoon saffron strands
• 5ml/ ¼ oz/ 1 teaspoon cardoon powder
• 2.5ml/1/8 oz / ½ teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy deep sided frying pan over medium heat. Cook and quickly brown the chicken on all sides. Remove from pan, and set aside. You can use a whole chicken chopped up or thighs
2. Place the finely chopped onions in the pan and fry till they turn golden translucent, then add the cinnamon, cardamom, saffron and ground walnuts in the remaining oil in the skillet. Cook on medium heat for 5-10minutes to allow the oil to begin releasing from the walnuts.
3. Return the chicken to the pan with the onions and walnuts, and blend in the pomegranate syrup.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer on a very low heat for an hour so that the flavours infuse into the flesh, stirring occasionally would make this dish the day before and leave in the fridge and warm up so that the meat becomes really infused with eh flavours but I am a fesenjun junkie.
Serve with basmati rice, raw spring onions, fresh tarragon on the stems and whole radishes. The sweet flavours of Koresh fesenjunn are balanced by the fresh, sharp flavours of the onions, radish and raw herbs. Please go easy on the onions if you are going to the masjid. Although the following hadith mention garlic as oppose to onions, onions can be quite strong on the breath if they are eaten raw so a nice handful of fennel seeds eaten on the way to the masjid should o the trick to sweeten your breath and ease your tummy.
[Fennel helps eliminate the common cold and reduce the bouts of cough due to its expectorant nature (contains big quantity of alpha-pinen). The steam resulting from the boiling of the fennel leaves in water alleviates asthma and bronchitis. WARNING TO BE AVOIDED BT PREGANT WOMEN AS IT STIMULATES THE UTERUS.]