January 19, 2009

Fesenjoon - Pomegranate Walnut Stew with Tiny Meatballs

  Fesenjoon with Meatballs

This sweet and sour stew is usually made with boneless chicken. This time I made it with mini meatballs. In my opinion, فسنجون با کوفته قلقلی fesenjoon/fesenjan with mini meatballs is as equally delicious as the chicken fesenjoon. It is the flavorful, slow-simmered sweet and sour pomegranate walnut sauce that makes this stew so amazingly delicious.

Fesenjoon/Fesenjan - Pomegranate Walnut Stew with Tiny Meatballs

Serves 4-6

1 pound ground meat (beef or lamb)
1 1/2 cups walnuts, finely ground
1 large onion, minced
1 cup pomegranate molasses, plus more if needed
1/4 cup sugar, plus more if needed
1 large apple finely chopped, or 1/2 cup of butternut squash, peeled and cubed *optional
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon saffron dissolved in 2-3 tablespoons hot water
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a heavy skillet, heat walnuts over medium heat for about a minute or two. Stirring frequently. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, turmeric, salt and pepper. Shape into small meatballs and set aside.
  3. In a large pot, saute onions until golden brown in 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add meatballs and fry until brown on all sides. 
  4. Add the ground walnuts, cubed butternut squash and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat dd pomegranate molasses, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Stirring occasionally. 
  5. Add sugar, saffron and a little more water if needed. Cover with the lid slightly ajar and cook for another 30 minutes on low heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If you prefer a sweet fesenjoon add more sugar to make it sweeter, if you like it more sour add more of the pomegranate sauce to the stew. However, the taste should be a wonderfully well balanced mix between sweet and sour. 
Serve warm with rice.

Here's the link for my other Fesenjoon recipe.



  1. Great Blog and recipes Azita, I think I'm gonna use them all!

  2. Thanks for this post Azita. I was attempting to make albaloo polo and wanted to make them with mini meatballs as opposed to chicken. Adopted your small meatball recipe from here and it turned out great!

    For some reason I couldn't find a recipe for these mini balls (which find their way in many dishes, no?) in Rosa Montazemi's cookbook.

  3. Mojgan, thank you so much and I'm glad I could help.

  4. Is pomegrante sauce the same thing as pomegrante molasses? If so, do you have a favorite brand?

    1. I like the Sadaf pomegranate tart molasses. I also like the Cortas brand of pomegranate molasses but it's a little on the sweet side.

  5. Azita, I have a question. I can't find pomegranate molasses but can find pomegranate juice. Would it be okay to substitute pomegranate juice for this recipe?

    1. Mahdis jan, you do need the syrup for this recipe. You can make your own pomegranate molasses with pomegranate juice, sugar and lime juice!

  6. Amazing recipe, thank you. Just like my mother-in-law's :)

  7. Hello! for the quantity of walnuts, is it one cup and a half 'already grounded'? or one cup and a half of whole walnuts (before grinding)?

    1. Hi Charlotte, it's one cup and a half of whole walnuts.