Fesenjoon (Persian Chicken or Aubergine and Walnut Stew)

This dish was would have traditionally been made with duck (which I think would be too rich), and is now usually made with chicken. I have also made a vegan version with aubergines and I have to say I think it was my favourite.

This is quite a rich dish and the use of pomegranate molasses (available from most big supermarkets or Asian grocers) gives the stew a tangy sweet and sour flavour.

I call this a weekend recipe, meaning its something that requires low and slow cooking and you aren’t going to try and do for a quick weeknight dinner.

Serves 4


8 Chicken thighs (bone in, but skin removed), or 2 large aubergines (cut into bite sized chunks)

1 Tbsp. Tomato Puree

250 Grams Walnut pieces

1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

2 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Black pepper

125 Mil Pomegranate molasses

1 Tsp Sugar (or more to taste)

Pomegranate seeds to decorate (optional)


  • Add the walnuts to a food processor and whiz until they become fine crumbs and start to stick together in a paste
  • Move the walnuts to a large pot with a lid, and add 1 litre of cold water to the walnuts. Bring to the boil for a couple of minutes, and then reduce the heat and cover with a lid simmer for 2 hours.
  • Stir in the pomegranate molasses, tomato purée, cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper until well combined. Return the mixture to a simmer
  • Add the chicken thighs or aubergine chunks to the pot and cover with the lid again and simmer for a further hour. Remove the lid and simmer for another 10-15 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
  • Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds if using just before serving rice or flat breads

Persian Love Cake

This cake tastes and smells unbelievable!

Yasmin Khan’s (The Saffron Tales), recipe marries zesty lemon, the warmth of cardamom and gentle fragrance of rose water in a cake rich with ground almonds. You’ll need 2-3 lemons in total, and a word of warning about rose water, don’t be tempted to add more than stated in the recipe.

While there are a couple of steps to this cake its worth the effort, I decorated this with chopped pistachios and dried rose petals (you find these and rose water in most bigger Asian grocers (or you could use fresh petals if you’re lucky enough to have them in your garden). I don’t have an especially delicate touch when decorating cakes and my piping skills are questionable, so this is a good way to make your cake look beautiful with very little effort.

Legend has it that women in Persia would bake this cake to try and win the heart of men who caught their eye. So if you’re currently trying to get someone’s attention, it might be worth a try (and let me know if it works).

Serves 8

For the Cake

200 Grams Butter

150 Grams Caster sugar

4 Eggs

1 level tsp of Ground cardamom

100 Grams Plain flour

275 Grams Ground almonds

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp Baking powder

1 Tbsp Rose Water

For the Drizzle

2 Tbsp Caster Sugar

1/2 Tsp rose water

Juice of 1 lemon

For the icing

150 Grams Icing Sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

Top with chopped pistachios and dried rose petals (optional, but it will make your cake look really pretty)

  • Preheat your oven to 160 degrees (Celsius). Line a 9 inch cake tin with baking parchment (ideally one with a removable base)
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream your butter and sugar together thoroughly and then beat in the eggs one at a time, (using a stand mixer if you have one is a quick way to save yourself a lot of work)
  • Gradually add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined. Transfer to your lined cake tin and bake for 45 minutes, (test the centre of the cake with a tooth pick, it should come out clean, but if it doesn’t then bake for another 5-10 minutes and test again). Cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, before transferring to a wire wrack to cool
  • In a small saucepan heat the ingredients for the drizzle, until the sugar has melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool
  • When the cake has cooled poke random holes in the cake with a toothpick, sprinkle over the cooled drizzle as evenly as possible, I allowed the cake to sit for about an hour to allow the cake to absorb the drizzle and it’s yummy flavours)
  • To make the icing just add lemon juice to the icing sugar and mix well to ensure there are no lumps before spreading it evenly across the cake
  • Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and rose petals
  • This cake will live for 3-4 days in an airtight tin, but will probably not survive that long