Vegan Fesenjan is a delicious version of the famous Persian dish Fesenjan. Made with walnuts and pomegranate, this recipe has a rich and unique flavor.
It’s been a few months of my food and book voyage and I am really enjoying it a lot. Though the journey has just started I am really amazed by the flavors hidden in different cuisines. I am sure you are also equally enjoying my journey and will continue accompanying me. Together we will explore the Global palate.
Today I have dug out a Persian Gem – Fesenjan for all my lovely readers. Before this, I had never tasted any Iranian dish and it’s a completely new cuisine for me. Honestly, when I first read the recipe, I was not very sure about it as no chili was added to it :). You know how much I love spicy food. The second reason was that I don’t like very heavy dishes and I felt that adding ground walnuts to the dish will make it very rich and heavy.
But since, I am on a food voyage with a mission to explore flavors; I didn’t want to discard any recipe without tasting it. Also, the dish was looking so tempting in all the photographs that I knew I need to give it a try.
Thankfully, I didn’t let my apprehensions rule my mind as this dish really impressed me. Though made with all the familiar flavors like walnuts, pomegranate, onions….., the final dish has very a unique and remarkable flavor which is completely new to me.
Traditionally this dish is made with duck or chicken but in my vegan version, I have replaced it with Soya chunks and potatoes. You can use other vegan or vegetarian substitutes of your choice like mushroom/ lentil/ chickpeas/ eggplant/ jack fruit or just potatoes. I don’t think Tofu will go well with the Persian flavors.
You can find soya chunks in any Indian store. Though a soy product, it tastes nothing like Tofu. If you are looking for a meat substitute this is a great option. You just need to soak them in hot water for around 10 minutes and then squeeze out the water and use in the recipe.
This recipe takes around two hours to get ready but don’t panic as you need to give only 10-15 minutes time to it rest is just simmering over a low flame. You will get the rich dark color of the dish only after patient cooking of roasted walnuts in pomegranate molasses.
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How to make Vegan Fesenjan?
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1:30 hours
Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Walnut kernels: 1 cup
- Pomegranate molasses: 4 tablespoons (Though easily available in most of the stores now, if you couldn’t find it, make it at home by taking around 2 cups of real pomegranate juice and cooking it over low flame till it reduces to ¼ in quantity)
- Onion: 1
- Potato: 1
- Soya chunks: ½ a cup
- Vegetable stock cube: 1
- Coconut sugar: 1 teaspoon (You can use any other sweeter of your choice)
- Salt: 1 teaspoon/ as per taste
- Black pepper powder: 1 teaspoon/ as per taste
- Cinnamon powder: ¼ teaspoon
- Turmeric powder: ½ a teaspoon
- Olive oil: 1 tablespoon
- Water: 500 ml/ as required to get the right consistency
- Pomegranate seeds: 1 tablespoon (for serving)
- Fresh parsley/ coriander leaves: ¼ a cup (for serving)
- Put the walnut kernels in a grinder and make a fine powder
- Roast the walnut powder over medium flame for around 4-5 minutes or until it becomes fragrant. Keep on stirring in between as it may burn very quickly.
- Add water to the roasted walnut powder and let it boil. Once the water starts boiling add in the vegetable stock cube, pomegranate molasses, coconut sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix it well and let it simmer on low flame for about an hour. Keep on checking and stirring in between to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom. Use a thick bottomed pan for making this dish.
- In the meanwhile soak soya granules in hot water for around 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, squeeze out the water and keep the granules aside.
- Roughly chop the onion and make medium sized pieces of potatoes.
- Take another pot and heat olive oil in it.
- Throw in the onions and cook for 6-7 minutes till they start turning brown.
- Add the potato cubes and turmeric cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring in between.
- Next, throw in the soya granules and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add around 1/2 a cup of water and let the soya granules get a bit soft.
- Add in the walnut stew which has been cooked for at least 1 hour, mix well and cover.
- Let everything simmer for another 30 minutes. Keep checking after 10-15 minutes to ensure that it’s not sticking to the bottom.
- Once done, take it out in a serving dish, garnish with chopped parsley/ coriander leaves, pomegranate seeds and serve with steamed basmati rice.