fesenjan inspired duck recipe with walnuts and pomegranates
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With the start of spring and the Persian New Year, now is the perfect time to make Persian food at home. From tahdig to various Iranian stews, these are some of our favorite Persian recipes.

For Iranians, March 19 isn’t just another day. It’s the vernal equinox, which is a big event: the start of Nowruz, the festival of spring. This non-religious holiday is considered by many to be the start of the New Year, a time to set good intentions for the year to come.

If you don’t know much about Persian food, Nowruz is the perfect excuse to become more acquainted with everything about it: its flame-grilled meats, complex stews, and, of course, signature rice dishes, which use fragrant ingredients like sumac, rose petal, and pomegranate molasses for flavor. Nooshe jan!

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1. Fesenjan


Iran’s most famous stew is fesenjan (sometimes referred to as fesenjoon), which consists of meat—often duck or chicken—simmered in a pomegranate and walnut sauce. This sweet and sour flavor profile is one of the most recognizable in Persian cuisine. Get the Fesenjan Pomegranate Walnut Chicken Stew recipe.

2. Tahdig


Even if you’ve never eaten Persian food, if you’ve watched “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” on Netflix, you know tahdig is saffron-encrusted basmati rice that’s been cooked in a pot until a crisp crust develops. It’s a staple at the Persian dinner table, and well worth making at home, though it may take a few tries to master the technique. Get the Tahdig recipe.

3. Kuku (Herbed Baked Eggs)

kuku recipe (Persian baked eggs)

Chowhound

Sabzi, the Farsi word for fresh herbs, is big during Nowruz, as it represents new life. For that reason, kuku, a baked egg dish with green herbs, is popular fare during the holiday. Get our Kuku recipe.

4. Khoresht Bademjaan (Saffron-Scented Eggplant Stew)


On chilly days, serve this eggplant stew, better known in Iran as khoresht bademjaan, with strained yogurt and tahdig on the side. Get the Khoresht Bademjaan recipe.

5. Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian Lamb Stew)


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Ghormeh Sabzi is among the most essential Persian recipes. It is often considered to be the national dish of Iran and its rich, aromatic flavor is celebrated in Persian communities around the world. Consisting of flavorful herbs and lamb, ghormeh sabzi is a cornerstone of Persian cuisine. 🌟🌟🌟🌟 Ingredients Ingredients 1 cup dry kidney beans See the notes for using canned beans 4 bunches parsley 3 bunches cilantro 2 bunches chives 1 bunch fenugreek or 1 tbsp dry fenugreek leaves 1/3 cup vegetable oil + 3 tbsp vegetable oil 1 yellow onion diced 1.5 lb beef or lamb cubed 1 tsp turmeric 4-5 cups water 4-5 Persian dried limes Limoo amani, soaked in water for an hour Salt and pepper to taste 🌟🌟🌟🌟 Instructions Instructions Soak kidney beans in a bowl of water for 2-3 hours. Wash parsley, cilantro, chives and fenugreek. Pat dry and chop very finely. Heat a dry pan on low heat and saute the herbs for about 10 minutes until they dry out a bit. Add 1/3 cup vegetable oil and saute for 15 more minutes on low heat. Set aside. Heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent. Add cubed beef or lamb and turmeric, Saute until the color is light brown. Add 4-5 cups of water and bring to boil, then turn the heat to medium-low so it simmers lightly. Rinse kidney beans and add it to the stew. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Add sauteed herbs and cover. Cook for 1 – 1 1/2 hour on low heat. Poke Persian dried limes with a fork and add them to the stew. Season with salt and pepper and cook for another 15 minutes. Serve with Persian Steamed White Rice Link in profile https://www.unicornsinthekitchen.com/ghormeh-sabzi-persian-herb-stew

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Ghormeh sabzi, a lamb stew with beans, lime, and an abundance of fresh herbs, is often described as Iran’s national dish. Get the Ghormeh Sabzi recipe.

6. Roast Duck Breast with Quince, Pomegranate, and Walnut Sauce

fesenjan inspired duck recipe with walnuts and pomegranates

Chowhound

Unlike traditional fesenjan, this contemporary take on the dish calls for roasting duck and its sauce separately—but it’s also delicious made with chicken thighs. Get our Fesenjan Redux recipe.

7. Doogh


Yogurt drinks are widely popular in this corner of the world, and Iran is no exception. There, the thirsty cool down with doogh, a drink made with yogurt, water or club soda, and salt. Get the Doogh recipe.

8. Jeweled Rice


Jeweled rice—sometimes referred to as morasa polow—is a stunning Persian centerpiece that involves steaming rice with fragrant additions like barberries, currants, candied orange peel, saffron, almonds, and pistachios. Get the Jeweled Rice recipe.

9. Noon Berenji


Serve another Nowruz specialty, noon berenji, for dessert. The thumbprint cookies are scented with rosewater and saffron, and made with rice flour so they’re naturally gluten-free. Get the Noon Berenji recipe.

Related Video: How to Make Persian Butter Bean Stew


Susannah Chen is a San Francisco–based freelance writer. When she’s not cooking or writing, she’s on the hunt to find the world’s best chilaquiles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
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