Fessen-Joon… Food for your ‘darling’

One of my very lovely friends is of Persian descent and has always seemed to me to be a little exotic –  her look and accent hints as at life of bustling spice-scented streets with turbaned men hawking their polished wares… The reality though is that the ‘Persian’ is very Australian. It’s quite interesting as some would argue that as an Eurasian who grew up outside of Australia I might be viewed in a similar manner – yet I envy the Persians’ little touch of something different. Do you reader yearn to be a little bit different?

One of the things that lends support to her exoticness is the fragrant food she sometimes brings into work from her mum’s kitchen. One such dish is a walnut stew called ‘Fessen-Joon’ which is something you make for those you care for (‘Joon’ = sweetheart/ darling). Although it doesn’t look entirely appetising, this dish is delicious. The first bite is an interesting experience as the ‘stew’ is slightly grainy in texture, but with every bite the flavours tantalise and seduce the tastebuds. I would even go so far as to say that this is on the list of my favourite things to eat… I am now slightly obsessed with pomegranate molasses – so look out for this in future posts.

This is the Persian’s family recipe (written down for me by her 10 year old niece) – definitely something to share with your loved ones:

Fessen-Joon (chicken and walnut stew)

400g Walnuts
1 tbsp oil
1 brown onion, chopped
1 tbs tomato paste
3 cups water
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
4 chicken thigh fillets, skin removed
6 tbs sugar (this may vary according to taste)

1. Blitz oil and walnuts in a  food processor until it is soft and ‘mooshi’.

2. In a large pot, brown onions until golden on high heat. Add the (pureed) walnut mix, tomato paste, water and pomegranate molasses to the pot.  Stir. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add chicken. After 15 minutes, lower heat to a simmer and continue to cook until the chicken meat falls apart. Stir through sugar. Add salt to taste.

4. Serve with extra long grain basmati.

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