Recipe of the week: Khoresh Fesenjan – Persian Pumpkin Chickpea Curry

This is my vegan take on an Iranian classic, says Atul Kochhar, a rich dish flavored with walnuts and pomegranate with a hint of cinnamon.

You can use vegetable broth if you like, but I wanted to keep the flavors of the other ingredients completely pure, so I included water.

  • ½ large pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-sized cubes, approx. 400 g preparation weight
  • sunflower oil
  • Cinammon
  • 75 g walnut halves
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 7 cm piece of cinnamon bark
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 x 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 100 ml pomegranate juice
  • 75 g pomegranate syrup
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg to taste or a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 unwaxed orange, grated
  • approx. 500 ml water as required
  • maple syrup, optional
  • 80 g pomegranate seeds
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley or coriander for garnish
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C. Place the pumpkin cubes on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Drizzle with sunflower oil and lightly dust with ground cinnamon, then shake the tray to ensure all cubes are well coated. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until the squash is tender and the tip of a knife goes through easily.
  • Meanwhile, heat a frying pan, ideally non-stick, over medium-high heat. Add the walnuts and toast, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Allow to cool, then place in a food processor and puree until smooth. Put aside.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons sunflower oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions soften. Add the cinnamon bark and continue to stir-fry until the onions are light brown. Stir in the cumin, turmeric, and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and stir for 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas, pomegranate juice, pomegranate syrup, salt, pepper and a good grating of nutmeg. Increase heat and bring to a boil while stirring.
  • Add the diced pumpkin and ground walnuts and bring the mixture back to the boil, stirring until the stew thickens. Add the orange zest and stir in just enough water to get desired thickness. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary, and if you think it’s too acidic, add maple syrup to taste. Stir in the pomegranate seeds and garnish with parsley before serving.

curries every day

Taken by curries every day by Atul Kochhar, published by Bloomsbury Absolute for £26. To buy from The Week Bookshop for £20.99 call 020-3176 3835 or visit us Recipe of the week: Khoresh Fesenjan – Persian Pumpkin Chickpea Curry

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