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Jun 5, 2007 12:31 PM

Pomegranate Molasses - Really Delicious!

This can be purchased in most Eastern markets, and various Asian markets as well. The particular brand I bought is Indo-European. It is so good!

I first heard about it when Evan Kleinman on her "Good Food" Saturday morning radio show said that she could drink it straight from the bottle! She then proceeded to mention it for marinating salmon for about 30 minutes and then grilling or baking. I did it, and it does, indeed, offer a gorgeous color, flavor and glaze.

I know there are many other uses for it. Has anyone else tried it, and how do you enjoy it?

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  1. It's used mainly to make the Persian dish fesenjan. I've never had it any other way.

    Fesenjan is made with chicken, walnuts, pomegranate paste, and other ingredients. It is served over basmanti rice.

    Here's a recipe. I've never made it before, but this seems like a basic one to try:

    22 Replies
    1. re: katkoupai

      katkoupai -- It is interesting to me that you mention pomegranate PASTE. What I purchased was the molasses, but I also saw pomegranate paste on the shelf and was very tempted to buy it also. How much difference is there between the paste and the molasses? Are they for different uses? Would I notice a flavor difference or just a texture difference?

      1. re: liu

        Good question. I assumed they were the same thing. The molasses might be something like a syrupy jam, used to eat with Persian bread, feta cheese and walnuts for breakfast. I will have to take a look at it, to know for sure. I know the pomegranate paste is used for cooking. The next time I go to a Persian market, I will look for both items and try to figure it out.

        1. re: katkoupai

          Oooh -- with feta cheese...sounds good!

          1. re: liu

            Hi, liu,
            I did some research online to see what this pomegranate molasses looked like. I did find some recipes for fesenjan (the dish I mentioned above) that use pomegranate molasses in the place of pomegranate paste. They may, in fact, be virtually the same thing, albeit with different names. I'll double check on that, when I have an opportunity to do so.

            Apparently, pomegranate molasses is simply pomegranate juice boiled down to a syrup with sugar and lemon juice. This makes me think that it could be used to make sharbat, which is basically a Perisan drink where you add flavored syrup to water. It's similar to an Italian soda, except you use regular water instead of carbonated water. It might end up being a very refreshing drink. I have tried different varieties of this drink. My favorite sharbat uses sour cherry syrup. The pomegranate molasses needs to be really sweet for this to work, though. You could also just add extra sugar to your drink.

            Extrapolating from this, I bet you could use it to make a great pomegranate martini. I see those everywhere these days. I also just found a recipe for a pomegranate margarita, where you mix the pomegranate molasses with tequila, etc. :)

            1. re: katkoupai

              When tipping the bottles of molasses vs. paste in the store, the paste did not seem to move, while the molasses moved like...well, molasses! But I do not know if there is a taste or use difference.

              1. re: liu

                Okay, this is what I was wondering-- if there was a difference in consistency. Now, I'd love to know if the molasses is sweeter. I'm going to have to ask my mother or aunt if they can shed light on the difference between the two for me, in terms of use and taste.

                1. re: katkoupai

                  Thanks for all of your research, katkoupai! Let me know if I should buy both or if the molasses is the better choice of the two.

                  1. re: liu

                    NO, NO, NO, NO ... Pomegranite paste and pomegranite molasses are TWO totally ... TOTALLY different things. I bought both. The only thing paste is good for is fesenjan.

                    Here's my experiment with it ... NO pomegranite paste ... ick

                    I wrote ..

                    After a couple of weeks of using pomegranite paste rather than molasses, I would have to agree that the best use is in stews.

                    It is not interchangable with pomegranite molasses which is sweeter and thicker. So it wasn't as delicious in my yogurt. Also it is a lot browner and not as attractive ... although pomegranite molasses isn't that brightly colored either.

                    I tried adding it to beef type soups ... ick. I can finish off pomegranite molasses pretty quickly. Those weeks with the pomegranite paste were long weeks ... long, long weeks.

              2. re: katkoupai

                The thing with pomegranite molasses in drinks is that while it tastes fine, it is unattractive. You would think it would be pretty ... nope ... dull brown.

                My favorite use is mixed into plain yogurt or added to oatmeal in the morning. I love it too and could drink it straight, almost. It is also good for marinating sliced strawberries or drizzled over a fresh fruit cup. Really good with orange segments.

                Here were some past good threads on using pomegranite molasses.

                Pomegranate Molasses - anyone know what to do with this stuff

                Pomegranate Molasses + yogurt = DELICIOUS

                Pomegranate Molasses?

                One of my favorite tips was ... Cheese, especially blue. Grill some bread and smear some Torta Gorgonzola on top and drizzle some pom molasses on.

                1. re: rworange

                  I understand your point, rworange. The only thing my family has used pomegranate paste for is fesenjan. I assumed the two were the same because there are a variety of Persian recipes that I have found that say that one can be used for the other in fesenjan, specifically.

                  That said, I have also found numerous recipes that have listed pomegranate molasses as something that can be used in mixed drinks. In your experience, it makes one ugly drink. Pomegranate juice might be better suited for mixed drinks, in that case.

                  I will say, in general, that neither the molasses nor the paste is a product that I see used very often in other Persian dishes. I imagine that they may also be used in other cuisines of the Middle East. Thanks for the links. :)

                  1. re: rworange

                    rworange -- You always amaze me with your experiments! Side-by-side: this is really good information! Thanks, and you just saved me a couple of dollars because I will not be running out this afternoon for pom paste!

                    The only thing I might change -- with your approval, of course -- is the Torta Gorgonzola to Humboldt Fog (which has begun to liquify in my fridge! and I can't wait to get into it!). Other than that, thanks again for all your very scientific input!

                    1. re: rworange

                      It's unattractive because it's old and oxidized, fresh molasses has a dark reddish color, the oxidation is similar to what happens with red wines. If the cork has failed the wine will take on a brownish hue and taste more like Madeira than wine

                    2. re: katkoupai

                      I went to Valley Produce in Reseda today. They have about 20 different brands of "robeh anar." I read the bottles and the ingredients with my aunts. Even though in English, some are called "molasses" and others are called "paste," the Persian names on the various brands' bottles are *exactly the same.* Hence, I believe that my first assumption was correct-- different English translations/names for the same product. The taste and consistency may differ depending on the brand. :)

                      I read the ingredients as well, and it seemed the only ingredient in each was "concentrated pomegranate."

                      1. re: katkoupai

                        Interesting. Then Sadaf makes a horrid version. What brand do you normally use. I think though for safety sake, I'll still with products that are labelled molasses rather than paste. I've bought various brands and they were similar when labelled 'molasses'. I might suspect I had a bad bottle, but the store I bought it from had just opened and it had just been stocked on the shelf.

                        Thanks for looking into it.

                        1. re: rworange

                          See my post below on two brands. Both are runny like molasses, not an inert paste.

                          1. re: hungry_pangolin

                            Hmmm ... turns out that Sadaf sells two types of pomegranate paste ....

                            One is sour and from the online pictures I don't see the label being any different ... only a different bottle size. The bottle shape for the sour paste seems to be what I bought, IIRC. But if they turn out to be the same thing just different sizes, then I say again skip Sadaf.

                            This site that compared various brands said that Sadaf tasted more like grenadine and is made with American pomegranates rather than the Mid-Eastern pomegranate .

                            However, Golnaz also uses American pomegranate . I've had that and it tasted good.

                            1. re: rworange

                              Rworange, I trust your opinion, as you seem to have used this product more than I have. I discussed it with four family members today (all who cook Persian cuisine), and they all agreed that the main use is for fesenjan. One aunt said that she has seen it used as part of a stuffing for chicken, which includes "robeh anar," ground walnuts, fried onion, and some other ingredients. In addition, there is a Persian soup that it is used in.

                              I asked them about pomegranate jam and pomegranate "sharbat," and they said neither existed, to their knowledge. Pomegranate juice, as we all know, does exist. :)

                              As for the brand Sadaf, it is a hugely popular and well-regarded brand in the Persian community. I buy many of their products regularly, but like I said, I normally do not make fesenjan (my mom and my aunts do, though).

                              If you've found a brand that is sweeter and more to your liking, I say stick to it. I am actually curious now, and I want to experiment with non-traditional uses of the product, since so many people here like it and have used it in creative ways.

                              Some very well-known Persian brands in the US include the following:

                              I haven't heard of the brand Golnaz, but that is a Persian name which loosely translated means "little flower" or "cute flower." :)

                              1. re: katkoupai

                                I really appreciate your researching this because there was no good answer other than trying. Thanks to your family for their help.

                                Neat to know about Golnaz. Nice name. I like the Sadaf products I've tried. I didn't initially buy the Sadaf bottle because it didn't specifically say 'molasses' so I lucked out otherwise I never would have gotten hooked on the stuff.

                                That chicken stuffing sounds great. Plain yogurt, especially Greek mixed with the molasses and walnuts is wonderful.

                                1. re: rworange

                                  I will check out some of the suggestions that you mentioned, and you're welcome regarding the research. I was curious, too. I was actually also surprised that so many people on Chowhound have used this product. :-)

              3. re: katkoupai

                It is very good as a marinade and glaze for lamb.....

                1. re: katkoupai

                  Oh, I hope you will try it!!! It could well be the gateway dish into exploring Persian cuisine! Everyone I've ever served it to has raved about it. Some recipes suggest using duck rather than chicken, but it is extremely rich, too much even for my taste.

                  I've made it a couple different ways - with boneless chicken cubes, and with the entire chicken, skinned and cut up. The boneless version is for when you want to serve a meal to children or to company that you don't know that well, and the other is for when you are eating with good friends and family, as you will want to suck the meat and sauce off the bones! It's got a flavor not dissimilar to baklava, what with the walnuts and cinnamon. I would suggest browning the ground/very finely chopped walnuts first before adding to the rest, and when you've got all combined, cook the heck out of it. Persian dishes taste better when cooked for ages - cookbooks normally will not tell you that it takes so long for the best results, I guess because they do not want to discourage one! The amount of sugar you add will make a difference in the taste (I know, d'oh!) - but with this dish it makes a HUGE difference. Start off with less sugar and add additional if it doesn't suit you. Be sure to have enough salt in it to give it the right tang. I prefer it on the sour side, and use the recipe from In a Persian Kitchen (an excellent introduction to Persian cooking). I've always used the molasses rather than the paste - one bottle will last a long long time as you don't need more than a couple tablespoons at a crack.

                  1. re: katkoupai

                    Fesenjan is sooo good, any moral support I can provide for trying it is a given. I like the lamb-shank version.

                  2. It's great stuff! I add it to salad dressings, just whisk in a bit. Also if you brush it on meat under the broiler (just at the end of cooking) a makes a great tangy glaze. If you look at the spirits board there's a recipe for a cocktail using it (

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: lupaglupa

                      Yes, lupaglupa, still the best use I have found is in broiling or grilling. It was very nice on the salmon.

                      1. re: lupaglupa

                        My favorite way to use it is in salad dressing. And also in yogurt.

                        1. re: lupaglupa

                          Thanks for the salad dressing idea lupaglupa. Just tried it and it was great!

                        2. I had never used this until Arabesque was chosen as the April (?) cookbook of the month. Despite doing a horrible job cooking from that book, I've enjoyed multiple dishes with the pomegranate molasses. Tonight I tossed a bit with roasted broccoli and garlic before tossing that with whole wheat pasta, goat cheese, and toasted nuts. Very tasty!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: debbiel

                            That's what I was going to say - I love this stuff and the Arabesque cookbook really taught me a variety of ways to use it.

                            A couple of my favorites were:

                            Lebanese Eggplant Puree with PM

                            Baked Kibbeh with Onion, Pine Nut Topping and Pomegranate Molasses topping (the caramelized onions and PM was so good, I ate half of it before I even put it on the kibbeh).

                            Here's the main link - check out the various categories for some great ideas, reports on recipes, and pictures.

                            I also loved Paula Wolfert's Muhammara with with PM (with recipe link):

                            1. re: Rubee

                              Rubee, you've got it nailed. I first heard of Pomegranate molasses in Paula Wolfert's Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean and it shows up a lot in her appetizers with hummus, eggplant, etc. It has a wonderful sour taste to it. Every couple of years, a new ingredient (to me, anyway) comes along that is totally unique. For me that was pomegranate molasses and siracha sauce (in vietnamese cuisinse). It's not that easy to find unless you have a Lebanese grocery in the neighborhood. And it is good with cream cheese.

                              1. re: cinderz

                                Hi, cinderz. As you pointed out, the discovery -- every now and then -- of a new ingredient seems to change our cooking and tastes.

                                I have been seeing it more and more as I scout the shelves of Middle Eastern Markets. I have also seen it in many larger markets that carry Middle Eastern items. Sometimes, it is not with the honey or sugar, but in an area with the rose water and orange water.

                          2. Ok, I'll admit it. It works well on a gourmet snow cone! Also, it's great in muhummara--the mediterranean walnut and red pepper spread/dip.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Regan B

                              Yes, muhammara is delectable. I have also used pomegranate molasses in a stew of lamb shank, grated beets, a few spoonfuls of rice and a few spoonfuls of dry split peas, stir in the beet greens at the end. According to a Persian friend, this is a 'pure Persian' dish.

                              The pomegranate molasses would probably be good mixed with cream cheese as a spread. (Not a pure Persian dish)

                            2. Oh, YUM! All of you have offered some great, creative uses...thanks! And I must admit, the snow cone will now haunt me until I try it!