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Pomegranate Molasses - Really Delicious!

liu Jun 5, 2007 12:31 PM

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. katkoupai RE: liu Jun 5, 2007 12:35 PM

    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:

    http://www.iranmania.com/travel/eatin...

    22 Replies
    1. re: katkoupai
      liu RE: katkoupai Jun 5, 2007 12:38 PM

      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
        katkoupai RE: liu Jun 5, 2007 12:52 PM

        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
          liu RE: katkoupai Jun 5, 2007 03:37 PM

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

          1. re: liu
            katkoupai RE: liu Jun 5, 2007 10:04 PM

            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
              liu RE: katkoupai Jun 5, 2007 11:05 PM

              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
                katkoupai RE: liu Jun 5, 2007 11:09 PM

                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
                  liu RE: katkoupai Jun 6, 2007 07:47 AM

                  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
                    rworange RE: liu Jun 7, 2007 09:22 PM

                    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
                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/309407

                    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
                rworange RE: katkoupai Jun 7, 2007 09:35 PM

                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
                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/359840

                Pomegranate Molasses + yogurt = DELICIOUS
                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/285276

                Pomegranate Molasses?
                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/297388

                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
                  katkoupai RE: rworange Jun 7, 2007 09:55 PM

                  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
                    liu RE: rworange Jun 8, 2007 04:29 PM

                    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
                      g
                      goodtime RE: rworange Dec 13, 2007 10:33 AM

                      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
                      katkoupai RE: katkoupai Jun 9, 2007 04:43 PM

                      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
                        rworange RE: katkoupai Jun 9, 2007 05:24 PM

                        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
                          h
                          hungry_pangolin RE: rworange Jun 9, 2007 05:28 PM

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

                          1. re: hungry_pangolin
                            rworange RE: hungry_pangolin Jun 9, 2007 05:40 PM

                            Hmmm ... turns out that Sadaf sells two types of pomegranate paste ....
                            http://sadaf.com/store/product355.html
                            http://sadaf.com/store/product518.html

                            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 .
                            http://www.indo-euro.com/pomegranate%...

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

                            1. re: rworange
                              katkoupai RE: rworange Jun 9, 2007 07:43 PM

                              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:
                              Golchin
                              Sadaf
                              Zarrin

                              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
                                rworange RE: katkoupai Jun 9, 2007 08:49 PM

                                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
                                  katkoupai RE: rworange Jun 9, 2007 10:46 PM

                                  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
                ChowFun_derek RE: katkoupai Jun 7, 2007 07:45 AM

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

                1. re: katkoupai
                  s
                  Seldomsated RE: katkoupai Jun 15, 2007 09:12 AM

                  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
                    c
                    Cinnamon RE: katkoupai Apr 15, 2009 10:14 PM

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

                  2. lupaglupa RE: liu Jun 5, 2007 12:56 PM

                    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 (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/406502)

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: lupaglupa
                      liu RE: lupaglupa Jun 5, 2007 03:37 PM

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

                      1. re: lupaglupa
                        m
                        mlgb RE: lupaglupa Jun 7, 2007 07:50 AM

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

                        1. re: lupaglupa
                          d
                          debbiel RE: lupaglupa Jun 7, 2007 07:22 PM

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

                        2. d
                          debbiel RE: liu Jun 5, 2007 04:33 PM

                          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
                            Rubee RE: debbiel Jun 5, 2007 04:44 PM

                            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
                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/38706...

                            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).
                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/38706...

                            Here's the main link - check out the various categories for some great ideas, reports on recipes, and pictures.
                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/387069

                            I also loved Paula Wolfert's Muhammara with with PM (with recipe link):
                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/37607...

                            1. re: Rubee
                              cinderz RE: Rubee Jun 13, 2007 03:42 AM

                              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
                                liu RE: cinderz Jun 13, 2007 07:39 AM

                                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. Regan B RE: liu Jun 5, 2007 04:38 PM

                            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
                              l
                              Louise RE: Regan B Jun 7, 2007 08:52 AM

                              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. liu RE: liu Jun 5, 2007 05:01 PM

                              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!

                              1. o
                                Old Spice RE: liu Jun 6, 2007 09:18 AM

                                Put a tablespoon or two in a glass. Add seltzer or sparkling water; stir. Then ice cubes. A delicious and refreshing "soda" on a hot day.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Old Spice
                                  liu RE: Old Spice Jun 6, 2007 01:32 PM

                                  Sounds good...and a mint leaf and slice of peach or pineapple...!

                                2. Alcachofa RE: liu Jun 7, 2007 06:59 AM

                                  I’ve had a Manhattan variant which incorporated pomegranate molasses to great effect: rye, cynar, pomegranate molasses and orange bitters. Garnished with an orange zest.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Alcachofa
                                    Rubee RE: Alcachofa Jun 7, 2007 10:01 AM

                                    that sounds great - where did you have it?

                                    1. re: Rubee
                                      Alcachofa RE: Rubee Jun 7, 2007 10:20 AM

                                      Frisson in San Francisco. It was designed by Duggan McDonald, who is now elsewhere in SF.

                                      1. re: Alcachofa
                                        Rubee RE: Alcachofa Jun 7, 2007 11:33 AM

                                        Oh you tease. I was hoping somewhere in Manhattan, or No 9 ; )

                                  2. l
                                    lora RE: liu Jun 7, 2007 12:28 PM

                                    I swapped pomegranate molasses for the lime juice in a daiquiri, and it was marvelous.

                                    1. Glencora RE: liu Jun 7, 2007 01:53 PM

                                      I make a pomegranate curry with shrimp. I like it much more than plain curry. (Indian, not Thai)

                                      1. h
                                        hungry_pangolin RE: liu Jun 9, 2007 05:24 PM

                                        Here in Toronto, I get pomegranate molasses on Parliament St, at Kabul Market, either Cedar or Cortas brand, both from Lebanon, and so far as I can tell, no difference in quality. I originally bought it for a shashlik marinade, but one hot day, I drizzled it on vanilla ice cream.... it was fantastic. Not a traditional Persian dessert, but... mmmmm.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: hungry_pangolin
                                          i
                                          iv2040 RE: hungry_pangolin Jun 15, 2007 08:50 AM

                                          hungry pangolin, I use pomegranate molasses on vanilla ice cream too. It reminds me of aged balsamic vinegar.

                                        2. t
                                          torty RE: liu Jun 9, 2007 08:06 PM

                                          This was my "secret ingredient" in my grilled tri-tip a few summers ago. I sliced the tri-tip (a somewhat marbled, good for grilling cut of beef) into 3/4 inch "steaks" and then scored them lightly. Lots of fresh garlic, pepper, the pomegranate molasses and some soy sauce as a marinade for a few hours. Really good.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: torty
                                            p
                                            p.j. RE: torty Jun 14, 2007 03:14 PM

                                            Torty,
                                            That sounds like a delicious marinade. I wonder if it would work well on a skirt steak?
                                            Any thoughts, hounds?
                                            p.j.

                                            1. re: p.j.
                                              liu RE: p.j. Jun 14, 2007 03:35 PM

                                              Hi, p.j.! Every marinade seems to work well on skirt steaks. I especially like the stickier ones, with honey or dark Karo or brown sugar or pomegranate molasses plus lemon juice or soy or tamari or orange juice.

                                          2. p
                                            pomegranates RE: liu Jan 22, 2008 12:02 PM

                                            The thing about the different types of pomegranate molasses / paste syrip is this:

                                            Pomagranate syrup is juice with added sugar (and water usually) - you mix it with water to make a drink, or you use it in cocktails. It is a Western thing, but is made in many countries. Grenadine is an example of one sort.

                                            Pomegranate molasses has no ingredients other than pomegranate juice. The thickness and flavour are goverened by the ripeness and type of the pomegranates used in the first place, and by how much water is evaoprated out of the juice, and how the evaporation is done.

                                            Pomegranate molasses from Iran is usually quite brown-dark in colour and thick, but not all that sticky. It is very tangy and acidic, but with some sweetness. This is what you want for your fajinsan recipes.

                                            Pomegranate molasses from Lebanon and the Eastern Mediterranean is usally redder, and stickier, but also slightly more syrupy. This is sweeter and is what you want for muhammara and dishes from that region. If you use this for Persian dishes, add extra lemon juice as it is not sour enough on its own.

                                            Persian is to Lebanese, as sun-dried tomato is to normal tomato.

                                            And don't bother trying to cook with other sorts of pomegranate "syrup" as it may end up being like putting orange squash in your food.

                                            They are different and are used differently.

                                            Hope that helps!

                                            1. g
                                              gordon wing RE: liu Jan 23, 2008 12:24 AM

                                              I like the Cortas brand of pomegranate molasses ..... tart and sweet but still with some balance. The LA Times picked Indo European brand as their favorite in a taste off.

                                              1. c
                                                casscalculator RE: liu Aug 7, 2008 01:57 PM

                                                I recently bought a bottle of Pomegranate Paste produced by Zarrin in a persian grocery store in NYC called Nader. When I got home, I was unhappy to learn that the expiration stated on the bottle is 9/2007. Does this stuff actually expire given how much sugar is in it, or is it still safe to use? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

                                                1. l
                                                  LadyintheKitchen RE: liu Apr 14, 2009 04:27 PM

                                                  Pomegranate is really making a comeback...I just saw a truck drive past advertising pomegranate liqueur and tequila.

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