Today, I want to talk to you about one of the most renowed dishes in Mexican cuisine- mole sauce. Mole is the go-to dish for birthday dinners, family celebrations, weddings, quinceanera parties, Independence Day festivities and any other social gathering that calls for fine eating. If you want to cook up something extra special, mole is the way to go!
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What is mole sauce?
The name “mole” comes from the Aztec word “moli”, which also means “sauce”. There are countless mole recipes all over Mexico because almost every region has developed its own variation. Some are famous, like the classic mole from Puebla or the black mole from Oaxaca. However, they are all basically the same sauce- a dozen chili varieties, finely ground and mixed with seeds, spices, and herbs, and made into a thick paste. This paste is then used to make the mole sauce itself.
Most surprising of all is that one of the main ingredients of mole is chocolate. That’s right! Chocolate is added to the chili/spices/herbs mix and that’s what gives mole its characteristic flavor. The weirdest part is that mole sauce is not sweet at all but rather spicy. It’s poured on top of meat, chicken or pork, and it has a deep, thick, rich, spicy, slightly sweet flavor that makes it one of the masterpieces of Mexican cuisine. You really have to try it at least once in your life!
How can I make mole sauce?
Unfortunately, the problem with mole is that it is ridiculously complex to prepare. It involves more two dozen ingredients and an extremely tiresome process that includes roasting and grounding ingredients by hand and an insane amount of mixing. Nowadays, there are not many people out there who can actually make mole from scratch. The good news is that you can just go to the nearest store, buy a box or jar of mole sauce and you’re good to go!
That might sound like a disappointment because surely store-bought mole can’t possibly taste as good as real, authentic mole, right? While I agree that no brand of any store-bought mole will ever be as good as the traditional version, it does come pretty close if you know how to cook it. Besides, let’s be practical. Who can actually take the time to cook something that involves dozens of ingredients and a hundred steps to make? Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Can I have some mole sauce?
Of course! Since I am a real Mexican housewife, I can’t let you go without offering you a rich, hearty mole dish. I’ll just take out a box of mole sauce and show you all how we do things around here.
Let’s cook some mole!
The first thing is to get some broth and shredded chicken leftovers from the fridge. These will taste great with the mole!
Next, I’ll blend some tomatoes with a couple of onion chunks, garlic cloves, and a bit of the broth. I’ll throw this mixture into a hot saucepan with a little oil and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Then, I´ll open up the box of mole sauce and add it to the tomato-broth mixture. Stir it gently and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Let’s taste the sauce and decide how we want it- spicier or sweeter. If you want it sweeter, we’ll gradually mix in teaspoons of cocoa powder until we reach the desired taste. If you want it spicier, then we’ll have to blend two chilies, a piece of onion and a little water. We’ll pour the mixture into a hot pan with a teaspoon of oil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Gradually, we’ll mix this into the mole sauce until we get it to taste as spicy as you like.
Personally, I like to add cocoa powder.
How to make enmoladas
Now that we have a wonderful mole sauce, let´s make some enmoladas!
Grab a tortilla and put it in a hot pan with oil. Just let it absorb a little oil, it’s not supposed to get crisp. Turn it over and brown it on the other side. Put it on a plate and brown another tortilla. Keep doing that until you have four of them.
Too many carbs and fat for you? Sorry, we’re not worrying about calories right now. This is mole we’re talking about!
Remember the leftover shredded chicken? Put some of that in each of the tortillas and fold them in half. Finally, just pour some of that delicious, thick mole sauce on top of the tortillas and you’ve got yourself some enmoladas!
Another way to go is to drown the browned tortillas completely in the mole sauce before filling them with chicken. That tastes even better, but it can get messy!
Can I have mole for dinner?
Sure! In Mexico, you can have enmoladas for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can serve them with some black beans, red rice, and cactus salad on the side. Yummy! Meat drowned in mole is also used as filling for tamales or empanadas (salty pastries). It’s a really versatile dish!
Finally, a word of caution. Mole stains are notoriously difficult to remove, so be careful when you’re eating it or you might get a permanent reminder of your dinner on your crisp, white shirt. Say adios to your favorite button-down!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a plateful of enmoladas patiently waiting for me to eat them. As we say in Mexico, buen provecho!
I highly recommend this brand of mole. It’s so good, you don’t have to add anything to it. Just mix it with some broth and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Delicioso!