Date: Tue, 09 Nov 93 09:01:18 EST
From: Christina Hulbe (email@example.com)
What follows is some of what I know about mole,
learned from a variety of sources. The framework for the Mole
Poblano recipe written below came from _Sunset Magazine_, March
1992. There are volumes more which can be written but I have
again run out of time. You'll probably get sick of reading too ;)
In any case, I hope you do experiment with mole, it is a long
process but oh, so worth the effort.
The word mole is derived from the word mulli, of the pre-
Columbian Nahuatl culture in Mexico and translates as "mixture".
While there are as many mixtures as there are mole makers, the
Mexican state of Oaxaca is famous for seven distinct combinations
sometimes called the Seven Sisters. Mole ingredients can be
divided into four basic groups (1) chiles, usually dried but
sometimes fresh (2) roasted vegetables, (3) thickeners, and
(4) seasonings. Each group is prepared individually and then
mixed together and simmered to unite the flavors. Authentic moles
include large amounts of turkey or duck fat and roasted nuts.
They have been omitted here to be in line with fatfree
cooking. Roasting many of the ingredients adds depth and
richness without the fat.
The "Mole Poblano" described below was created in Puebla, a city
southeast of Mexico City. It has an unusually detailed story,
although the timing varies from teller to teller. In the version
I learned, the inventor is a nun at Santa Rosa Convent. The
Mother Superior requested, on short notice, a new special dish
for visiting dignitaries. Because there was so little time, she
could use only those ingredients on hand. The Mole Poblano began
with ingredients from the standard four groups. What makes it
special the final divine inspiration, chocolate stirred in as a
finishing touch. Chocolate was a royal and expensive ingredient,
quite appropriate for a special occasion. While you can omit it,
the mole will not have the same sophisticated and mellow flavor.
(Anyway, the final grams of fat per serving is still very small,
if you use 2 oz of semi-sweet chocolate, there will be about
2 grams of fat per cup of sauce. You could use several Tbsp of
Dutched cocoa, dissolved in boiling water, to reduce the fat.)
The guests were so delighted with the meal that they had the kitchen
redecorated with beautiful new tiles. This was a new and rare
luxury in the Americas. I think the convent and kitchen can be
visited if you are lucky enough to travel to Puebla.
The mole is as important as the food served in it.
Traditionally, a cup or more is served with a mild, white meat.
I like to serve roasted sliced eggplant and whole mushrooms,
topped with rings of crisp white onion with the mole. Tempeh,
simmered in seasoned vegetable stock, would be good as well.
So, to the cooking. You will need some rimmed baking pans for
oven roasting, a 10" non-stick skillet for rapid dry-frying, a
large bowl for soaking the chiles, a food processor or blender,
and a 5 or 6 quart saucepan for the final simmer.
(1) Roasting Dried Chiles
16 mulato chiles (a type of dried poblano, 4 or 5" long and 2"
across with rounded shoulders and a gentle taper to a
point, they are chocolate brown and have a mildly smoky
8 ancho chiles (another type of poblano, 4 or 5" long, 3"
across at the shoulders, they are brick to dark red and
3 pasilla chiles (dried chilaca chilies, they are slender, 5 or
6" long and 1 or 1-1/2" across, dark brown, and have a
berry, herby flavor)
1 chipolte chile (dried, smoked jalapeno chiles, coffee brown
with veins and ridges, they are smoky and sweet)
The first three are sometimes called the "holy trinity", the
traditional base of most moles. Lay dried chiles in a single
layer in baking pans, lined with foil or parchment (for easy
clean-up). Bake in a 300 degree F oven until the chiles are
flexible and smell lightly toasted, be careful not to burn or
they will become bitter. While still warm, remove the stems and
shake the seeds out of the chiles.
Put the chiles in a large bowl and cover with 8 cups of boiling
water. Let stand until soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, saving
the liquid. Puree the chiles in a food processor or blender, a
portion at a time, adding saved soaking liquid (up to 2 cups) as
needed to keep the mixture moving. The puree can be stored,
refrigerated, for a day or two.
(2) Roasting Vegetables
2 large onions (about 1 lb), quartered
2 large tomatoes (about 1 lb)
1/2 lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 medium head of garlic
3 corn tortillas (this is really a thickener but
should be roasted so its included here)
While the chiles are roasting, assemble the vegetables. When the
chiles are done, put the vegetables in the pan, increase the heat
to 450 degrees F and return the pan to the oven. Bake for 10
minutes, turn the vegetables, bake for another ten, turn, and
repeat until the vegetables and tortillas have browned spots and
edges. Let the vegetables cool and remove skins. Break each
tortilla into 5 or six pieces and place them in a food processor
with the peeled vegetables and puree, adding some of the chile
soaking liquid to help start the mixture moving. This can be
stored for a day or two as well.
For the most sophisticated mole, rub both purees through a fine
strainer and discard the residue.
1 small ripe plantain (the skin will be black) (1/2 lb)
1/2 cup chopped pitted prunes
1/2 cup raisins
Peel and slice the plantain. The easiest way to peel a plantain
is to score the skin, down to the flesh, in three evenly spaced
lines, end to end, chop off the ends of the plantain, and peel
off the skin. Add the plantain to a non-stick skillet over
medium heat. Dry-fry, without stirring, until the plantain
begins to brown, turn plantain slices and brown the other side.
Add the prunes, raisins, and 2 Tbsp water. Cook, stirring, until
water evaporates. Repeat with 2 more Tbsp water. Remove from
pan. Clean the pan to use in the next step.
Authentic Moles Poblano also uses roasted almonds and peanuts as
3 sticks cinnamon, broken into large pieces
2 tsp coriander seed
2 tsp anise seed
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add seasonings and
toast, shaking the pan frequently, until they are lightly toasted
and fragrant. Puree together the thickeners and seasonings,
using 1 cup of the chile soaking liquid.
The authentic Mole Poblano also uses toasted sesame seed.
Seasonings used in other moles include cloves, allspice, cumin,
bay, oregano, thyme, and marjoram. Cumin and oregano also
benefit from toasting.
(5) The final assembly.
remaining chile soaking liquid
1 or 2 cups light vegetable broth, as needed to thin
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate (Mexican, with cinnamon in it,
or 3 Tbsp cocoa powder (Dutched) mixed with 1/4 cup
In a heavy 5 or 6 quart sauce pan mix together ingredients from
the first 4 groups. Stir in the rest of the chile soaking liquid
and enough broth to make a thickly pourable sauce. Bring to a
simmer over medium heat, reduce heat, cover, and simmer to blend
the flavors, 1-1/2 or 2 hours, stirring often. It the mixture
gets too thick, thin with more stock. Just before serving, chop
the chocolate and mix with the mole until melted.
This should make about 10 cups, 5 or 10 servings.
Serving the mole:
Pour the mole over roasted vegetables or tempeh in
individual wide bowls or a wide shallow serving dish and
top with thin rings of white onion and fresh cilantro leaves.
Offer lime wedges and corn or fatfree flour tortillas to sop
up the sauce.
I have successfully refrigerated mole for up to a week and stored
it frozen for a month or so. In fact, I think the flavor
improves some with time. Reheat it in a double boiler, to
Here's a quick start for a Mole Amarillo:
(these proportions will make 2 or 3 cups)
(1) 5 costen~o amarillo chiles (2 to 3" long, 3/4 to 1" long,
tapering to a point, shiny amber, with
a light citrusy flavor)
If you can't find these, that's okay, just use the fresh
ingredients below. You could use 2 or 3 dried yellow New
Mexico chiles, they have a more earthy flavor. Soak in
2 cups boiling water.
(2) 15 guero chiles (generic term for pale yellow chiles such as
Hungarian wax, bananna, or Santa Fe grande)
3 yellow bell peppers
1/2 lb tomatillos
1 large yellow onion
6 cloves garlic
same directions as above, roast the chiles until the skins char,
put them in a paper bag, close it && allow the chiles to cool. Peel
and seed the chiles.
(3) 1/2 small plantain
1 corn tortilla (roast it with the veggies)
(4) 1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg