You’re probably thinking that a Mexican mole (pronounced moe-lay) is a chicken dish served in a chilli and chocolate sauce at your local Mexican restaurant? But in fact, Mexican mole includes a whole a variety of Mexican sauces and dishes named after them. In Mexico, mole is a national dish that is eaten widely across the country, especially during major celebrations and festivals. A Mexican mole sauce typically contains 20 – 30 ingredients, depending on the origins of the recipe, and there are in fact many different variations.
Mexican mole ingredients will always include chilli, something sour like tomatillos, something sweet like fruit or sugar and a thickener such as nuts or tortillas. The mole ingredients are roasted and ground then mixed with water or stock and simmered until they become a thick sauce. Mole is served over meat, poultry, eggs or rice with warmed blue or white corn tortillas for mopping up the delicious sauce.
Some of the more popular Mexican Mole sauces and dishes are:
Mole Poblano is a meat dish from the Mexican state of Puebla. In Australia, mole poblano it is often served as Chicken in Chilli and Chocolate Sauce. The recipe for mole poblano can contain up to 30 ingredients and always includes unsweetened chocolate. The addition of chocolate to the mole, works to counteract the heat of the various chillis. The chocolate also helps give the sauce its dark colour.
Mole Negro originates from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, a very mountainous region of Mexico, with a variety of indigenous ethnicities and landscapes. These variations have influenced the region’s cuisine and, thus, Oaxaca is known as “the land of the seven moles”. Mole negro is the most famous of these. It is a thick and rich sauce that is darker than mole poblano; hence the name negro or black or dark mole. The mole negro recipe also includes chocolate. Another key ingredient in mole negro is the addition of the liquorice-tasting herb called hoja santa.
Mole Manchamateles is also from the Mexican state of Oaxaca. This meat stew is referred to as ‘the tablecloth stainer’ for its vibrant red colouring. Put away the white tablecloth and napkins! The colouring comes from the addition of tomatoes, chilli and chorizo sausage. Fresh pineapple and other fruits are added to give the mole manchamanteles a sweet background.
These Mexican Mole variations are just the start. There are many more regional recipes and, of course, households have their own interpretations. Try making a Mexican Mole yourself, we often make a green mole and serve it with our Dona Cholita Organic Corn Tortillas.