oaxacan mole cooking


Photo by Edsel Little
The justly famous mole is a complex sauce made from toasted seeds, soaked and puréed chiles, ground raisins, spices, herbs, and a bit of semi-sweet chocolate. Throughout Mexico, the chocolate, seeds, and chiles remain constants, but their types and the rest of the ingredients fluctuate wildly according to the cook. Oaxacan mole negro is made form three types of chiles, tomatoes, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, thyme, marjoram, oregano, lard, sesame seeds, almonds, peanuts, raisins, onions, garlic, plantains, and chocolate — altogether the sauce has 23 ingredients. A green mole is simpler, combining pumpkin and sesame seeds, five different chiles, cloves, pepper, garlic, chocolate, and broth. Many of these ingredients must be individually roasted, fried, soaked and/or ground before being added. Once the sauce is done, meat that has been poached, perhaps in broth with garlic, onion, and mint, is submerged in the mole, and they are stewed slowly together.

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