Mole (pronounced “mole-ay”) is a series of Mexican sauces that contain ground chiles, spices, nuts, often chocolate, sometimes raisins, ground seeds, etc.

There are three basic types of moles:

1. Mole Poblano (the most famous type, and the one that ALWAYS contains chocolate) was originated in Pueblo during Colonial times (Mexican colonial, not American) by the nuns who wanted to make a special dish for a visiting Archbishop. The sauce contains ground dried chile peppers, ground nuts, ground raisins, broth, chocolate, sometimes ground corn tortillas, a small amount of sugar, and various spices. It is traditionally served over turkey, with a side dish of unfilled tamales (just the cornmeal masa steamed in corn shucks.) It’s one of those dishes that rarely finds its way out of the country of origin, and you either passionately love or passionately hate. It may also be purchased pre-made (something we recommend, as the bottled version is excellent, and this is NOT something you’d want to attack from scratch on even a semi-regular basis). The chocolate used is Mexican or Oaxacan, a dark variety without sugar or milk products.

2. Mole Verde (green mole) contains green chiles, broth, ground pumpkin seeds, various herbs and spices. It’s usually served over chicken or pork. Nice stuff, and much easier for the beginner to like than the Mole Poblano.

3. Mole Roja (red mole) is a sauce that contains red chiles, herbs and spices, ground nuts or seeds, ground corn tortillas, usually no chocolate. It comes from the region around Oxaca. Again, it’s marginally easier to like than the more well-known version. It’s usually served over chicken or pork.

All of these dishes are virtual throwbacks to the complex (and to our palates, unusual) combinations of ingredients that were common in that part of the country before the arrival of the Spaniards. None of the dishes is particularly hot, they have a complex, haunting flavor that speaks of cultures long gone, but not entirely forgotten.

Keywords: Information, Sauces, Mexican, Chiles, Chocolate, Spices, Seeds

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