09 November 2008

Vocab Builder 002 - Carmelita's Mole Sauce

Recently, I received a question about mole sauce from Michele and Peter who live in the Mission District of San Francisco, California. Peter's grandparents were born near Irapuato and he is trying to find a mole recipe like the kind that his grandmother used to make. I turned to my Mexican food expert who just happens to be my wife's mother, “Carmelita”, and asked for her help. Carmelita is from nearby Silao and she learned how to make mole from her mother who learned from her mother and so on down the line. The first person to make mole, according to popular tradition, was Sister Andrea de la Asunción of the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla. She created it for the first time in honor of a visit by the archbishop sometime during the late sixteen hundreds. She served it over turkey (Guajalote) and the dish is popularly known as “Mole Poblano de Guajalote” (MOH- lay pohb-LAHN-oh day gwah-hah-LOH-tay). It is a very traditional Mexican dish and it is served on special occasions. I have received several other questions about mole after writing about the “Mole Festival of Guanajuato” and I thought it might be nice to include Carmelita's recipe here in case anyone would like to try it with their Thanksgiving turkey. First, however, we had to get it out of Carmelita's head and write it down. It came out of her head in Spanish of course and so I made a translation. I wrote down both the original Spanish and the colloquial English translation in order to make it into a little Spanish lesson related to cooking a recipe or “receta” (reh-SAY-tah) as a recipe is called here. Okay, so let's get right to it:

Receta: Mole Poblano

Se cuece un guajolote grande y tierno o bien un pollo grande, cortándolo en piezas con, ajo, sal, cebolla, una rama de apio, para obtener un buen consomé. Ya una vez cocido se saca el pollo en un recipiente se tapa y se reserva el consomé colado.


9 chiles anchos
3 chiles mulatos
3 chiles pasilla
20 gramos de semilla de calabaza peladas
2 jitomates grandes asados de preferencia jitomate bola
50 gramos de almendras
50 gramos de cacahuates
50 gramos de ajonjolí
1 tablilla (85 gramos) de chocolate (de marca Abuelita o Ibarra)
2 tortillas de maíz doradas en fuego directo sin aceite y cortado en pedazos
1 bolillo mediano
3 dientes de ajo
1 cebolla grande
½ cucharadita de clavos de especia
10 pimientas negras
1 raja de canela
Una pizca de jengibre
200 gramos de manteca de cerdo ó 1/4 litro de aceite

Manera de hacerse:

Se asan un poco, los chiles, se limpian, y se doran en manteca o aceite. También se asan, las semillas de calabaza, las almendras, los cacahuates, el bolillo (rebanado), y una cucharadita y media de ajonjolí. Se frien el ajo, y la cebolla grande rebanada. Todos estos ingredientes se muelen en la licuadora con los jitomates asados, las tortillas doradas, canela, pimiento, clavos, jengibre, y el consomé (tibio) y se forma una pasta. Se pone el resto de manteca o aceite en una cazuela y se vacía la pasta y se le agrega más consomé y se espera a que hierva y tome consistencia ligeramente líquida, poniéndole consomé hasta que termine de cocinarse por espacio de dos horas a fuego muy suave. Agregue el chocolate y añade sal al gusto si se requiere, no dejando de mover constantemente para evitar que se pegue y queme.

Se sirve en un platón las piezas de pavo o pollo y poner encima el Mole Poblano, y se espolvorea con ajonjolí tostado. Se acompaña con arroz rojo (un paltillo muy Mexicano) o con frijoles refritos y tortillas de maíz calientitas y chile jalapeño en vinagre. Una sugerencia infalible de Mamá Carmelita, cuando vayas de invitado a un lugar y te sirvan mole, pide que te sirvan un poco de cebolla blanca cruda en rodajas y lo pones encima de tu mole y si quieres comer la cebolla muy bien y si no la comes no hay problema. De esta manera el Mole poblano nunca de causara indigestión. Otra sugerencia, el mole puedes prepararlo un día antes de tu fiesta y será mucho más rico que el día que lo preparas. Cuando te sobre mole, lo puedes congelar y otro día prepara enmoladas de pollo o pavo servidas con chiles toreados (chile serrano y cebolla en ruedas ligeramente fritos con aceite y con salsa Jugo Maggi de Nestle). ¡Qué rico!

En México es muy tradicional preparar mole, para los cumpleaños, días de santos, el doce de Diciembre (Virgen de Guadalupe), y alguna fecha que conmemorar o especial o sencillamente cuando tu quieras.

¡Buen provecho....Mmmmmmmmm¡ ¡Se me hizo agua la boca!


Recipe: Mole Poblano

A big tender turkey or even a big chicken is cut into pieces and cooked with garlic, salt, onion, and a stick of celery to to obtain a good broth. Remove the chicken once it is cooked and strain the broth obtained.


9 ancho chilis
3 mulato chilis
3 pasilla chilis
20 grams (¾ oz) pumpkin or squash seeds with shells removed
2 Large round tomatoes
50 grams (1-3/4 oz) almonds (shelled)
50 grams (1-3/4 oz) Peanuts (shelled)
50 grams (1-3/4 oz) Sesame seeds
1 tablet (3 oz) of chocolate (Abuelita or Ibarra brands)
2 corn tortillas roasted directly over flame without oil and cut in pieces
1 medium size bread roll
3 cloves garlic
1 large onion
½ teaspoon cloves
10 black pepper corns
1 stick of cinnamon
1 pinch of ginger
200 grams (7 oz) lard or 1/4 liter (about one cup) of vegetable oil.

Method of preparation:

Roast the chilis a little and clean them out and fry them in lard or oil. Also toast the pumpkin seeds, the almonds, the peanuts, the bread roll (sliced), and one and a half teaspoons of the sesame seeds. Lightly fry the garlic, and large onion (sliced). Mix all of these ingredients together in a blender with the roasted tomatoes, roasted tortilla pieces, cinnamon, pepper corns, cloves, ginger, and enough chicken broth (lukewarm) to form a paste. Put the remaining lard or oil in a pot, add the paste, and add more chicken broth until it takes the consistency of a light sauce, cooking it slowly over a low heat for two hours and adding more broth as necessary. Add the chocolate and add salt to taste as required. Don't forget to stir constantly to avoid sticking and burning.

Serve the Mole Poblano on a platter over pieces of turkey or chicken and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Acompany with red rice (a very Mexican dish) or with refried beans, warm corn tortillas, and pickled jalapeño chilli peppers. Mama Carmelita has a tried and true suggestion regarding mole. When you are invited to a place where mole is served ask that they serve some sliced raw onion on top of the mole whether you end up eating the onion or not. In this way the mole will never cause indigestion. Another suggestion is that you prepare your mole one day before your party and it will be much tastier than on the day that you prepared it. When you have mole left over you can freeze it and another day you can prpare chicken or turkey with mole and serve it with chilis toreados (lightly rolled, crushed and fried fried chillis serranos and fried sliced onions with Nestle's Jugo Maggi sauce). Very tasty!

In Mexico it is very traditional to prepare mole for birthdays, saint's days, the 12th of December (Virgen de Guadalupe), or some other special day of commemoration or simply whenever you want to.

Bon apetít!...Mmmmmm! It makes my mouth water!

Additional notes:

Don't add hot broth to the blender. Let it cool down to room temperature or it will affect the mix.

It is better to use pure “manteca” or pig lard but vegetable oil will do.

The chocolate sold under the brand names Abuelita (Nestle) and Ibarra comes in three ounce discs that contain sugar and cinnamon. You can substitute dark chocolate but then you have to adjust by adding sugar and cinamon. Abuelita and /or Ibarra can be found in most supermarkets in North America.

Most traditional moles except for “Mole Verde” or “Green Mole” of Oaxaca use chocolate. However, there is another similar sauce called “Pipian” that doesn't use chocolate. Instead of chocolate it uses about a half pound of roasted pumpkin or squash seeds after you remove the shells. By the way, it takes a LOT of pumpkin seeds to make that many "pepitas" which is what the inner seeds are called without the shell. Good luck!


GlorV1 said...

Mmmmm Mmmmmm Mmmmm. How mouth watering that mole looks and you know what, I have all the ingredients except for the chile mulato and I suppose I could find that somewhere. There's a Spanish store called Puebla not too far. I'll check it out for the mulato's. Thats a very authentic recipe and thank you for sharing. I will copy and paste or just try to print it out. Muchas gracias. By the way Bob, yaya's computer got a virus and konked out and thats why she hasn't been around. She'll be back soon. Have a great week.

Anonymous said...

The first time I saw mole cooking I asked a friend, "Why are these Mexicans boiling mud?".. but I acquired a taste for it...some are spicy hyot and some are sweet & pungent...it's like Texas chili con carne..everybody has there own secret recipe.
Since I was a wedding,& special events photographer I got to eat a lot of mole...unfortunately I had reflux afterwards because 1... they always served it late at the reception, like about 9 or 10 PM...2.- if they used manteca (lard) its effect was more pronounced....cont get me wrong.. lard definitely makes it taste better but its not exactly healthy. 3.- they always served brandy (el Presidente) at these shindigs, then a piece of cake loaded with Chantilly icing... the combination of all these things added up to a death wish. I've learned to decline, large portions of these things...even if my wife tells me I'm rude to do so.
"Why is it everything I like is ..
illegai, immoral or fattening?".

Bob Mrotek said...

If you have any questions send me an e-mail and I will ask Carmelita for an answer. Thanks for the info about Yaya. I hope she is back online soon.

Bob Cox,
That is why Carmelita says to always ask for a bit of raw onion to eat with your mole and that way you won't get indigestion :)

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.