Mole poblano is a popular chili sauce used in Mexican cuisine. Although there is no hard and fast recipe for it, it is commonly a combination of a minimum of three dried chili peppers, ground nuts or seeds and Mexican chocolate. Salt, oregano, chicken broth and charred onions, garlic and avocado leaves are mixed with these ingredients, and crushed crackers or breadcrumbs are usually added to thicken the mixture.
Mole is a Mexican Spanish word that literally translated means sauce or concoction—it can refer to several Mexican food sauces and dishes based on these sauces. Outside of Mexico, it usually refers to mole poblano sauce. Mole also is recognized as part of the word guacamole, which is a popular Mexican dip, made with avocadoes, tomatoes and seasonings.
The chili peppers chosen for the mole recipe depend on personal taste and availability, but common types include chipotle, mulato, ancho and pasilla. For the ground nuts or seeds, peanuts, almonds and sesame seeds are popular choices. The required Mexican chocolate is a special blend of ground cacao, cinnamon and sugar. Ground nuts are also sometimes part of the Mexican chocolate blend.
Mole poblano is different from most Mexican sauces in several ways. It is very thick, while many Mexican sauces, most commonly salsa, are thin. Mole also is cooked to a smooth consistency, and salsa is most often made from raw, fresh ingredients. The majority of other sauces with origins in Mexico have easily identifiable chunks of food in them, namely tomato, onion, garlic, tomatillo and a wide variety of chili peppers.
Various preparation methods are used to make mole. Most recipes commonly call for whole garlic cloves, sliced onion and the dried peppers to be lightly fried in oil. These cooked components, along with the rest of the ingredients, are placed into a blender and processed until smooth. The liquid is slowly cooked and continuously stirred over low to medium heat until the flavors completely meld. The thickening agents are added and the liquid is cooked until the desired consistency is reached.
Chicken mole may be the most universal way to serve this sauce. The sauce, though, can also be a nice complement to beef and pork. Restaurants often include mole enchiladas on their menus, which are corn tortillas filled with chicken and covered with mole.
Mole poblano takes a lot of time and patience to prepare. Because of this, it is usually prepared in very large batches and frozen for future use. It is a popular dish at dinners celebrating special occasions, such as baptisms, quinceaneras, weddings, birthdays, first communions and baptisms.