How to Make Mole Sauce
If you're a fan of Central and South American cuisine, you've likely had mole sauce before. A rich, sweet, fragrant, and spicy combination of chilies, herbs, spices, and chocolate, it's got a multitude of uses in the kitchen from eating on its own with some tortilla chips to cooking with enchiladas. For the uninitiated, this can seem like a bit of an odd combination, but anyone who's tasted it will swear by the end result.
There are a ton of different takes on mole sauce out there with plenty of great results. As a result, it can be a little tough to know where to start if you're interested in making some of this delicious concoction at home. You're in luck, however, as we've got a great, easy recipe tutorial for how to make mole sauce from scratch using red chilies and dark chocolate ready and waiting just for you.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 10 mins.
Soak Time: 30 mins.
Cook Time: 10 mins. +
What is Mole Sauce?
Mole (meaning ‘sauce’) is a type of sauce used in many types of Mexican cuisine. While contemporary use of the word can refer to a lot of different varieties (such as mole negro and mole poblano), the version we're making today keeps things simple and flavorful for a first time cook. In general, it is said that five classes of ingredients are used in creating this sauce, those being chilies, sour things, sweet things, spices, and thickeners with many options for what to use in each category.
Traditionally, the ingredients are roasted and ground down into a paste by hand, which is a very lengthy process. This method isn’t as commonplace these days with the introduction of mills. The paste is then combined with water or broth and simmered until very thick. Mole can be found in paste and powder form. Versatile and delicious, it goes great with anything ranging from poultry to lamb to pork and more.
Mole Chili Pepper Options
You can use whatever combination of chili peppers you desire in your mole, even if it's just one type. Here are a few chili pepper options:
Chipotles are simply smoked, dried jalapenos. They are medium-hot.
Guajillo chilies are dried mirasol peppers. They are highly popular in Mexico and are mild to moderately hot.
Ancho chilies, which are dried poblanos, are very commonly used in moles. They are mild in heat and fruity in flavor.
The pasilla is a dried chilaca chili pepper. It is rich, woodsy and mild to hot.
Step #1. Prepare Ingredients
Step #2. Soak the Dried Peppers
Place the peppers in warm water and let them soak for about 30 minutes. Remove seeds and hard parts (stems).
Step #3. Combine the Ingredients in a Food Processor
Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Step #4. Simmer the Mole Sauce
Place the mole in a saucepan and simmer it at medium-low temp. until desired thickness (the more you simmer it, the thicker it will be).
Step #5. Serve the Mole Sauce
Sprinkle toppings over the mole sauce and enjoy.
Now you've got all you need to make some delicious homemade mole sauce whenever you like. The mole can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or you can even freeze it. This rich, thick, and spicy part of Mexican cooking has been enchanting taste buds across the world, so it's about time yours got the same treatment.
The anise is optional, but I personally love what it brings to the mole sauce.
There are many ways to mix up your mole sauce to your particular tastes, the easiest being to change the type of chilies you use. Peppers that are fruitier, hotter, or anything in between can make a world of difference in the end result. Additionally, a neat way to add some extra body and thickness to your sauce that many traditional chefs use is to blend in a lightly toasted tortilla or some stale white bread, emulsifying it into the sauce as it cooks.
So much mole and so little time. Do you have any favorite dishes to serve alongside this wonderful sauce? If not, you will soon, as there are tons of great pairings for this side both traditional and experimental. Get out there and get cooking to see what you might enjoy.
How to Make Mole Sauce
- 4-5 dried peppers - Try to find different varieties of red peppers: chipotle, guajillo, ancho, ñora, negro, etc.
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 oz. dark chocolate - melted
- ¼ onion - chopped
- 1 garlic clove - chopped
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. ground anise - optional
- Salt and pepper - to taste
- Cilantro - chopped
- Black sesame seeds
- Place the peppers in warm water and let them soak for about 30 minutes. Remove seeds and hard parts.
- Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Place the mole in a saucepan and simmer it at medium-low temp. until desired thickness (the more you simmer it, the thicker it will be).
- Sprinkle toppings over the mole sauce and enjoy.
Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or dipping sauce.