Originally the word mole comes from the Nahuatl word “mulli or molli” which means sauce or mixture of ingredients. This is exactly what mole is. Delicious, complex and comforting, moleis an iconic dish of Mexican cuisine.
Its origin is somewhat unidentified; some say earlier versions of the dish originate in the Aztec culture, but the actual preparation requires over 20 ingredients from all over the world: native (4 chili peppers varieties, chocolate, tortillas and tomato), European (nuts, bread, anise, raisins, onion and garlic), Arabian (sesame seeds and almonds) and oriental (clove, pepper and cinnamon).
The varieties of mole are as many as the number of people preparing them, even with a recipe; every cook gives it its personal touches. Of course there are certain types of preparations identified as mole. And in the state of Oaxaca there are 7 different types, every each of them with peculiar taste and ingredients.
Moles in Oaxaca include chilhuacle pepper, which is specific of this region. Not all the versions have this pepper, but it’s what makes it special. The best known mole in Oaxaca is black mole, this is the one prepared with over 20 ingredients, besides the 4 chilies (black and brown chilhuacle, ancho and pasilla) it has other ingredients like: sugar, peanuts, cumin, and plantain and it is also thickened with bread. Served over turkey or chicken and sprinkled with sesame seeds and of course with rice, beans and tortillas on aside.
The other 6 from the 7 traditional moles of Oaxaca are: yellow mole, almond based mole, green mole, red mole or coloradito, chichilo and manchamanteles –in English this would mean the one that stains tablecloths- and this is something very popular when eating or preparing mole. People have a saying that if you don’t get some mole on your clothes, you are not enjoying eating the mole.
So, come on over to Oaxaca and enjoy all or any of this varieties and delight your taste buds with all of the ingredients joined together in a unique dish.
And here’s a tip, if you like mole and want to make it at home, at the markets you can find some of the mole varieties either in paste or powder. Just ask how to prepare this at home and enjoy a part of Mexican cuisine.