Our Many Hours of Making Mexican Mole

STEP 1: Deciding

A mole vendor in the Xochimilco mercado.

A mole vendor in the Xochimilco mercado. In the front row are the powdered moles; behind them, the wet moles that look like ice cream.

In the markets here, there’s usually a few stalls that sell different types of powdered mole. A few weeks ago, Brendan bought some powdered mole from the mercado near his office, to take back with us to the States and give as gifts to a couple of our friends. He kept some for us, and this weekend, we finally decided to cook with it.

A little background on mole, from my very limited knowledge: Mole is derived from the Aztec word for sauce. It’s usually made from a complex mixture of ingredients, and can be prepared many different ways (guacamole, for example, is one you definitely know). Brendan bought a fairly common variety — mole poblano, a dark-brown spicy mole with a strong chocolate flavor. Before we could make the mole, though, we needed answers:

1. How do you go from powdered mole to real mole? (Most recipes assume you’re making your mole from scratch, or have canned mole).
2. What do we put under the mole once we prepare it?

After about an hour of internet searching and much speculation, we decided to make some type of vegetarian enchiladas. I used to make green chile enchiladas back in college in New Mexico, and so I was familiar with the cooking techniques. And to make the mole, we decided we could probably boil some veggie broth, and add the mole powder until we got a mole-like consistency (like chocolate syrup), and pour that on top of the enchiladas.

STEP 2: Shopping

We headed to our local mercado — a damn good one known as the Mercado Medellin — to purchase:

  • chayote, a local vegetable that’s pretty bland, so good for a possible enchilada stuffing
  • ajonjoli (sesame seeds)
  • the usual purchases of onions, cilantro, limes

Next, we bought freshly made corn tortillas from the tortilleria near the mercado.

Then we went to the big truck that parks in our neighborhood where vendors sell productos de Oaxaca, including fresh Oaxacan cheese (among other goodies). We bought a quarter-kilo of cheese, to put in and on top of the enchiladas.

STEP 3: Preparing

All things considered, our ineptitude with Mexican cooking didn’t really get in the way.

I pre-cooked the sliced chayote in the oven for a long time (I tried to roast them, realizing our roaster doesn’t seem to work). Then I stuffed the chayote, refried beans and cubed Oaxacan cheese into each enchilada. I rolled them up flauta-style, and put them in a big pan and sprinkled more cheese on top. Meanwhile, Brendan worked his magic on the mole, which filled the apartment with a spicy chocolate aroma (um, yum). I threw the enchiladas in the oven for about 20 minutes (at 7,500 feet elevation, cooking takes longer than normal). Then, when they were done, I poured the mole on top.

STEP 4: Celebratory Face Stuffing

Wow. These little guys came out gorgeous and tasty. The innards (chayote, cheese and beans) were mild enough to not compete with the highly flavorful mole.

Mole poblano enchiladas with chayote, Oaxacan cheese and beans.

Mole poblano enchiladas with chayote, Oaxacan cheese and beans.

11 thoughts on “Our Many Hours of Making Mexican Mole

  1. YayaOrchid says:

    Oh, my!! They look so GOOD! You know, I’ve never used chayote, and I don’t really know how to use it. I’ve hear it used in ‘caldos’ or broths. Using it as a stuffing is an excellent idea, especially if you want a veggie meal. Great job! I agree with previous poster, you do take great food pictures.

  2. Mary says:

    LOVING your “food porn!” Now I’m craving Mexican food. (Isn’t it amazing how different Mexican food in Mexico is, compared to “Tex-Mex?” Both are wonderful, but they truly are different.)

  3. megc says:

    Hey, congratulations on a successful mole adventure! The enchiladas sound really good. I had enchiladas in mole poblano in Cancun a few weeks ago – delicious! Made me wonder more about moles…

  4. SUSY ARROYO says:

    THE ARE MANY DIFERENT TYPES OF MOLES IN MEXICO, WE HAVE GREENS, BLACK, REDS, AND IN BETWIN. THE ORIGEN OF MOLE POBLANO IS FROM THE STATE OF PUEBLA, IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO MAKE IT FROM SCATCH BECAUSE MOLE HAS MANY INGRIDIENTS, AND IT IS HARD TO GET IT IN THE USA, “MOLE OR ENCHILADAS OF MOLE” ARE VERY EASY TO MAKE IF YOU HAVE THE CHILE POWDER OR PASTE. MOLE IS MADE FROM DIFERENTS KINDS OF CHILE: CHILE ANCHO, PASILLA, ETC. OTHER INGRIDIENTES ARE RAISINGS, PENUTS, SESAME SEEDS,WALNUTS,ALMONDS, CINAMON, BANANA (PLATANO MACHO), SUGAR, ONION, GARLIC, TORTILLAS, OIL, OTHER SPICES AND DARK CHOCOLATE.
    ADD CHICKEN BROTH, TO THE POWDER OR PASTE, AND SIMER UNTIL YOU GET A SAUCE, SOME TIMES YOU HAVE TO ADD SUGAR OR MORE CHOCOLATE OR PENUT BUTTER. WHEN YOU ARE READEY YOU CAN MAKE YOUR ENCHILADAS, FRY TORTILLAS JUST IN AND OUT, AND STUFFED WITH CHICKEN, CHEESE, OR VEGIES. THE CHAYOTE YOU CAN BOIL IT (30 MN) AND USE A THOOPICK TO SEE IF IS READY IT HAS TO GO IN VERY EASY, THEN YOU HAVE TO PEEL IT, CUT IT AND EAT IT THE WAY YOU LIKE IT! MAKE ONE ENCHILADA AT THE TIME, PUT SOUCE ON TOP BUT RESERVE SOME HOT ONE FOR LATER, YOU CAN HEAT ENCHILADAS IN MACROWAVE OR OVEN FOR FEW MINUTES, ALWAYS COVER THEM AND MAKE A FEW HOLES ON TOP. DON’T FORGET TO PUT ON TOP SOME FRESH DICE ONION, RANCHERITO CHEESE, AND SESAME SEEDS. THAT’S THE WAY YOU EAT MOLE IN MEXICO!!
    PLEASE HELP ME WITH THE GRAMAR I’AM A NEW RESIDENT OF THE USA.

  5. D Hernandez says:

    My husband is from Mexico and we bring back powder mole every year. I have been searching the internet for a long time and cannot find a recipe for this. They are all wet mole recipes. If i could get a recipe for this it would be great

    THANK YOU

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