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Dec 4, 2006 05:41 PM

How do you use mole?

Lots of Mexican Markets near me have little containers of mole and I'd like to try some of them, but not sure how to use them?

Say you are making chicken, do you just heat the mole and pour it over cooked chicken?

Do you put raw chicken in the mole and stew until ready?

Some mole is thick and cut in cubes. Does this melt when heated or do you mix it with some sort of liquid?

What are your recipe ideas for mole?

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  1. A lady in a market in Oaxaca tried to explain it to me, and she seemed to be saying to reconstitute the paste using tomato water or something. She talked about plunging the tomatoes in the water to peel them. She gesticulated wildly and spoke quickly - I speak little spanish, but seemed to understand more than my friend who does - but I have no real idea what she was talking about.

    I reconstitute with unsalted chicken broth (box-o-broth from Trader Joe's), and nothing else. I've tried both cooking the chicken first, and cooking in the sauce. Unsurprisingly, slow-cook in the sauce is better, although trickier (continue adding broth, etc) and - duh - slower. Fast cook is simple - reconstitute, simmer. To do a fast cook I grill the chicken 2/3 done, cut into strips for maximum surface area, then toss around in the sauce for 15 minutes.

    The quantity of paste I like is about a half-fistful for two people's worth of chicken. Like 2/3 of a stick of butter, up to a full stick.

    Occasionally I have tossed in a little garlic at the *very end*, which is non-traditional. Sue me. I've also tried putting sauteing & adding onions, also shallots, and wasn't pleased with the results. I've also tried tomato variants, without huge success. The garlic did give a little welcome punch, and leaving toward the end left the aroma. Mmmm.

    Just don't forget the sprinkled sesame seeds on the top.

    If anyone has a from-scratch black mole recipe, I'd like to hear about it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bbulkow

      here is a mole negro recipe I've been meaning to try but have not gotten to yet:

      1. re: lisa13

        I think I've made that... works well.

        1. re: lisa13

          good link - THX
          per the chiles they reference . . . there is plenty of burnt stuff in real mole negro -- burnt tortillas, avocado leaves . . . it is a funky magic that happens. I hoard the paste from the market in OAX, or DF.
          A tip to tasting and evaluating -- the cheap stuff will taste sweet, sugar being used to mask the inferior product.

      2. The artisan pastes all need to be reconstituted... in most cases water is sufficient but sometimes it will take some stock. Some of the commercial varieties like Knorr & Juanita's are ready to use.

        What to do with Mole Sauce? In Mexico... people most commonly poach or braise the desired meat in the sauce... a lot of this has to do with the robust free range protein that is most commonly available there. More delicate meats are typically grilled or roasted then finished off in the sauce by letting it steep off the heat source for 5 to 20 minutes (depending on the size of the beast).

        Working with the typical relatively wimpy protein available here you have to adjust your method. So many Mexican restaurants miss this point resulting in dry, overwhelmed chicken or pork.

        Here is a good way to start... marinade a salmon fillet in a bit of olive oil, salt & a tiny amount of mole.. drain & grill until 5 minutes from your desired doneness... brush on a thick version of the reconstituted mole to finish... then sauce with a thinner version of the mole, garnish with toaste sesame seeds and your favorite sides (I like Brown & Forbidden Rice with it).

        For 1/4 chicken... pan sear it, then bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes... brush thick reconstituted mole... broil another 5 minutes... sauce with thinner mole.. top with toasted sesame sides... I like this with baked plantains or plantain empanadas.

        For vegetables... quick stir fry some shredded spinach, add medium thick mole simmer for 5 to 10 minutes (until you like it)... serve with wedges of Queso Fresco, Sliced Hardboild Eggs & bean stuffed plantain empanadas.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Eat_Nopal

          My husband is from Mexico and we would NEVER use water to make mole. Always use chicken broth, and sometimesa tomato put into the blender and pureed.

          Mole burns very easily so putting a thickened version on meat to BBQ or broil can result in dry and perhaps burnt meat.

          Maybe you have a method I'm not understanding, if so I welcome your comments. : )

          1. re: karrybee

            I have found with the pastes that I purchase (Aqui es Oaxaca in West LA)... that they are so flavorful & well seasoned that broth & tomatoes would be overkill.

            What I do is sear a chicken breast... lower the flame cook it another 5 minutes then sauce it with a thick version of the mole, finish it in very hot oven for 5 minutes... or so until the sauce begins to carmelize. Perfection.

            Otherwise you partially roast the beast (often done this way with Duck)... then poach it thinner mole... off of the heat source for 15 minutes or so.

        2. what the lady told me . . .
          well, actually it depends on which mole paste BUT the basics are (for red or black moles)

          cook a chicken in a smallish pot, water barely to cover, with an onion, garlic, parsley whatever - you want a concentrated broth.

          remove chicken (or just thighs, as you wish) when barely cooked and set aside to cool.

          fry some onions and garlic in either the fat off the top of the broth, or whatever fat you want to use. add some tomatoes - canned is fine. I find the tomatoes give it another layer and a much more interesting and integrated flavor

          start adding your mole paste and
          use the broth to loosen it up - you might not need all the broth, just poco a poco...let it simmer, pick the chicken off the bones and add it back to the pan and don't cook it too long.
          yum yum, wrap it in a tortilla and remember your favorite market in Mexico...

          1. Mole is relatively easy to prepare. I do it all the time and everyone loves it. Bake or boil the chicken. Shred it apart using two forks. If you bake the chicken you can strain the fat from the drippings and use the broth in addition to broth you will need to buy from the store. Gives it a nice flavor.

            Buy the cubed or jarred Mole (in the jar I use Dona Maria). For one jar or equivelent amount of cubed you'll need 3-14oz. cans of chicken broth (use Swanson) and 1 extra can (for a total of 4 cans)to use when reheating the leftovers since it will thicken. If the cans are not available use 1 large carton for all.

            Place cubed or jarred mole in a pan on medium high heat, add about 1/4 cup of chicken broth to start the melting process. As it starts to melt (stirring often) add more chicken broth. When if gets to the consistency of a thick cream soup, stop adding broth. You may need to use a wire whisk to get the last few lumps out. Turn the heat to low, add a pinch of salt, pepper to taste. Add approximately 1/8 teaspoon Cumin, and a very small bit of chopped Habanero if you like spicey. You may use jalapeno, but Habanero lends a more smokey flavor and that is a characteristic of good mole.

            Pour mole over the shredded chicken, top with a bit of crumbled Cotija cheese or drizzle with Mexican crema. Serve with tortillas and rice.

            When reheating leftovers, depending on how much is left, add as much broth as you need to bring it to it's original consistency.

            Good luck! : )

            1 Reply
            1. re: karrybee

              Thanks to all.

              Here was also a really good post about using mole

            2. This is probably extremely late reply, I'm half Mexican, usually enjoy scratch mole, but the pre-made mole pastes are what most people use and if you doctor them up they are amazing. My mom, grandmother, and aunt all cook the pre-made paste the same way and it comes out amazing! They buy a paste called "Mole Poblano" from the Dona Maria brand. They simply call is "Mole de Vaso" (means mole from a cup referring to the container it comes in)

              You first boil washed and cleaned chicken or turkey with enough water to barely cover with bay leaves, onions, garlic, salt and bouillon powder for about 45 minutes

              Afterwards when stock is done blend the jar of mole paste with stock to a smooth loose paste, heat a deep pot with generous amounts of lard or oil, sautee 1/2 an onion chopped until caramelized 5-7 minutes, add 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce, 1/4 cup ketchup when it bubbles add 1 tablet of Mexican chocolate when that melts into the mixture and bubbles again, add the paste blended with stock and dilute little by little with stock until it has a cream soup consistency. IT TASTES AMAZING!

              Another variation my mother makes is with pork, we cut pork into 2 inch chunks, put in a pot with very little water like 1 inch water, salt and pepper, and some lard or oil, let it come to a boil all together uncovered over medium high, and when all the water evaporates and meat renders fat and is browned, add chopped onion 5-6 minutes, tomato sauce, ketchup, chocolate, and blend teh mole paste with store bought beef stock. Let it simmer 15 minutes or until pork is real tender.

              Serve with Mexican red rice, or white rice, with beans, a salad etc.

              If your more of "purist" or are baffled by tomato sauce and ketchup (yes these do exist in Mexico), then pan-roast fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic and blend with stock, fry it in hot oil or lard, add chocolate tablets then add blended paste and dilute with stock little by little.