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Mole in a Jar

I picked up a few jars of mole paste at an international market the other day. I could make my own, and like David Thompson says about curry paste it's something I should definitely try, but for day to day use the prepared stuff is too useful to ignore.

My first shot was Dona Maria poblano paste. I mixed it 4-1 with chicken broth. I stir fried some chicken tenderloins while it cooked. The paste and the broth actually reconstitute to a perfect texture -- dark, rich and thick.

It was pretty decent, although the finished product definitely needed a sprinkling of sugar for the right flavor. Unfortunately I don't keep sugar or any comparable sweetener in the house. I ended up refrigerating most of it.

This stuff is pretty darned handy though. I have another brand of poblano and a couple jars of different brands of mole verde. I'll report back on whether or not those are good once I get around to trying them.

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  1. Jon, I happened to make mole this evening for a large family dinner. I have made my own but for this evenings preparation I used 2 jars of the Dona Maria regular brown mole paste as well as a half a pint of a red mole that I got from a Mexican store. I diluted with the stock from cooking the 3 chickens that was used to make the chicken mole. I also added a couple of rounds of Abuelita chocolate. This is not the exact chocolate that I wanted but it did okay. The Abuelita is sweet with cinnamon. I also added some ground chiles that I had made that was a mixture of Ancho, Pasilla, Guajillo and puya peppers. I also added a couple of pureed bananas. My sister in Mex DC tells me she does this to make it creamier. You really don't taste the banana. It really came out well. I've made the mole verde but I like the poblano one better. Red mole if you can find it is really good. The one I have has a distinct flavor of cloves.

    1. I've had only the Dona Maria brand (tall jar, flat cap??).........i agree with putting some extra liquid in it...it was way too thick, hard to get out of the jar in smaller quantities......that being said, i've never made my own mole and i really don't know how thick it should be in that regard.

      1. I didn't like the Dona Maria brand (there was something in it...couldn't quite put my finger on it though, that left a funny aftertaste in my mouth), but I loooooooove the Trader Joe's brand. It tastes almost exactly like the mole from my favorite Mexican place down the street. I've also bought mole straight from the restaurant and kept it frozen.

        1. Dona Maria is one of the worst Moles on the market. The best are of course the artisinal pastes you get in plastic wrap and which will outlast the human race (even though they don't have any long name chemicalish preservatives)... you can find these at Oaxacan, Guerrerense or Pueblan markets / bakeries. Next on the peking order, are the single strenght Tetra Pak ones that are popular in Mexico... La Costena, Knorr, Clemente Jacques etc.,.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Eat_Nopal

            Oh yeah... I do find the Trader Joe's Red Mole to be decent for certain applications.... its good sauce for roasted or sautee mushrooms... folded into quesadillas or pizza with some Cilantro. Heat it up... serve it with Queso Fresco in tortillas or even chips. But I wouldn't use it in great quantity as a main focus... it just doesn't have the flavor depth or balance.

            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              Agreed, Dona Maria is just Blah! I make a big batch and freeze it.

              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                Have you ever tried Rogelio Bueno brand? It comes in a glass with a tin top, like Dona Maria. My SO bought it and I'm kinda bummed, because it's probably not good. I know some of the markets in my area (Berkeley) must sell the paste you mention, though I haven't actually seen it.

                1. re: Glencora

                  Rogelio is way better than Dona Maria.

                    1. re: Glencora

                      It's definitely not like making your own, but it's much better than Dona Maria

                  1. re: Glencora

                    If you are ever in Petaluma you can get Oaxacan mole paste at Karina's bakery... if you are in Santa Rosa, you can get Michoacan style mole paste at Lola's.

                  2. re: Eat_Nopal

                    I have some La Costena, so I'll give that a shot. It's a paste like the Dona Maria though. I also hae a jar of Rogelio Bueno -- I basically just grabbed a few different brands to test.
                    I did add some sugar to the Dona Maria and still wasn't crazy about it.

                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                      Sorry to stray away from topic but -

                      Is there such a thing as a Mole sans sesame seed? It seems to be a standard ingredient in every mole I encounter. This has seriously hindered the possibility of me ever trying mole (unless I were to invest the long hours making one from scratch), as I am deathly allergic to sesame seeds.

                      1. re: Prav

                        In Mexico most Moles don't have Sesame Seeds... its usually the Pipianes that do... with that said I couldn't in good conscious advise you to blindly use one of those unbranded, artisinal pastes that are actually just as good as most homemade versions.

                    2. My $ is for Rogelio Bueno anyday over Dona Maria. Leagues better.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kare_raisu

                        This is the brand I've always used upon the recommendation of a neighbor long ago who was from the Rio Grande Valley; I've not tried the Dona Maria to compare because we love the Rogelio Bueno so much.

                      2. You can get a thick, hardened mole paste in white plastic pint tubs in most Hispanic groceries. It does have trans fats, but since I don't use them all that often I will use them for their superior flavor. The brands that come in the glass jars just don't have much flavor, to my tastebuds.

                        One of my favorite spice mixtures was La Victoria which years ago came in a small tin can. Called Pipian Ranchero, for making Pollo en Pipian. It contained chili powder, bread crumbs, sunflower seeds,penaut butter, cottonseed oil,garlic powder. They don't make it any more, sadly.

                        1. To be perfectly honest, I don't see a lot of difference between Doña Maria and Rogelio Bueno, but then what I add (besides chicken broth) is a heaping soup-spoon of crunchy peanut butter - no chocolate or (especially!) cinnamon for me. I blend it to a soupy consistency and then add in my not-quite-done chicken or turkey cut off the bone, and finish it in a casserole in the oven. We have also used ready-to-use moles from Mexican groceries, but most of these have been too sweet and/or bland for my taste.

                          1. We've used the various Dona Maria pastes for many years, as well as several others. They work well, with the exception of the separation of the oils and the base, in the jar. I wish that I could find a way to blend these a bit better, when not doing a full pot. Usually, we'll do just enough for our tamales, or whatever, and do not use the entire jar, at any one usage. However, with just a bit of "chippin' and stiring" they all seem to work well.

                            Now, most of my friends of Mexican descent scoff at these, but then each has a family recipe, based on the state, that their family came from, and do not mind spending an afternoon with mortar and pestal grinding the chillis. Some use peanut butter, some chocolate, some pepinos and some eschew all of these for just the ground peppers - depends on the state.

                            For an Anglo, with only two people in the family most of the time, the mole in a jar works well.


                            1. Well for most of you white folks you might just be trying to incorporate your taste buds by gourmet standards. Doña Maria just might be one of the best but only when cooked with abuelita brand chocolate and also using peanut butter, NOT sugar. Remember this is a peasant dish not a five star restaurant goutmet cuisine escargo dish. you want real flavor make it as close to the street stand vendors as possible. As for the consistancy it should be about that of deli type mustard. All in all it is to your taste and what you like but i do appriciate the efforts by all, to recreate a very well known dish.