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Mole Chile Mystery: Chihuacle? "Oaxacan"?

a
alias wade Apr 2, 2008 10:24 AM

About to dive into mole-making, trying out a published recipe for Cafe Poca Cosa's red (http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs...). But problems abound.
Problem one: The recipe calls for chihuacle chiles (alt. sp.: "chilhuacle"). I presume this means chihuacle rojos (as opposed to neros), but still, these are hard to find outside Oaxaca. Were this a black mole I could (it seems) substitute anchos for the chihuacle neros. But is there a good substitute for chihuacle rojos?
Second problem: The recipe also calls for pasilla chiles, but I find (The Food and Life of Oaxaca, Z. Martinez) that in Oaxaca "pasilla" doesn't mean what it means elsewhere in Mexico. In Oaxaca, it seems, "pasillas" are smoked. Now, it just so happens that I have in my possession some chiles I bought on a lark in Tucson a couple of months ago. They are labeled "Oaxacan Chili" (sic). Are they actually the Oaxacan pasillas? Could they be chihuacles? (I called the store-- answering machine.) I hope there's some wisdom out there-- neither Google nor my not insubstantial library have been much help!

  1. a
    Analisas mom Apr 2, 2008 10:32 AM

    I make a lot of mole, so with that said there are tons of recipes all over Mexico, and it's sort of like in US where everyone's Mom has a special meatloaf recipe they all vary but with basically the same result. So you can mix your chiles up. I usually use several kinds and if you bought chiles in Arizona they are more than likely a mild red and should be fine a lot of times the heat in a chile depends on when it was harvested and how much water the plant got that season, so don't make yourself crazy by looking for the exaxt chile a recipe calls for just keep tasting until it taste good. Another tip is it takes a lot of salt to get the flavor right. Mole is a true labor of love but so worth it ,

    1 Reply
    1. re: Analisas mom
      Passadumkeg Apr 2, 2008 10:39 AM

      Exactly! I use my New Mexico chiles because it's what I have.
      The alklinity of the soil also affects the heat.

    2. Eat_Nopal Apr 2, 2008 11:44 AM

      Hi AW,

      Chill... I got your back. The Chilhuacle Rojo is vital to many Mole Rojo recipes... but you can substitue as follows:

      (1) Ancho + (1) Mora + (1) Pinch of toasted Avocado Leaf = 2 Chilhuacles Rojos

      Note, the Mora or Morita is the small red, dried not smoked, Chipotle... the smoked brown one is usually labeled Meco.

      To subsitute for Pasilla de Oaxaca (this is a bit tougher substitution but it will still be close):

      (1) Pasilla Negro + (3) Very Well Charred Gueros (Blond Jalapenos) = 2 Pasilla de Oaxaca

      3 Replies
      1. re: Eat_Nopal
        oakjoan Apr 2, 2008 12:18 PM

        And if you can't find any of the required chiles, put on Lila Downs' "Cumbia del Mole" and use what you have. This song will make you so happy, you won't care if you're eating mole from Taco Bell (Yeah, like that could happen).

        1. re: oakjoan
          Eat_Nopal Apr 2, 2008 12:21 PM

          You grind it... and you grind it... uh..huuuuh!

          http://www.youtube.com/EatNopales

        2. re: Eat_Nopal
          a
          alias wade Apr 2, 2008 03:14 PM

          Awesome reply, EN. Let you know how things turn out!

        3. Scargod Apr 3, 2008 03:58 AM

          Please do let us know what combo you used. I saved the recipe for myself. Thanks for the link.
          I have a bunch of newly received chile powder from Arizona that I am trying. Now that I have the prerequisite pumpkin seeds I am ready to try another mole. The last time I made mole (having nothing else on hand) I used only sunflower seeds and we didn't like the taste from them that much.
          Now, WTF am I going to find avocado leaves in New Haven?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Scargod
            Passadumkeg Apr 3, 2008 05:09 AM

            Scarman, you don't throw out your avocado seeds do you? Grow you own leaves! My avocado plant is named Arthur after the plant in Mad Magazine.

            1. re: Passadumkeg
              Scargod Apr 4, 2008 11:53 AM

              You're right, of course. It's been so long since I did that.
              I've named mine "Moon Unit".

          2. k
            kitchensidecar Mar 24, 2010 05:20 PM

            You can special order them from Tierra Vegetables. They have a kiosk at the farmers market on sat.

            1. mrtexian Aug 8, 2010 09:04 AM

              I just found Chilhuacle Rojo at Tienda de Cocina in San Antonio, TX. They do mail order, the web address is melissaguerra.com. Tierra is a great source, I still get my Chilhuacle Negro from them though I don't live in the bay area any more. Excellent quality peppers, plus those hard to find specialty varieties.

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