How long does powdered mole last? [Moved from Mexico]
I bought great mole last July in the Mercado de Coyoacan and my last batch is sitting in my fridge, promising a great meal. It looks and smells fine but I'm concerned about safety. Should I risk it?
I don't really know, but I've a jar of granulated mole base in my cupboard fro maybe 5 years. I haven't used any, as I can get mole in restaurants and at private dinners here. I have almost no reason to make it.
I would think that if it were dry, there should be no problem.
Use it, it's fine. I just used a batch that I bought at about the same time you bought yours, no problems.
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Just kidding, Antigonita. Your mole powder is going to be great.
I've prepared mole powder a couple of different ways other than just adding stock.
One, I heated some oil in a skillet - I used a reasonable amount of oil, probably 2 tablespoons to about a 1/2 cup of powder - dropped the powder in when the oil was hot and sauteed it. The powder will immediate drop the temperature of the oil but the temp will come back up pretty quickly. You don't want to burn the powder so you may need to adjust the heat under the skillet. I sautee/stir-fry the powder for about a minute to heat it through and release volatile oils. You should begin to smell the aroma of the mole powder. Then I begin adding the broth/stock or water while I continue to stir with a whisk. I bring it to a simmer and a reduce it just a bit and then slip in whatever meat (or vegetables) I'm using and continue cooking until the meat and veg is done. Alternately, I've also cooked the meat and veg separately and used the mole only to nap them for plating and service.
Two, as in option 1 above I heat some oil in a saute pan or skillet. Instead of putting the mole powder directly in to the oil, I will sometimes add a pureed tomato to the oil and cook it. I've roasted a tomato and pureed it and I've simply pureed a raw tomato, it doesn't make a huge amount of difference to the final product, either roasted or raw is fine, just make sure the puree is pretty fine. I cook the tomato only until the excess water evaporates and then add the mole powder, get it thoroughly combined with the tomato/oil mixture and then start adding whatever liquid I'm using. The tomato provides a little bit more body and texture, it doesn't change the flavor profile very much.
I have 3 mole powders at home one of which I know needs a little bit of sugar to balance it out. I will generally add the sugar to the pan along with the tomato and cook them together before adding the mole powder. You can also add a slice of white onion to the blender when you puree the tomato and then saute before adding the powder.
There are a variety of things you can do to vary the preparation. My suggestion would be to reconstitute you mole powder with water or stock first and see how you like it. The sauce should be balanced with no one flavor predominating and all the ingredients blending together to make a pleasing whole. If water or stock gives you a great product that you're happy with, don't mess with it. If it's not quite to your liking, figure out what isn't working for you, i.e. too sweet, too bitter, flavor lacks depth, etc. Then try varying your prep method using different liquids or the sauteeing ideas above. Most of the mole pastes and powders I've tried don't really need much alteration, maybe just some minor tweaking to accommodate personal tastes.
Good luck, experiment and have fun with it.