How To Make Mole

Chicken mole and rice

In case you’re wondering, the title does NOT refer to creating a small gopher-like animal or any dish containing it. No, mole is a delicious traditional Mexican sauce. In fact, it’s so traditional that the name derives from an Aztec word that just means ‘sauce’. The most popular type hails from Puebla, Mexico which gives its name to the full description: mole poblano.

The basic ingredients are straightforward enough, though some of them may require a bit of digging to locate.

Mole Sauce Recipe


  • 3 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 short French roll
  • 2 very ripe plantains (dark)
  • 3 oz Mexican chocolate
  • 5 plum tomatoes
  • 6 ancho chiles
  • 3 pastilla chiles
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tbsp almonds
  • 4 tbsp peanuts
  • 4 tbsp pecans
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 5 tbsp raisins
  • 8 pepper corns
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp anise
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 4 tbsp pork lard

There’s quite a bit of preparation to make a fine mole, but the effort is worth it, as a taste of the results will prove.

Grind up all the chiles, as well as the cumin and anise, very finely. Set them aside. Grind up the nuts to small chunks, but not powder.

Sauté the nuts in the pork lard. If you prefer something less heavy use vegetable or canola oil. Then sauté the raisins in the same oil. In a fresh skillet, sauté the plantains in pork lard or oil until they’ve gone slightly crispy. Then sauté the bread in the same skillet.

Mix the vegetables together with the sautéed plantains and add 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth. You can use a blender or stir well with a spoon or mixer, then strain the result. Strain the chile mix to remove any seeds, stir well, then add the result to the vegetable mix.

Make a paste by mashing the bread and tortillas well, then add them in too. Add 2 cups of chicken stock. Add another cup of chicken stock to the ground nuts and blend that in.

Finally, melt the chocolate and add it to this soupy mixture and stir well. Now, for the hard part. Stir almost continuously for about 2 hours.

This can be done by trading places among several people, or you can set a mixer on very low speed, preferably one that has a computerized timer so it can be turned off and on every few minutes for a few seconds. But you’ll need a mixer with a heating element since the blend also needs to be cooked over low heat while it is stirred.

The result is enough to spread on dishes for a dozen diners and will keep well in the refrigerator for a week.

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