In pre-Hispanic times, the náhuatl word “molli o mulli” was the generic name for a number of sauces.
The famous guacamole is an example of one of those, the word comes from the náhuatl term “Ahuacamolli”, a sauce made from mashed avocados (Ahuacatl) which were already consumed in Mexico before the arrival of the Spaniards. Today we use the term Mole to refer to the dishes prepared using different mixtures of dry chilies and species and served over different kinds of meats.
Of course we have the famous mole poblano, that many people have tasted or at least heard of it, but we also have a number of moles named after their color such as the green, white, yellow, coloradito (reddish), black and prieto (extra dark). In addition, we have the tasty mole de olla (pot), and other regional moles such as “el michoacano”. It’s quite interesting to imagine that all of these recipes evolved over the culinary history of Mexico and nowadays they incorporate Mexican ingredients like chilies with ingredients from other parts of the world that arrived after in Mexico after 1492 and nowadays are an integral part of the Mexican cuisine. To go deep into this topic, let’s expand on the origin of the ingredients of 3 Mole recipes that use chocolate as a key ingredient:
Most of the people consider it as the most authentic of the Moles, and it’s claimed to be the original one, but who knows the truth….Anyway, we’ll leave this topic for another time. Its preparation includes chili ancho, mulato, pasilla and chipotle, along with tomatoes, almonds, banana, nuts, raisins, sesame seeds, clove, cinnamon, parsley, pepper, onion, and of course chocolate.
Mole Oaxaqueño or Mole Negro
It comes with 6 different kinds of chili peppers: chilhuacle, mulato, pasilla, ancho, guajillo and chipotle and its roasted seeds. It also includes plantains, raisins, ginger, onion, garlic, tomatoes, green tomatoes, almonds, nuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds, peanuts, clove, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, thyme, oregano, marjoram, avocado leaves, bread, tortillas, and of course chocolate.
It’s prepared with chili ancho, cinnamon, sesame seeds, oregano, garlic, tomatoes and chocolate.
Apart from the chocolate, these three types of Moles also incorporate some other ingredients native to the Mesoamerican region, like the chilies and the Jitomatoes (the Mexican tomatoes). The Mole Oaxaqueño recipe also includes other Mesoamerican products: peanuts, avocado leafs and tortillas. The other ingredients of these recipes arrived in Mexico after the Spanish conquest: the pepper, plantain, ginger, onion, garlic, nuts, raisins, almonds and cinnamon came from different countries of Asia. From Africa arrived the sesame, thyme, oregano and the bread.
All the recipes used to prepare these mouthwatering and traditional Mexican dishes result from the slow process of independent culinary evolution that took place various regions of Mexico. This process started in pre-Hispanic times and has been refined over the years as the Mexican cuisine has been enriched with the incorporation of ingredients from other parts of the world. Therefore, I consider the mole to be a clear reflection of our history and an example of our “Mexicanidad” (a word that tries to define/describe Mexican identity). In Onilikan, Artisanal Liqueurs of Mazatlán, we have developed our own version of Mole Oaxaqueño by adding to the ingredient list our Mango Spirit, that helps amalgamate complex flavors and we fondly called OniliMole (delicious). I am sure that the Mole recipes will continue to evolve as long as we continue experimenting with flavors. So the next time you try a mole I encourage you to ask about the ingredients it contains and where is it from that will help you not only enjoy the taste but also will give you an appreciation of its history and even its story. To finish, we want to share with you a link from YouTube related to this topic. Hope you enjoy it!
Lila Downs “La Cumbia Del Mole”
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