May 24, 2010

Mole Verde

You can buy jars of Doña Maria mole in the grocery store in Canada. It's a thick brown paste of Pumpkin Seeds, Soybean Oil, Crackers, Sesame Seeds, Peanuts, Salt, Chile Peppers and Natural Flavors.(?!) I knew an authentic mole has a lot more going for it, but considering the labour of first compiling , then combining a long list of ingredients,  not to mention the toasting of  nuts and chiles etc., I went for the jar instead, which I might add, once emptied made a nice drinking glass for my morning glass of juice. At the time it was such a novelty.
But now that I am here in Mexico, I would be remiss if I skipped out on making a true mole. And since I had never even considered that there might be a mole other than the dark brown stuff I was used to. I was pleased to be introduced to this fruity green version, a Queretaro Green Mole, the recipe from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen: Recipes and Techniques of a World-Class Cuisine
What I guess ties together all moles is the sheer number of ingredients required to make them. Let's just say it's not uncommon for 30-some ingredients to be required–cutting back simply results in a less complex sauce. Nuts, seeds and chiles also are a common bond between moles. This green mole, unique to the central Mexico region it is named for, also includes fruit-plump golden raisins, ripe plantain– and greens including the ubiquitous cilantro, parsley and romaine. The resulting flavours are indescribable: mild heat from roasted poblanos, depth from the toasted nuts, and a fresh light fruitiness– rather than being rich, it is intense and complex.

It's a good few hours' work to toast, roast, puree and cook the mole, but it keeps well frozen and is delicious with chicken, fish or shrimp, or pork. A good blender such as the classic Oster, popular in Mexican kitchens where the "licuadora" is most often the only small appliance to be found, is key as well.

If you want to try authentic Mexican, eschew the
cute juice glass jar, and invest a few hours in the roasting and toasting, and your home will be filled with the delicious smells of the true Mexican Kitchen.

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