Mexico is known for, among other things, its vibrant art scene, its beaches, as well as its rich culinary culture. The culinary traditions of Mexico began 9,000 years ago, and throughout that period of time, Mexico’s culinary culture has grown and developed in a variety of unique and interesting ways.
While the culinary culture of Mexico is exceptionally diverse – due to the presence of numerous ethnic groups and regional culinary traditions – there is a single dish that exemplifies the culinary traditions that are at the heart of Mexico’s history and culture. This dish is mole, and it is the national dish of Mexico.
Mole – pronounced mo-lay – is a sauce that is known for its dense texture, rich taste, as well as its variety. There are over forty different kinds of mole, and each one tastes just a little different from the others. Despite this diversity, though, every mole usually includes some type of chili, some type of fruit, and some type of nut.
What Is The History Of Mexican Mole?
To this day, the history of mole has remained cryptic and uncertain. No one is truly certain of where mole came from, or how it originated. There are, however, a number of stories and legends that discuss the origins of mole, and where it may have originated.
In 1810, right after the War of Independence, the first recipes for mole were written. But, there are no written records of mole from before that time, and no one knows, with certainty, when mole was first created, or where it came from.
Today, there are two states that both claim to have been the origin point of mole. Puebla and Oaxaca. Both of these states are known for their delicious, and distinct, mole.
There are two legends that tell the story of how mole was first created. No one knows which of these legends, if either, are actually true. But, regardless of their truth, they continue to be told and retold to this day.
The first of these legends tells the story of the Aztec king Moctezuma. Moctezuma saw the conquistadors and assumed that they were Gods. To welcome them, Moctezuma set up a large and elaborate banquet, and the foods that Moctezuma offered the conquistadors were served with mole.
The second legend is set closer to the present, and it involves the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla de los Ángeles. One day, the archbishop of the Convent made a surprise visit, and the nuns had nothing to serve him. In a state of panic, they began praying for guidance.
Right after the nuns prayed, they began mixing a variety of ingredients together, seemingly at random, and then they boiled the ingredients.. From that mixture of ingredients, came mole. When the archbishop received his meal, he was ecstatic!
- No one knows where mole actually came from
- Puebla and Oaxaca both claim to be where mole originated
- One legend states that mole originated as a gift to the conquistadors
- Another legend states that mole originated as a meal for the archbishop of the Convent of Santa Rosa
What Are The Most Common Ingredients Found In Mole?
Since there are so many different kinds of mole, there are a variety of different ingredients that are used for each variation. But, in every type of mole, there are a couple of ingredients that are almost always present. These are ingredients that serve as the basic foundation for the taste and texture of mole. Some mole uses only the ingredients that are about to be described, but many of them use quite a few other ingredients.
As a general rule, every single mole uses nuts, seeds, and dried chiles. Dried chiles are the most important ingredient, but each one of those ingredients serves as the foundation for a rich and delicious mole, and they all serve as a way of creating a very particular taste that is unique to mole. But, every mole is a little different, and most variations use more than just those three ingredients.
Instead of just using nuts, seeds, and dried chiles, certain variations also use a little bit of chocolate. Mole Poblano, Mole Colorado, and Mole Negro, in particular, are three examples of moles that rely on chocolate. But, there are also moles that contain different kinds of fruit, meat, and even fish.
- Every mole contains nuts, seeds, and dried chiles
- Those ingredients serve as the base, leading to a distinct taste
- Variations of mole contain chocolate that is mixed in with seeds, nuts, and dried chiles
- Some moles also blend meat, fruit, and fish together
- There are many different varieties of mole
What Do You Need To Know, When Making Mole?
Mole is generally difficult and time-consuming to make. Due to the sheer number of different mole recipes and variations that exist, there is no “one way” of making mole. Instead, there are a number of different methods for making mole, and plenty of different ingredients that can be used.
In the past, making mole was a very time-consuming and arduous process that was often reserved for special occasions. While that is still the case, you can now buy mole powder and mole paste from various shops and stores, which does make the process easier.
If you are going to be making your own mole, though, then you must understand that the taste is heavily dependent on the chiles that you use. Chiles are found in every mole recipe, and they comprise the base of every mole variation. If you get the chiles right, then this creates a strong base that allows the rest of the mole to taste amazing.
To make the process easier, find a good recipe for the mole that you are going to be making. Then, find the chiles that the recipe describes. Make sure those chiles are fresh and ripe, so that the taste is as strong as it can be.
Using that same recipe, follow the exact steps that have been outlined for how to cook the chiles. More often than not, it will take a while to cook those chiles, but by following those steps, you ensure that the mole tastes great!
- Making mole is time-consuming and sometimes arduous
- Chiles serve as the base for every mole
- Make sure to use fresh chiles, so that the mole tastes great
- Follow a recipe and the exact steps for how to cook the chiles
- This ensures the rest of the mole tastes great