Holy Mole

On the third day of chili grinding (see Making Mole Sauce and Making Mole in the Modern World) the chili-nut-fruit mixture was still not ground to Liz’s satisfaction and so I kidnapped every grinding machine I could find in Joel’s well equipped kitchen and brought them to her house.


Then we got an assembly line going – using one grinder until it started to overheat and then switching to another.  BTW – the best grinder in our assortment was the small white one on the right (a Grup).  I’m happy to say that no grinders were permanently damaged.  Finally we had a Costco-size pretzel jar full of perfectly ground mole powder!


Above is pork mole with sourdough bread and my share of the mole powder. It should last a year.

Liz then added a cup of the mole powder to 8 ounces of tomato sauce and sauteed the mixture with a cup of chicken broth and grated chocolate to taste. Please note, if you use dark, dark chocolate you may want to add sugar to prevent bitterness which we did.

The mole was divine.  Worth every blister!


Liz’s Paternal Grandmother’s recipe – Note the final step – “Then take all ingredients to a mill and have it ground!” No shit!!!!!!!!


Last night I made chicken mole with the commercially made powder for a taste test.  Aside from being a little sweeter than the homemade, it was also excellent.

When Liz enrolled her son for kindergarten she told the principal that he was bilingual, that English was his second language. The woman countered by saying she didn’t think it would be too much of a “problem.” A problem, Liz thought, seething.   Of course, it wasn’t a problem a few months later when the son of a Venezuelan ambassador interviewed at the school and they needed a translator.

Stereotyping by political buffoons  “Mexicans are all rapists” may seem like merely the ranting of an opportunist but unfortunately it’s far more pervasive in our society than we blush-faced Euro-types want to admit.  And don’t get me started on racism. 

And while I’m at it, next time:  My Pakistani Nanny.  


Making Mole Sauce


Liz and I on another of our adventures – coaching softball, something about which we knew NOTHING!

When my friend Liz announced she was going to make mole (pronounced mole-lay) I offered to help. The process of making mole takes at least a day, even in Mexico where there are special mills for chili grinding so I saw this as a chance for us to spend some time together. You see, her life is in constant flux and I’m always writing, blogging or taking care of my elderly mother so mole-making would force us each to take a day off just for ourselves. In fact, Liz is so busy I half expected something to come up which would postpone our adventure, maybe forever.  But, miracle of miracles, it did not.

Here’s what a commercially made mole looks like:


It’s actually a powder which, before serving, is mixed with crushed tomatoes and freshly grated dark chocolate and then served over meat (generally turkey).  I suppose it could be served over cheese enchiladas, for you vegetarians, but from what I’ve read, it was originally developed to disguise the taste of bad meat.

The last time Liz made mole was in Mexico with her aunt.  At that time they’d roasted the chiles and de-seeded them before taking them to a professional chili grinder. Her aunt was from Puebla, one of the cities claiming to be the mole capital of the world.


This is a BIG bowl of roasted poblano chiles – it took us an hour and a half to slice and de-seed all these buggers!

By the time I’d driven to her house, Liz had already roasted the chiles over her gas range. The smell of burning chiles hung over the small enclave of houses on the hill where she’s lived peacefully for twenty five years.

However it wasn’t always a peaceful co-existence. The day she moved in there was a knock at the door. A middle-age woman stood on her welcome mat, a disconcerted look on her face. “You don’t look like a Mexican!”

Without missing a beat Liz fired back: “Well, let me go get my sombrero and serape! Then maybe I’ll look like a fucking Mexican.”

I think the neighbors got the point.

Step One: Preparing the Chiles:

Without much adieu we set to the task of pulling apart the chiles to remove the seeds. You don’t want to leave the seeds in as they are as hot as Hades and they do not grind properly. While we processed the chiles we gossiped and giggled and complained about our husbands, the key ingredients of mole making.

Here’s what our fingers looked like after all that work.


Luckily it washed off.

Next came the task of grinding the chiles to powder. Unfortunately we don’t have any nearby professional chili grinders. Here’s what we had:


Traditional tool used to make mole. You’ve got to be kidding Liz!

It took about two seconds before we realized neither of us had the wrist strength of Liz’s ancestors.

We had to come up with another plan. Next: Grinding Chiles in the Modern World.  In the meantime – chiles are just one of the twenty or so ingredients used in mole. Without googling, can you guess some of them?