Dallas, it’s time to wake up and taste the mole. For too many years, you’ve treated any dish served with a mole as if it were an infectious disease. Perhaps poor misunderstood mole needs a Facebook page to get you to like it. Once you’re friends, you can dig deeper into its profile and get familiar with not just mole’s complex personality but some of Mexico’s other spirited ingredients.
You will learn the word “mole” is simply a Spanish term for sauce. Almost every city, town, or street vendor on the plaza of a village has its own variety of mole rooted in the local culture. There are red, yellow, green, rusty brown, and black moles, each a unique concoction started with rehydrated chiles (traditionally a combination of pasilla, ancho, and cascabel) that are thickened with ground nuts, seeds, corn, or bread and seasoned with dozens of herbs. Some moles are based on sweet-and-tangy tomatoes or poblano peppers; others are invigorated by raisins or plums. The dark, dense, and intense mole negro from Oaxaca leaves a mysterious hint of unsweetened chocolate on the palate.