Photo: Lucia’s mole and chocolate (sold at La Cosecha on Fridays/Satudays)
Mole — rhymes with Olé! — is a rich, smooth sauce and a chief component in many of Mexico’s signature dishes.
The most well-known mole sauce in Oaxaca is the black (negro) variety, which includes spices and chocolate. To many Oaxacans, mole negro is the only mole. The other ‘moles’ are in a secondary class.
Beyond the black sauce, there is red (rojo), yellow (amarillo), deep red (coloradito) and green (verde). Pipián can be red or green and is made from ground pumpkin seeds. Less well known and usually made to order are rarer varieties, such as manchamanteles, castillo, estofado and chichilo.
The word ‘mole’ comes from the Nahuatl word ‘molli,’ meaning concoction, stew or sauce.
Tip: If the black mole is too strong, you can add a little bit of Oaxacan chocolate.
Segueza or Ciguesa
When and where mole was first concocted is a matter of some controversy. Oaxacans like to claim the invention as their own. Another story is that mole was developed in a convent in Puebla City in the 1680s.
Tips on buying mole – Many restaurants and markets sell a concentrated version of mole. Just add chicken broth and a dash of oil.
Buying mole in the market? Look to the chicken vendors (expendios de pollo)
Tips on eating mole in Oaxaca – Inquire about your mole options.
Tips on purchasing mole – You can purchase mole as a powder or as a paste (that can be reconstituted with broth). If you purchase the paste, make sure to double or triple bag it for transportation.
Tips on reconstituting mole
Where to buy mole in Oaxaca City
Mole is sold at many stores and markets in Oaxaca City and for the most part, anything is much better than what is available abroad.
Favorites include the mole from Señora Lucia (Chocoluchy), who sells at the La Cosecha Market on Fridays and Saturdays.
Where to eat mole in Oaxaca City and nearby
Favorite mole on the menu dispensaries include Comala, Lulaa and other restaurants and markets.
A few words about tamales
Mole is a popular sauce in tamales. It’s easy to find tamales with mole negro, amarillo and verde. The mole negro tamales often are wrapped in banana leaves.
Si comes mole y no te manchas, es que no lo has disfrutado.
Soy el chile de todos los moles
Tu eres el ajonjoli de todos los moles = You are a meddling pain in the ass
¡A darle que es mole de olla! Y se refiere a hacer algo con buen ánimo (comer mole por ejemplo).
Where to find other moles in Mexico
Puebla – Mole Poblano
Merida, Yucatan – Chimole
Guerrero – Pozole de Mole Verde
Estado de México, Milpa Alta – Mole dishes galore, even a festival
? – Mole almendrado (almond mole)
Ajo (Garlic) – Ajonjolí (sesame seeds) – Almendra (Almonds) – Ancho Chiles – Cacahuates (Peanuts) – Canela (Cinnamon) – Caserola (Casserole Dish) – Chichilo – Chihuacle Negro – Chiahuacle Rojo – Chiles – Chile en nogada – Chocolate – Cilantro – Coloradito – Conejo (Rabbit) – Embarrada – Enmolada – Estofado – Epazote – Frijol (Bean) – Guajillo Chiles – Guajalote (Turkey) – Hoja de Rabano (Radish Leaf) – Lechuga (Lettuce) – Maiz (Corn) – Manchamanteles – Mezcal – Miltomate (Tomatillo) – Mi Mero Mole (The Real Deal) – Mitos (Myths) – Mole – Mole Crudo – Mole de Caderas – Mole de Gato – Mole de Olla – Mole Negro (Black Mole) – Mole Amarillo (Yellow Mole) – Mole Verde (Green Mole) – Mole Rojo (Red Mole) – Opciones (Options) – Pasilla Oaxaqueña Chiles – Pasta (Paste) – Perejil (Parsley) – Pipian – Pollo (Chicken) – Polvo (Powder) – Reconstuir (Reconstitute) – Segueza – Tamales – Tomate (Tomato) – Tortilla