Mexican cuisine is described as highly-spirited and flavorful, and in some ways mysterious because its origins are linked to ancient cultures and civilization that disappeared over time. The concoctions of the dishes are not recorded in recipes but were simply taught from generation to generation.
It is said that the first mole was whipped up by a native American Indian whom the Aztecs, and later the Spanish conquistadores, kept unharmed because of her excellent cooking skills. While working as a kitchen help to Spanish nuns in a Dominican convent in Sta. Rosa, the native woman, was given instructions to cook a special sauce for visiting dignitaries, but using only the ingredients available in the convent’s kitchen pantry.
Apparently, the sauce was a hit as thereafter, the early group of colonizers who made Mexico their home, were asking their cooks to combine meat dishes of chicken, goat, beef, pork with different variations of moles. That is why Mexican cuisine is a conglomeration of different influences dating back to ancient indigenous tribes, the ancient people of early Aztec and Mayan civilizations and later the Spanish invaders that colonized the land.
Actually, the native cuisine used only indigenous ingredients like chilli peppers, coconuts, tomatoes, beans, peanuts, and vanilla. What makes Mexican cuisine tastes special are the herbs and spices they expounded to make zesty flavorful moles and condiments.
What is Mole in Mexican Cuisine
The word mole takes root from the Nahuatl term “molli,” which literally means “concoction.” It is used in reference to a wide variety of family sauces cooked in the Puebla and Oaxaca regions in Mexico. Mole is distinguished from ordinary sauces for having a mixture of complex flavors extracted from spices, fruits, condiments and dried chiles.
Most Mexican families have their own versions of mole recipes that are traditionally passed down through generations. However, the most common type of mole widely used in the country is the mole poblano, despite taking long hours to prepare. It requires two dozen more ingredients in addition to the basic mole concoction.
Mole poblano uses a variety of chiles, namely chipotles, anchos, guajillos, and pasillas. A mole poblano has a dark brown color and a rich bittersweet flavor, because the recipe also calls for cocoa to add depth to its vibrant mole taste.
How Does a Regular Mole Taste and Look Like?
Actually, every mole sauce vary in consistency and taste, as some are spicier while others are sweeter; but they all should possess a spicy, smoky, and earthy flavor.
A mole’s texture is characterized as smooth and velvety which can be achieved by proper blending and mixing. The basic ingredients that give mole a richer and thicker consistency are sesame seeds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and toasted almonds.