What Makes an Authentic Mexican Mole?

A traditional Mexican mole is a sauce made with chili, coriander, nuts and chocolate, usually served with chicken and rice, which is dark, thick and spicy. The trademark signs of a mole is the rich, deep brown color of the sauce, thanks in part to the use of chocolate.

Although Mexican mole is often associated with chocolate, it is not always used. Some recipes do not include chocolate at all, but because of the common association with chocolate, a mole is often incorrectly translated as chocolate sauce.

There are a number of different mole recipes, with many different prominent flavors and ingredients. Mole negro is perhaps one of the most well known, as it contains chocolate and a number of chiles, including the negro and mulato chiles.

Mole verde uses the well-known jalapeno pepper, along with cilantro and parsley to create a thick green sauce.

Some moles are served on their own, rather as an accompaniment to meat. Mole amarillo is one such example. The sauce is made from cumin, hearty vegetable chunks and a number of chiles, including chilhuacle. The orange-colored mole also contains cloves, and tends to be quite spicy.

Mole rojo, or red mole, is similar to mole negro, but does not use the darker ingredients such as blackened chili stems and may also contain peanuts.