Throughout the month of June, Tenangos at The Shoppes at Palmilla will be hosting a “Mole Festival,” to celebrate and showcase the traditional regional dish. Mole is the general name for a number of sauces used in a Mexican dish. The various types of sauces come in a rainbow of colors with chili peppers being the consistent ingredient in all. Generally, the ingredients of mole can fall into five different categories: chiles, sour, sweet, spices and thickeners. The ingredients are roasted or ground and then mixed with water or broth and simmered until thick. While the colors of mole range from red, yellow, white and more, the classic mole is a dark red or brown sauce usually served over meat, called mole poblano. Different regions in Mexico claim to be the founders of mole, including Oaxaca, which Tenangos will focus on by proudly serving the famous “7 moles of Oaxaca.” In addition to the tasty seven listed below, Tenangos will also feature either white mole or pink mole.
1. Negro: This is the mole that often comes to mind when the Mexican dish is mentioned. This savory-sweet mole is a dark color and is made up of onion, garlic, whole spices like cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and cumin, dried chiles, pumpkin and sesame seeds, herbs like hoja santo and cilantro. Bread is also added and sometimes dried fruit for extra sweetness. This mole also has lots of dark, bitter chocolate.
2. Rojo: Mole poblano, as its also known, is similar to negro with less chocolate and the addition of different kinds of dried red chile as well as raisins and almonds or peanuts. This mole also adds browned chicken, beef or pork and is stewed until nice and tender.
3. Coloradito: This brown-colored sauce features mashed plantains to its base ingredients of whole spices, onions, garlic, seeds and chocolate.
4. Amarillo: This mole is void of any sweet flavors. Sans chocolate, this sauce is similar in taste to Indian curry and its base is made up of ingredients used in the previous sauces and is versatile in an assortment of Mexican dishes.
5. Verde: Often found in chicken-based dishes, this bright green mole features lots of pumpkin seeds which attributes to its green hue. Fresh tomatillos, jalapenos and cilantro also make up the list of key ingredients for this mole.
6. Chichilo: Focusing on beefy flavor, rich beef stock is mixed with dried chiles de arbol, anchos and guajillos and then blended with slow-cooked garlic and onions. Masa harina, lime-cured corn flour, or crushed fresh tortillas are then used to thicken this dark, spicy sauce.
7. Manchamantel: This bright red sauce features lots of flavorful ingredients like red chorizo grease, tomatoes and ancho chiles, pineapples and plantains. Manchamantel hits all the flavor notes of sweet, spicy and fruity.