Red mole

Red mole

750 ml
Chris Middleton

Mole (pronounced mo-lay, and meaning sauce) is the unique culinary symbol of Mexico. It comes in various colours and flavours and is often spiced with exotic chillies, chocolate, nuts, fruits and spices. Mole originates from two main areas of Mexico – Oaxaca and Puebla. I am a big mole fan. It may seem like a daunting sauce because of the unusual ingredients, but it’s really a one-pot dish. Once you’ve mastered the sauce you can use it for a myriad of dishes, simple or complicated. This mole has a more complex and deeper flavour than the quick red mole, which follows. The main difference is the inclusion of the mulato, ancho and pasilla chillies, known as the ‘holy trinity’ by passionate Mexican cooks. The dried chillies are important to the authentic flavours of Mexican food.


Quantity Ingredient
250g tinned or fresh tomatillos, drained if tinned or outside leaves removed if fresh
4 garlic cloves
50g sesame seeds
50g blanched almonds
35g dried mulato chillies
35g dried pasilla chillies
35g fresh or dried jalapeno or poblano chillies
80ml vegetable oil
85g raisins
1 tablespoon Mexican spice blend
1.25 litres chicken stock
1 thick slice day-old, crusty white bread
50g bitter chocolate, roughly chopped
50ml agave syrup
50ml sherry vinegar
sea salt, to taste
hot sauce, if you like your mole extra-hot


  1. Preheat an overhead grill (broiler) to high.
  2. Place the tomatillos and garlic on a grill tray and grill (broil), turning occasionally, for 10–15 minutes, until soft and charred black. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Dry-fry the sesame seeds in a medium frying pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until golden. Repeat with the almonds. Combine with the tomatillos and garlic.
  4. Remove the stalks and roughly chop the chillies, retaining the seeds.
  5. Heat the oil in a medium heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Gently fry the chillies for 2–3 minutes, until they begin to colour. Add the raisins and spice blend and cook until fragrant. Pour in 1 litre of the stock, add the charred tomatillos, garlic, sesame seeds and almonds, bread and chocolate. Gently simmer for 45 minutes, or until reduced to a thick sauce.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and process, gradually adding the remaining stock, to make a smooth sauce. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing and rubbing with the back of a spoon to ensure all of the sauce passes through.
  7. Combine the agave syrup and vinegar in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium–low heat, until reduced to a caramel. Add the caramel to the sauce and stir to combine. Season with salt. If you prefer your mole hotter, adjust with hot sauce.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Paul Wilson
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