Last week there was a little impromptu party at a local Mexican restaurant. Staying true to my quest to try as many new chocolates (or chocolate-related foods) as possible, I bypassed my favorite dish (chimichangas), resisted the temptation to say “make that two” when the orders for burritos, tacos, chipotle chicken, & nachos swirled around me, and ordered Pechuga de Pollo con Mole Poblano.
That is (and I am taking liberty with the translation) chicken with a sauce that included chocolate.
Photo Credit: Pati Jinich
There are a multitude of variations when it comes to mole. Not all include chocolate. Chili peppers are the common factor, and all moles usually end up being a spicy brown or dark red sauce served over meat.
The mole I ordered looked pretty much exactly like the one pictured, chicken with dark red sauce and seeds, served with beans and rice. All eyes were upon me as I took my first bite, as my choice was the most “exotic” of the afternoon.
The verdict: Mole is sweet and very spicy. Not spicy-hot (at least this particular one), but full of a a variety of spices. (Mole generally has at least 20 ingredients and can easily include more than thirty, including several kinds of peppers, chocolate, cumin, anise, dried fruit, etc.) Chocolate was not the predominate flavor (in fact, I was hard pressed to taste any chocolate).
I like sweet and spicy chicken, but next time my order for sweet and spicy chicken will include orange sauce & sesame seeds (at a Chinese restaurant!). I’m not so mad about mole; too many spices made the dish a little too “busy”.
Interesting fact: After I had passed the mole around for everyone to taste, I took a few more bites and decided aloud that mole “tasted like a Middle Eastern or Oriental spice shop smells”. Someone immediately reported that my sister had just said the exact same thing, only she was at the far end of the large table and I hadn’t heard her. We have a habit of saying the exact same thing at the exact same time!
From now on, I’ll take my chocolate in a more solid and familiar form, like these…pretty please and thank you.