Food – Oaxacan classic Red Mole Sauce

Oaxaca, to Mexican food lovers and cooks is to perhaps what Florence is to Art Aficionados. 

laolla2This classic dish (served with rice) is from the restaurant La Olla, in Oaxaca.  Each family recipe is slightly different but we think you’ll really like their version.

La Olla
La Olla

Oaxacan Red Mole Sauce (Mole Coloradito)

This is a lot of work (see notes below) but well worth the effort.  For taste and overall outcome, most would rate this recipe overall 5 out of 5 stars.  But you be the judge!


  • 4 skinless chicken breasts, bone-in.
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 *guajillo chilies
  • 10 red ancho chilies
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 bread rolls, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon marjoram (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup chocolate, cut in pieces
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, divided
  • 10 almonds
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cooked
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • cooked rice(optional)


1. Chicken: Cook in just enough water to cover the breasts (approx. 4-6 cups), with garlic, onion and salt on medium heat for 45 minutes. Check to make sure that the chicken is cooked through.

2.  Mole sauce: 

3. Wash the chiles with a damp cloth, remove the stems of the chiles, slit open with a knife and remove the seeds and veins. Toast the chiles on both sides in large frying pan over high heat, making sure that they do not burn.

4. Soak the chiles in boiling water to soften them for about 10 minute Meanwhile, fry the almonds in 3 tbls. of the shortening on medium heat for 5 min., or until they are a golden color. Take them out and set aside.

5. Next fry the raisins until they puff up and the skin browns a bit, then remove and strain in a sieve. Turn the heat down a bit, and fry the sesame seeds in the same oil, adding a little salt to prevent them from jumping from pan.

6. Once golden, remove and store on an absorbent paper towel. Still in the same oil, fry the slices of bread, until they are golden. Remove and put on an absorbent paper towel. On a dry pan or skittle roast the garlic, onion and tomato until they are nicely toasted with black spots.

7. In a blender, grind the chiles with a half cup of water, and add more water as necessary to blend. Once the mixture is smooth, pour into a saucepan and fry with one tbsp of the shortening for 10 minute on medium heat. Stirring occasionally to ensure that it does not stick to the pan.

8. Next, blend both the roasted and fried ingredients together, until smooth. Blend the tomatoes and strain through a colander and add into the chile mixture. Now add the cinnamon sick, thyme, marjoram(if using) and the oregano. Cook for 5 more minutes. Add the chicken broth, salt, sugar and chocolate on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove cinnamon stick. Cool for 15 minutes. Pour the chicken in a serving dish, serve with rice.laolla4

For the chocolate:

The chocolate mentioned as an ingredient is Oaxacan chocolate not unsweetened or semi-sweet chocolate. Oaxacan chocolate is a mix of Cacao, sugar, cinnamon, and sometimes vanilla so substituting with semi-sweet, unsweetened or similar chocolates will not produce the desired flavor.

If you can get it one of the best is *Chocolate Mayordomo which is excellent but a bit pricey. A distant second would be Chocolate Ibarra or Chocolate La Abuelita both readily available at most large supermarkets in the Latin food sections.

*Guajillo dried chiles, a must for the Mexican pantry. This sweet, thick fleshed chile is used in salsas, chile sauces, soups and stews. Guajillo chiles are available whole, dried or ground. You can substitute 1 teaspoon ground gaujillo for 1 whole chile.

Since this is a lot of work why not double the recipe and save the extra mole for other occasions. Mole freezes exceedingly well.  Make a large batch, divide into single servings and freeze them on a tray before packing in freezer bags.

Good luck. Let me know how it turns out.

Spinach salad with hearts of watermelon and jicama
Spinach salad with hearts of watermelon and jicama




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