Tasting Table SF: Mole Sauce 


| Recipes | Jessica Battilana

We test and taste every recipe we publish. While we collaborate with a lot of talented chefs, we adapt and tinker with everything in our test kitchen. (It smells really good in here). Our goal is to make sure every recipe works as well in your home kitchen as it does in ours. So go on, get cooking with confidence.


To learn more about this recipe, see our related story, Mexican in Marin, in our San Francisco edition. 

Mole Sauce

Yield: Makes about 12 cups

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • 2 cups vegetable oil

    1 slice white bread, torn into pieces

    1 six-inch corn tortilla, torn into pieces

    1 medium white onion, finely chopped

    1 black (ripe) plantain, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds

    12 peeled garlic cloves

    1 plum tomato, finely chopped

    4 ounces dried chile negro (16 dried chiles)--stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces

    4 ounces dried mulato chiles (8 dried chiles)--stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces

    4 ounces dried ancho chiles (8 dried chiles)--stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces

    ¾ cup raw almonds

    1½ tablespoons raw peanuts

    1½ tablespoons raw walnuts

    1½ tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds

    1 cup tahini (sesame paste)

    One tablet Mexican chocolate (preferably Ibarra brand), roughly chopped

    ¾ cup raisins

    2 tablespoons Kosher salt

    Pinch ground anise seeds

    Pinch ground cinnamon

    Pinch freshly ground black pepper

    ¾ cup sugar

    6 to 7 cups chicken broth or water


1. In a large soup pot set over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering but not smoking, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the bread, tortilla, onion, plantain, garlic and tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the dried chiles to the oil and cook until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, use a food processor to grind the almonds, peanuts, walnuts and pumpkin seeds until fine. Stir the ground nuts and tahini into the chile mixture and cook until the nuts turn golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the chocolate, raisins, 2 tablespoons salt, the anise, cinnamon, black pepper and sugar. Stir in 2 cups chicken broth and continue to cook the sauce, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot often, until the sauce thickens and turns a rich mahogany brown, 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Turn off the heat and cool the sauce for 10 minutes. Transfer about half of the sauce to a blender jar, add 1½ cups chicken broth and blend until smooth, adding more chicken broth or water if needed. Pour into a large, clean pot and repeat with the remaining sauce and more chicken broth.

4. Add enough chicken broth or water to thin the mole to a ketchup-like consistency. Set over medium heat to rewarm. Season with salt to taste. Bake with enchiladas or serve over roast chicken or other roast meat.


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