You're Missing Out If You're Not Ordering Mexican Food With Mole

Chips and salsa is the oh-so-classic appetizer that everyone looks forward to when sitting down at their go-to Mexican restaurants. Tacos, burritos, and quesadillas usually make an appearance alongside salsa on the menus of most American Mexican restaurants. However, it seems certain dishes did not travel as popularly across the border, and that includes Mexico's unofficial national dish, mole.

Mole, pronounced MOH-lay, is a complexly-flavored, labor-intensive sauce that is most famous in the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Puebla, according to Culture Trip. The site notes the name mole derives from the Nahuatl word, "mōlli," meaning sauce. It is a blanket name for the dozens of variations of mole, each version having its own unique name and ingredients list. 

These sauces can take anywhere from several hours to many days to cook. As per Taste of Home, one of the reasons for this is many moles can have as many as 30 ingredients that all have to be prepared in individual ways. However, the time investment is definitely worth it. Once the ingredients are ground together, they all layer and blend together in the most beautifully complex way.

If you've never been lucky enough to try this sweet and earthy sauce, then let us introduce you to it.

The sweet and spicy crowd pleaser

While some argue mole is an acquired taste, there's definitely a variation out there for everyone. The taste of moles is usually described as a little spicy, nutty, and earthy, as moles usually contain a combination of nuts, fruits, and chilis, as per Culture Trip. Onion, garlic, chocolate, and certain seeds are also common additions. Moles can come in a variety of colors, but the chocolate brown color is the most iconic.

While there are dozens of varieties to try, mole poblano is likely the most popular variation. Also known as red mole, this sweet and spicy variation originated in Puebla region and is widely known as the national dish of Mexico. Its distinct flavor is the result of using a lot of chilies, dried fruit, nuts, and less chocolate.

Mole sauce is great to order at restaurants because it can complement so many different dishes. According to Mexicali, mole is typically paired with chicken-based dishes, but it also complements beef or enchiladas. It adds a fantastic richness to these dishes. Although, there is no wrong way to serve mole. Whether you enjoy it on a bed of rice or piling it on an already-overloaded tortilla, your new-found obsession with mole is likely here to stay.

Now that you're familiar with this iconic sauce, don't be shy to order it on your next Mexican food outing. It is a sauce definitely worth discovering.