The great thing about cooking for a group of people is that I get to learn from them. If I attempt to make a Filipino dish, I can seek advice from someone who's mom used to make the dish when they were a kid. I gather the information and make my own version, trying to put a unique spin on the recipe. Today's project is mole Rojo. I've only made mole once in culinary school and remember it to be tedious but delicious. With the help of several Hispanic ladies, I recreated a version of the original mole Rojo and came up with this absolutely scrumptious sauce. Yes, the directions seem endlessly long (imagine cooking this for 50 people like I did!) but the end result was absolutely worth it.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
From what I gathered from speaking to others who make mole themselves, there are many different variations of mole rojo. Depending on the household, people put different nuts, peanut butter, and even add raisins to the mix. My recipe is based on a little bit of each of the ladies I spoke to, resulting in a different but still very delicious sauce.
Start by frying the chiles. I used a combination of dried pasilla, guajillo, and Anaheim chilies but the combinations are endless. The chiles do fry quickly so keep an eye on them. You know they are ready when they puff up and change color. Remove the chilies from the oil and soak them in hot water, placing a weight on top to keep them submerged. After about 30 minutes, the chilies should have softened nicely.
When you are ready to blend the chilies, put the whole chile, seed and stems included. You're going to strain the mixture so these parts will be discarded.
Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients. Roast the tomatillos in the oven until they are soft and lightly charred. Toast the almonds and garlic in the saute pan and blend those together with the tomatillos, pepitas, sesame seeds, spices, toasted white bread, and Mexican chocolate.
Now time for the actual cooking. The chiles need to reduce and thicken for about 30 minutes. Be careful when stirring the sauce since it does pop. You know when it has reached the right consistency when you can drag your spatula through it and the sauce leaves a clear trail.
Add the remaining ingredients and let it cook for another 2 hours. Your kitchen should be smelling heavenly right about now. When the sauce is done, the mole will be thick enough to coat a spoon. Give the sauce a taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
You can serve this mole sauce with steak, use it for enchiladas, or serve with fried eggs for a hearty breakfast as I did. Experiment with different ingredients and make this mole your own!
Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.