Isn’t language tricky? This one word “mole” has three distinct meanings when written, but one is pronounced differently than the others. Guess which one I will miss the most, leaving Oaxaca? We basically ate our way through, eating more meals than we ever do, but enjoying it more than we ever do also. I can never get enough of Mexican food, but I certainly tried during this time in Oaxaca.
We learned that mole, the third picture above comes in seven varieties. I did my best to try them all, but they were not available in the restaurants we surveyed.
For the mole ignorant, as I once was, here is a rundown of the types of mole associated with Oaxaca.
- Negro – this is the most common and I have enjoyed this numerous times in various countries. To dark bitter chocolate, there are over a dozen spices added to create a spicy-sweet flavor. This is the mole most common in the US.
2. Red – Sometimes it is called poblano, but it uses less chocolate, though many of the same spices. Chiles such as pasilla, guajillo and ancho are added to this to punch up the flavor, but peanuts and raisins join the mix as well.
3. Coloradito – translates to “a shade of red,” or “on the naughty side,” I prefer the latter. More on the brown side, this mole’s secret is mashed plantain added to a base list of whole spices, onions, garlic, seeds and chocolate.
4. Amarillo – This mole omits the chocolate completely. What fun is that? The sauce is similar to some Indian curries.
5. Verde – Generally I shy away from green sauces only because I have enjoyed the red ones much more. However, I did try some mole verde and enjoyed it immensely. It could be because of the pumpkin seeds added to fresh tomatillos, jalapenos and cilantro. I did sample a couple made with spinach too, which were quite good.
6. Chichilo – These last two never appeared on menus that we found.
7. Manchamantel –
Then there were these and other meals that gained our attention.