Mole is often made over three days. On the first day, the focus is on gathering ingredients. The second day is for cooking and letting the flavors meld together overnight. On the third day, it is heated and served. This recipe is adapted from a list of ingredients provided by La Guelaguetza.

  • 20 Chilhuacle Negro chiles
  • 1 medium stick Mexican canela (cinnamon)
  • 5 whole allspice berries
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 ripe plum tomatoes, cored and cut in half
  • 2 tomatillos, husk peeled, cored, and cut in half
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 large ripe plantain, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 8 cups warm chicken or vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 corn tortilla
  • 4 cups diced egg-yolk bread
  • (or brioche)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 avocado leaves
  • 4 ounces Mexican chocolate, chopped (around 1 cup chopped)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste, if needed

Makes 3½ quarts, or 28 half-cup servings. Sauce can be frozen.


Gather ingredients. Measure out the canela, allspice, cloves, cumin, and oregano. Place them in a small, covered bowl. Measure and place almonds and pumpkin seeds in a small, covered bowl. Put the sliced garlic and onion in a covered container in the fridge. Place halved tomatoes, tomatillos, and plantain in a covered container in the fridge. Place tortilla and bread in a covered bowl. Measure raisins and place in a small bowl. Place avocado leaves and chopped chocolate in a small bowl. If you are using homemade broth, make it today.


  1. Carefully break off the stems and shake out the seeds for each chile. If the chiles have a bit of moisture, use kitchen shears to snip stems and slice through the center of each chile to release the seeds.
  2. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Toast chiles in a single layer, working in batches, approximately five minutes on each side. This will allow them to toast evenly and thoroughly, but not completely burn. The inside of the chiles should turn a dark reddish brown, but not black. Transfer them to a large bowl and cover them with hot water. Place a bowl or plate on top to ensure they stay submerged. Soak for a half hour before draining. Reserve.
  3. In a dry skillet over medium heat, gently toast the spices for a few minutes, until you begin to smell their aroma. Transfer to a high-speed blender and pulverize the mixture into a powder. Leave it in the blender.
  4. Pour almonds and pumpkin seeds into the same skillet over medium heat. Toast the nuts until they are nicely browned. Add to the blender with the spices. Don’t blend yet.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and slowly cook until caramelized, approximately half an hour. Transfer mixture to the blender with the spices and nut mixture. Don’t blend yet.
  6. Wipe out the skillet. Turn the heat to medium-high and place the plum tomatoes, tomatillos, raisins, and plantain halves in a single layer, cut-side down. Let these cook untouched for around 15 minutes until charred on the bottom. Turn off heat. Use a wooden spoon to smash them and carefully pour in 4 cups of broth, scraping the skillet. Add this mixture to the blender. Don’t blend yet.
  7. Use the oven broiler (or an outdoor grill) to deeply toast, almost blacken, the tortilla and bread on all sides. Add to the blender. Blend for 3 to 5 minutes until silky smooth. Reserve.
  8. Add the soaked chiles to the empty, unwashed blender. Add just enough water so the chile puree moves continuously through the blender. Blend for 3 to 5 minutes until silky smooth. Reserve.
  9. Place a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add ¼ cup of oil. After a minute, add the chile puree and cook, stirring continuously until the mixture is thickened and resembles tomato paste. Add the blended mixture to the chile paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for around five minutes. Now add avocado leaves, chocolate, and remaining 4 cups of broth.
  10. Bring the mole to a simmer, then cover and cook for around 3 hours. Check on it periodically, giving it a stir. At the end of cooking, season with salt to taste and sugar if needed. Let cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge to cool completely.


Reheat mole in a saucepan until it’s warmed through and serve with poached chicken, braised beef, or pork, along with tortillas, rice, and beans. At La Guelaguetza, the Salazar brothers garnish their mole dishes with sesame seeds.

This recipe originally appeared in "Gift Exchange" by Marianne Sundquist.