Mole Poblano

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Chocolate: The Food of the Gods


By Chantal Coady

Published 1993

  • About

Legend maintains that this classic Mexican recipe was invented by the nuns of Puebla, near Mexico City, for their bishop, hence the name, which means literally ‘of the village’. Although the idea of turkey in chocolate sauce is anathema to most people, it is a really rich, spicy and savoury sauce, not unlike an Indian korma sauce, made with almonds and spices. I like to serve this dish with a mixture of brown rice and wild rice. This version of the recipe is from Patricia Namm, one of the most enthusiastic members of The Chocolate Society.


  • sesame oil for frying
  • 4 ancho chillies
  • 3 pasilla chillies
  • 1 lb (500 g) skinless turkey or chicken scallops (escallops)
  • 1 quart, ( pints/950 ml) vegetable or chicken stock
  • cup (2 oz/50 g) sesame seeds, plus extra for garnishing
  • sea salt
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 whole 5-star anise
  • ½ tsp freshly ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup (1 oz/25 g) best-quality cocoa powder
  • cups (12 oz/350 g) tomato puree (passata), or cups
  • (1 lb/500 g) peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp brown rice syrup
  • 5 whole black peppercorns


Lightly coat the inside of a skillet (frying pan) with sesame oil and fry both types of chillies for 2 minutes, shaking the pan and stirring occasionally so the chillies do not burn. Remove the chillies from the pan and soak them in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes.

Gently poach the turkey or chicken scallops in the stock until just cooked through and slightly firm. Transfer to a glass or enamel dish and cover. Strain the stock into a jug and save for using in the sauce.

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet with a pinch of sea salt until they are aromatic and begin to pop. Grind 1/3 cup (2 oz/50 g) of the sesame seeds in a food processor or blender, reserving the remainder for a garnish. Toast the pumpkin seeds in the same dry skillet.

Combine the sesame and pumpkin seeds with the onion in an enamel saucepan with the sesame oil. Gently sauté for a few minutes, until the onion softens.

Remove the chillies from the bowl, discarding the soaking liquid. Remove the chillies’ stems and seeds, then add them whole to the onion mixture with the 5-star anise, cinnamon, cocoa powder, passata or tomatoes, rice syrup, peppercorns and sea salt to taste. Simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes, adding more stock from the jug if necessary to thin, but the consistency should be quite thick, like satay sauce.

Remove from heat and leave the sauce to cool. Press through a sieve. Pour several tablespoons of the sauce around and over the scallops and leave to stand for at least 1 hour so they absorb the flavour.

To serve, gently reheat the scallops. Heat the remaining sauce and serve it separately. If necessary, thin with a little of the reserved stock. Garnish with extra toasted sesame seeds.