Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about

    8 cups

Appears in

Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico


By Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral

Published 2019

  • About

There is a joke that goes around that Mexicans can’t eat anything without dousing it in lime juice. For, me this mole is that dish. The lime adds so much to the toasty, bitter flavors of this mole made from borderline-burned ancho chiles. I usually eat this savory mole with chicken and a side of raw serranos in lime juice and sea salt. It’s a flavor bomb.


  • ounces (100 g) ancho chiles, plus 1 tablespoon of the chile’s seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 whole cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice berries, about 8
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons (25 g) sesame seeds
  • 8 cups (2 l) chicken stock
  • 1 (2-inch/5 cm) cinnamon stick
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 large onion (170 g), quartered
  • 2 hoja santa leaves
  • 10¾ ounces (300 g) fresh masa
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt


Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).

Remove the stems from the chiles, make a slit on the side of each chile, and open with your fingertips to remove the veins and seeds, reserving 1 tablespoon of chile seeds.

Toast the chiles in the oven for 10 minutes, turning at the 5-minute mark to make sure both sides get evenly toasted. Let cool.

In a skillet over medium heat, add the reserved seeds and purposely burn them in the skillet.

In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the cups (1 L) of water to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and add the toasted chiles and seeds to rehydrate. Leave for 30 minutes or until the chiles have softened. When the chiles are tender, drain chiles from the water and reserve 3 cups of the chile soaking liquid for later.

Meanwhile, bring a comal or dry skillet to medium heat and individually toast the oregano, cumin, cloves, allspice, and thyme. Place all toasted ingredients in a molcajete or spice grinder and grind until finely ground. Toast sesame seeds separately and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the chicken stock to a simmer.

In a blender, combine the chiles, cinnamon, garlic, onion, hoja santa, sesame seeds, ground spices, and cups (360 ml) of the reserved chile soaking water. Blend until smooth. When smooth, add the remaining cups (360 ml) of chile water and the masa. Blend that until smooth, too.

Add this masa mixture to the simmering chicken stock. Add salt, raise the heat, and cook for 15 minutes while stirring constantly. The mole is ready to serve.