Mole, Mulli, Molli – all names for a Mexican chilli sauce used as the base for many Mexican dishes. The key to good mole is to use many and varying types of chilli to give it that beautiful layered heat. A mole must also be finished with a few squares of good, dark chocolate. In fact the 3 things a mole must include are tomatoes, chocolate and chilli but beyond that there is plenty of room for variation. I’m lucky to have lots of different chilli options thanks to Rox who bought me quite an extensive collection from the wonderful Chilli Pepper Pete’s stall in Brighton.(They are also available online). The cinnamon and star anise also add a really interesting flavour and one which people can rarely put their finger on.
This is no ordinary mince dish. It is lovingly made and slowly cooked to let all the flavours mature. I served mine with sweet potato wedges and kohlrabi coleslaw but it would be equally nice with rice or tacos, sour cream and cheese.
2lb steak mince
1 lb onions, finely chopped
1/2 bulb garlic, minced
Oil for frying
3 tbsp tomato puree
3 tins tomatoes
1 cup black turtle beans, soaked overnight and cooked
100g dark chocolate
1 small tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp star anise
1 tsp smoked paprika
A mixture of whatever chillis you want to put in in amounts that suit your tolerance, I used 1/2 tsp gondal chilli powder, 1/2 tsp dried birdseye chilli flakes and then a small amount each of Byadagi, Mulato, Guntar Sanam, Chipotle and Guajillo which I ground in my spice grinder.
Saute the onions until soft and then add the garlic and do the same but don’t allow either of them to brown. Add the chillis, cinnamon, star anise and smoked paprika cook through for a few mins. Put the minced steak in and cook until it’s all browned off, stirring all the while to avoid clumps. Add the tomato puree and distribute it evenly throughout the meat. Finally, add the blended tinned tomatoes and cook slowly for about an hour until the sauce becomes quite thick and rich. Add the black turtle beans (or whichever beans you’re using) and cook until the beans are heated through and at this point add your salt. Turn the heat off and sit the chocolate on the top of the chilli. Wait. Come back five mins later and it will just stir it in. You will have huge pan full – enough to feed at least eight people but if you don’t have that many mouths to feed, the good news is it will be even better tommorow.