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Mole Negro Zapoteco

Mole Negro Zapoteco

This mole negro zapoteco recipe comes to us courtesy of chef Israel Mendozalendes in the small village of San Martin Tilcajete in the Oaxacan valley of Mexico.

In his restaurant, Azucena Zapoteca, Israel serves a mole that he prepares in adherence with generations of culinary tradition. His grandmother passed on the recipe to him.

Like all true moles, this recipe is simple but requires time. Once prepared, mole negro will keep for many days in the refrigerator or for months in the freezer. This recipe can therefore be enjoyed again and again. The key to success is simply a matter of time.


1 bag of Zapotecan Mole Negro Spices

2 tomatoes

4 tomatillos or 1 more tomato

1 onion

4 cloves of garlic

½ cup vegetable oil

¼ plantain or ¼ banana, not too ripe

1 corn tortilla

3 tbsp peanuts

15 almonds

5 Tbsp raisins

6 branches of cilantro

4-8 cups chicken stock

2 oz. bitter chocolate

4.5 lbs. boiled turkey or chicken


  1. 1

    Remove the seeds from the Ancho chilies (the largest in the bag) and set them aside.

  2. 2

    In a heavy pan on medium heat, dry roast the Anchos until they are well-toasted.

  3. 3

    Dry roast the Ancho seeds until they are very dark. Do not let them burn. Set aside.

  4. 4

    Remove and discard the seeds from the other chilies. In a pan, roast all the chilies in the same method as the Anchos (Step 2).

  5. 5

    In a bowl, place all the roasted chilies and cover with hot water.

  6. 6

    In the pan, toast the mole negro spices until fragrant.

  7. 7

    In a grinder or with a mortar and pestle, grind the spices with the blackened Ancho chile seeds.

  8. 8

    In a heavy pan on medium heat, toast the avocado leaves.

  9. 9

    In a pan or on a grill, roast the tomatoes, garlic tomatillos and onion until they turn black (approx. 8 minutes).

  10. 10

    Grill the tortilla until it becomes black. Soak with the chilies.

  11. 11

    In a pan, heat the oil and fry the banana or the plantain. Remove from heat.

  12. 12

    Using the same oil, fry the cinnamon and the dry raisins. Remove from heat when raisins begin to swell.

  13. 13

    Using the same oil, fry the almonds until golden. Repeat with peanuts. Set aside the pan with the oil.

  14. 14

    Drain the tortilla and the chilies and place in a food processor. Save the chili water. Grind until rendered to a fine purée (approx. 5 minutes). Add the chili water if necessary.

  15. 15

    Add the cinnamon, raisins, banana or plantain, spices, almonds and the peanuts to the food processor. Continue grinding for another 2 minutes.

  16. 16

    Add the coriander and the grilled vegetables. Grind for another 2-3 minutes.

  17. 17

    Heat the pan with the oil on medium heat. Add the mole paste from the food processor. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Ensure the paste does not burn.

  18. 18

    Add enough chicken stock to make a thick sauce.

  19. 19

    Add the chocolate to the sauce. Add the toasted avocado leaves. Reduce to low heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Stir often to ensure the sauce does not burn. Salt to taste.

  20. 20

    Add the cooked chicken or turkey pieces. Reheat the meat slowly.