Behind the National Dish of Mexico: Mole Poblano

BY: 
Rachel
 | May 31, 2023

Illustration by Nuestro Stories.

Food nourishes our bodies, offers an almost instant feeling of comfort, and holds a special place in the hearts. This means that earning the rank as the “national dish” of a country comes at no easy feat.

Those same complicated emotions of nourishment, comfort, love, and tradition have to be appreciated by a wide swath of the population in order for food to become a national dish. So, when it comes to the national dish of Mexico, it’s no surprise to many that mole poblano has found its way to the top of the list.

Mole poblano is a dish that combines seemingly confusing flavor combinations in a way that, when done properly, makes every taste bud sing.

Originally traced back to the Aztecs, it was once called mulli and was used mostly for ceremonial rituals and special occasions. With a base ingredient of dark, bitter chocolate, as well as nearly 20 other ingredients (if not more depending on the recipe used or any changes made per personal preference), the complicated dish can take hours and hours of preparation. An equal amount of patience is also required.

Read more: Tequila: Unraveling the Mythological Legacy of Mexico’s Beloved Drink

This ‘mole’ takes the crown

There are more than a few varieties of mole to choose from, but in terms of what appears to be the OG, the original, the one passed from generation to generation – mole poblano holds a special place in the hearts of an entire country.

With the summer soon approaching, now would be a perfect time to pick up the recipe. While everyone’s version or process can vary, we suggest you take a look at this recipe here.

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Featured image is from the image Hoja Suelta, by José Guadalupe Posada, 1901.
Featured image: Mexican air force Capt. Radames Gaxiola Andrade stands in front of his P-47D with his maintenance team after he returned from a combat mission. Captain Andrade was assigned to the Mexican air force's Escuadron 201. Members of the Escuadron 201 fought alongside U.S. forces during World War II.
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