Margarita's International Recipes
Mole de Cacahuate
Moles, thick sauces served over a variety of meats, are one of Mexico's most traditional dishes. They come in a variety of flavors, though most include chilis. This recipe for peanut mole comes from Guanajuato, though similar moles are eaten in other parts of Mexico.
Interestingly, I found this mole to taste very similar to the peanut stews and sauces that are so prevalent in west Africa and the Caribbean. I would speculate that it's actual origins are in Mexico. Peanuts have been eaten in Mexico since pre-Columbian time, and nuts and vegetables are often used to thicken moles. It's easy to imagine how a mole thickened with peanuts could morph into a peanut mole. In any case, this particular recipe is more recent as it uses bread as a thickener.
Like most peanut stews, this was quite good and we all enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I didn't know what beef cut t use for this dish and I decided on top round. It was a mistake, the meat was too tough. I think if I made it again, I'd just pan-grill some sirloin and serve the sauce on top of it.
While the original recipe I followed was for beef, I made extra sauce to serve with tofu for my vegetarian daughter. It worked quite well. Indeed, last February, there was a notable peanut heist in Guanajuato.
- 5-7 Tbsp. cooking oil
- 5 slices French bread
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 4 dried ancho chilis, seeds removed and cut into strips
- 4 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups salted peanuts (or 1 cup natural peanut butter)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 lbs beef steak, cooked chicken or tofu.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add bread slices and toast until golden on both sides. Remove and tear the bread into pieces. Set aside.
Add 1 Tbsp. oil. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft. Add the chili stripes and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato and cook for five minutes. Remove from heat.
Transfer the onion mixture to a blender or food processor. Add bread pieces and peanuts or peanut butter. Process until it becomes a smooth paste. If the paste is too thick, add water to thin it. Taste and adjust seasoning.
If using beef. Season steak with salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a saute pan over high heat. Add beef and brown on both sides. Turn down heat to low and continue cooking beef for five minutes, turning once. Add peanut sauce and simmer steak in sauce for 30 minutes.
If using chicken. Place 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add peanut sauce, turn heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn't burn. Serve mole over cooked chicken.
If using tofu. Place 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add peanut sauce, turn heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn't burn. Meanwhile, dry the tofu and cut into slices. Dust tofu slices with cornstarch. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil over high heat in a saute pan. Add tofu slices and cook until golden in both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Serve mole over tofu.
Adapted from Alejandra Xoxotla's a recipe at Arecetas.
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