The other night we were trying to name the seven moles of Oaxaca as we were walking up the street. I had six words I thought represented the various types, but I could not remember the seventh. All I could say was that it stared with a “P.”
Sarah, the person we were walking with, abruptly stopped in the doorway of a cafe and asked the woman standing outside. She did not have the answer. M started making a Jeopardy theme song sound, and she felt the pressure, but she had to run inside and ask a colleague. They wrote the following list on their receipt pad.
I remembered that, on a previous trip, I had been to a restaurant called Los Pacos. They provide a mole sampler to help guests decide which mole they want for their. The funny thing is that they, too, only offer six moles.
The six are:
Savory moles – Chichillo (a brown sauce that tastes a lot like epazote, my least favorite Oaxacan ingredient)
Amarillo (a yellow to marmalade color with smoky paprika and vegetables as the strongest flavors)
Verde (tomatillo green with a tomatillo and parsley taste)
Sweet moles- Estofado (a masala flavor with green olives and a chutney color)
Coloradito (spicy chocolate and smoky tomatoes, so deep red it is almost black)
Negro (so full of chocolate and cinnamon that it is a thick black color)
The missing mole is: Mancha Mateles, according to one of the Pacos.
It was hard to decide which mole was the best. I kept going back to the coloradito and the estofado. It surprised me that I would prefer the sweet over the savory, but I was only dipping tiny tortilla tips in — not having a whole meal of the flavor. This would certainly make a big difference.
In the end, I tried the tasajo a la Mexicana, not a mole at all. It was a delicious mix of onions, tomatoes, and jalapeños on a delicious piece of carne asada. There was a light light gravy that was a nice departure from the heavier mole sauces.
M had the estofado, rice and bananas. The picture of the estofado looks awful, but it was delicious as were the crispy bananas and simple (chicken stock) rice.
M decided that the food, especially those crispy bananas, was so delicious that we needed to try dessert. He selected the Bananas Flambe with ice cream. This dessert is prepared with orange juice (among other ingredients).
What a night! A fire show and education on Oaxaca’s moles. What more could we ask for?