Mole sauce is a delicious and complex sauce that is a staple in Mexican cuisine. It’s made with a variety of ingredients, including chiles, nuts, warm spices, raisins, and tomato, and has a unique flavor profile that combines spicy, smoky, and earthy-sweet notes.
However, getting the right consistency for your mole sauce can be a challenge. Whether you want it thick like gravy or thin like broth, there are several ways to achieve your desired texture.
In this article, we’ll explore different methods for thickening mole sauce and provide tips for making the perfect batch every time. So grab your apron and let’s get started!
How To Thicken Mole Sauce?
There are several ways to thicken mole sauce, depending on your preferences and the ingredients you have on hand. Here are some methods to consider:
1. Add more breading: If your mole sauce is thin or runny, try adding more breading by increasing the number of corn tortillas, crackers, or bolillos. For best results, toast the ingredients slightly in a greased skillet before blending them into the sauce.
2. Simmer longer: If you want a thicker mole sauce, simmer it longer until it reduces down. Typically, mole sauce should be thickened to a gravy-like consistency, but you can thicken it up and use it as a chip dip or thin it out and make it brothy if you like.
3. Use nut butters: To thicken and enrich the mole, recipes often call for some combination of toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and sesame seeds. Instead of blanching and toasting and pureeing the nuts, you can use nut butters like almond butter or peanut butter as an easy shortcut.
4. Add flour or cornstarch: Flour is another common thickener for mole sauce. To use flour, simply whisk it into the sauce until it’s fully incorporated and let it simmer for a few minutes until it thickens. If making this gluten-free, you can either use a GF all-purpose flour blend or thicken the sauce instead with cornstarch.
5. Use whole spices: If you want to use whole spices in your mole sauce, use the following amounts: 2-1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds, 1 cinnamon stick, 12 to 20 whole cloves, and 10 whole allspice berries. Toast the spices until fragrant then pulverize them with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
Understanding The Consistency Of Mole Sauce
Mole sauce should have a medium consistency similar to gravy. It should be velvety and smooth, with a texture that coats the back of a spoon. A blender is essential for making this ultrasmooth pureed sauce. To thicken and enrich the mole, recipes often call for some combination of toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and sesame seeds. These ingredients help to add texture and thickness to the sauce without making it too heavy or starchy.
If you find that your mole sauce is too thin or runny, you can add more breading by increasing the number of corn tortillas, crackers, or bolillos. For best results, toast the ingredients slightly in a greased skillet before blending them into the sauce. Alternatively, you can simmer the sauce longer until it reduces down to a thicker consistency.
Another way to thicken mole sauce is to use nut butters like almond butter or peanut butter as an easy shortcut. Simply add a few tablespoons of nut butter to the sauce and blend until fully incorporated. This will help to thicken and enrich the sauce while adding a subtle nutty flavor.
Flour is another common thickener for mole sauce. To use flour, simply whisk it into the sauce until it’s fully incorporated and let it simmer for a few minutes until it thickens. If making this gluten-free, you can either use a GF all-purpose flour blend or thicken the sauce instead with cornstarch.
Finally, using whole spices like cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and allspice berries can add depth and complexity to your mole sauce while also helping to thicken it up. Toast the spices until fragrant then pulverize them with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder before adding them to the sauce.
Using Traditional Thickeners For Mole Sauce
Traditional thickeners for mole sauce include toasted bread, tortillas, and plantains. These ingredients are typically toasted or fried before being blended into the sauce to give it a rich, nutty flavor and a thick, smooth texture.
Another traditional thickener is nuts, such as almonds or pumpkin seeds. These are also toasted before being blended into the sauce to add richness and depth of flavor. Raisins are sometimes added as well to give the sauce a slightly sweet taste.
In addition to these traditional thickeners, modern recipes often call for the use of nut butters like almond or peanut butter as a shortcut. These can be a convenient option for those who don’t have access to traditional ingredients or prefer a quicker method.
When using traditional thickeners in mole sauce, it’s important to toast or fry them first to bring out their flavors and aromas. This step can be done in a skillet on the stovetop or in the oven until they are golden brown and fragrant. Once toasted, they can be blended with other ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Alternative Thickeners For Mole Sauce
If you’re looking for alternative thickeners for mole sauce, there are a few options to consider. One option is to use pureed or mashed cooked vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes, winter squash, or beans. These vegetables can be added to the sauce to thicken it up, but keep in mind that they will also affect the flavor of the sauce.
Another option is to use cornstarch or arrowroot, which are gluten-free alternatives to thickening with flour. To use these thickeners, mix about 1 tablespoon with equal parts water to create a slurry and pour it into the pot. Whisk continuously over high heat until the cornstarch or arrowroot is well incorporated and the sauce starts to thicken.
Finally, you can try using nut butters like cashew or sesame paste to thicken and enrich the mole sauce. Simply blend the nut butter into the sauce until it’s fully incorporated and let it simmer for a few minutes until it thickens. Be careful when using cashew paste as it can stick and scorch easily, so use a non-stick pan and keep it moving.
Tips For Achieving The Perfect Mole Sauce Texture
Achieving the perfect texture for mole sauce can be a bit tricky, but there are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Use a blender: A blender is essential for making an ultrasmooth pureed sauce. It will help you achieve the velvety and smooth texture that mole sauce is known for.
2. Dilute with chicken broth: To dilute the mole paste, use chicken broth instead of water. This will add flavor and richness to the sauce, and help it achieve the desired consistency.
3. Regulate the amount of chicken broth: Some people like their mole sauce thicker than others. Regulate the amount of chicken broth used in order to achieve the thickness you like. Traditional mole sauce has the consistency of a thick gravy.
4. Adjust sweetness and spiciness: If you prefer a sweeter mole sauce, you can add a little honey or brown sugar to the finished sauce and sweeten it to your desired taste. You can also replace some of the broth with orange juice or puree fresh or canned pineapple into the sauce for a sweeter flavor. For a spicier mole, add chili powder in 1/2 teaspoon increments or add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
5. Toast ingredients: Toasting ingredients like nuts, tortillas, and spices will add depth and complexity to your mole sauce. Toast them slightly in a greased skillet before blending them into the sauce.
By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to achieve the perfect texture for your mole sauce and impress your guests with its rich flavor and velvety smoothness.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Thickening Mole Sauce
Thickening mole sauce can be a delicate process, and there are some common mistakes to avoid. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Don’t rush the process: One of the biggest mistakes people make when making mole sauce is rushing the process. Mole is a sauce that requires time, so be patient during the preparation and enjoy the process. If you try to thicken the sauce too quickly, you may end up with a lumpy or grainy texture.
2. Don’t add too much liquid: Another common mistake is adding too much liquid to the sauce. If you add too much broth or water, the sauce will become thin and runny. To avoid this, start with a smaller amount of liquid and add more as needed.
3. Don’t overdo it with flour: While flour can be a great thickener for mole sauce, it’s important not to overdo it. Adding too much flour can result in a pasty or gluey texture. Start with a small amount of flour and add more as needed, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
4. Don’t forget to taste: As you thicken your mole sauce, be sure to taste it frequently to ensure that it’s not becoming too sweet or too spicy. Adjust the seasoning as needed by adding more salt, sugar, or chili powder.
By avoiding these common mistakes and following the tips above, you can create a delicious and perfectly thickened mole sauce every time.