Tag Archives: mole

Cinco Facts You Need to Know About Cinco de Mayo

Puebla is the state where this delicious mole comes from.

Puebla is the state where this delicious mole comes from Photo: Lissette Storch

As a Mexican transplant in the US, the festivities around Cinco de Mayo don’t resonate with me.  Although proud of the Mexican unlikely victory against the much better equipped (and considerably larger) French army in 1862, the connection between the Battle of Puebla and images of sombreros, cacti and mustaches continues to puzzle me.

I must admit I have become much more adept at keeping a blank face when people wish me a “happy Cinco de Mayo”. I still interchangeably try to deliver a history lesson or change the subject. This is no easy feat. How do you break the news that a party in honor of a Bacchus dressed in mariachi garb is not at all how Mexicans celebrate? Plus, and more importantly, this is not the point!

In fact, Mexicans don’t usually throw Cinco de Mayo parties. This holiday to us is more about parades and essay writing. We also sometimes get a day off (my favorite part). I worry that by exploiting this poorly-timed celebration of Mexican heritage, Mexicans themselves are just perpetuating this misconception. For example, I was horrified at the rendition of the Mexican national anthem during the recent Pacquiao vs. Mayweather fight with this pretext. If this was not contrived, I do not know what is.

Don’t get me wrong, I recognize and appreciate the opportunity to celebrate, as long as it is clear that this festivity has nothing to do with Mexico’s Independence Day, and more importantly, that Mexico’s cultural contributions cannot be summed up in a few clichés. So, if you are going to throw a big Cinco de Mayo party, here are cinco things you need to know.

Now, if you ask, me, I’d rather get a day off.

  1. Cinco the Mayo commemorates the Mexican unlikely victory over the French army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
  2. Puebla is the state in Mexico where you can find one of the finest mole such as mole poblano (Pueblan).
  3. In Puebla, you can also find cemitas, a brioche-like bread with sesame seeds.
  4. The Mexican victory was short lived. Napoleon regrouped, and two years after the Battle of Puebla, finally won. With this, Mexican gastronomy was transformed.
  5. Mexicans celebrate with a parade, a day off and representations of the battle. If you want to receive a puzzled look, wish a Mexican a ‘Happy Cinco de Mayo’.

In Mexico, Mole Means Fiesta

Photo credit: Brenda Storch

Very few words say “fiesta” and “Mexico” as loud and clear as “mole” does, particularly in the countryside, where this traditional dish is served during important celebrations such as weddings and christenings. Its preparation, as much as its enjoyment, both constitute a time of bonding.

Mole has permeated the vignettes and meanings that make up our culture to such degree, that in fact, in Mexico, the phrase, “huele a mole” (it smells like mole) is used as a way to hint at the likelihood of a wedding taking place in the near future.  When someone says, “eres ajonjolí de todos los moles¨ (you are like sesame seed sprinkled in every mole), it means that the person is a social butterfly.

Aside from seasoning our language, mole seasons life through its variety of executions, all just as proud and artisanal. Whether Pueblan, Veracruzan or Oaxacan, this rich sweet and spicy sauce is always as intricate and proud as the hands that prepare it.

Recently, we posted a recipe for Veracruzan mole, and today, chef Jason Rivas shares with our readers how he brings mole to life in his home in California. ¡Buen provecho!

About chef Jason Rivas:  Born and raised in California, but southwestern at heart, his  passion for food started at a very early age when he used to eat snails in his backyard. Trained in classical French cuisine, while attending the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, he was able to learn a new way to apply his creative, artistic side. After graduation, Rivas spent an additional four years in Phoenix learning the finer points of southwestern cuisine, and then traveled from coast to coast before settling in the Southern California wine country.  Here, he discovered the true value and impact of food and wine (in his words,”wine and food, rather”).  Find more about chef Rivas on his website: dinnerbyJR.wordpress.com

Chef Paco´s New Rebozo – Oh My God!

Cochinita pibil tacos await you at New Rebozo in Chicago's Gold Coast.

Cochinita pibil tacos await you at New Rebozo in Chicago’s Gold Coast.

If you visit New Rebozo, chances are that aside from a remarkable meal, you will be delighted by owner Chef Paco’s warm and exuberant personality.  After more than 20 years of success at his Oak Park location, where Chef Paco (A.K.A. Francisco López) is already a fixture, this Mexico City native decided to bring his creativity and passion for authentic Mexican food to Chicago’s Gold Coast.

Holy mole! Chef Paco delights his guests with his complex, yet surprisingly down-to-earth mole Poblano, at New Rebozo.

Chef Paco equates food to the dynamics of everyday life: “Life can be sweet and sour… even salty, add love to it and you will strike a balance.”  His philosophy spills into every corner of his restaurant. There is definitely love in New Rebozo, named after a shawl Mexican women wear. From the cozy fireplace to the thoughtfully picked art, the dining room and patio embrace you like welcoming Mexican embassies. Do not expect to find cultural clichés here.  New Rebozo is the real deal both in form and content. “My work is about making people happy,” said Paco. “That’s my ultimate goal.”

Full of flavor, depth and whimsy, it is so fitting that mole is one of Chef Paco´s specialties. Very few words say fiesta and Mexico as loud and clear as mole does, particularly in the countryside, where this traditional dish is served during important celebrations such as weddings and christenings. Chef Paco´s mole Poblano is so good, I have no doubt that my Pueblan grandma, who was often charged with making the mole for her village’s fiestas patronales*,  would have approved.

Watermelon mojitos: Oh my God!

Watermelon mojitos: Oh my God!

If you visit New Rebozo,  do not miss the cochinita pibil tacos, a delicacy straight from Yucatán. There is a piece of Mexican heaven in every perfectly flavorful bite and they are surprisingly not greasy. The watermelon mojitos are also quite memorable- one sip of those glorious cocktails had my entire table exclaiming in unison: “Oh my God!”

*In Mexico, fiestas patronales are a village’s most important celebration, and are typically dedicated to the patron saint the village is named after.

New Rebozo Chicago

46 E. Superior

Chicago, IL 60611

(312) 202-9141

Open Mon-Sun 12-10 pm

New Rebozo Chicago on Urbanspoon

Uno de los Siete Moles de Oaxaca: El Mole Amarillo

Foto: Manuel Rivera

Foto: Manuel Rivera

Sin lugar a dudas, el mole es una de las grandes estrellas de la comida mexicana. Aunque  diferentes historias sobre su origen hacen de Puebla el marco del génesis de este manjar, es en Oaxaca, el quinto estado más grande de la República Mexicana, donde el mole se ejecuta en una gran variedad de formas.  Oaxaca tiene siete moles:  negro, coloradito, amarillo, verde, chichilo, rojo y almendrado. Estos moles representan los ingredientes y la diversidad cultural de  cada una de las regiones oaxaqueñas.

Desde el complejo mole negro que requiere de más de 30 ingredientes para su conjuro, hasta el almendrado, cada uno de estos moles es tan delicioso y diferente como el que le sigue. Hoy, el chef Aldo nos trae a Nuestra Mesa, la receta para hacer mole amarillo. Aunque este mole es tradicionalmente hecho con carne de res, esta versión incorpora carne de pollo.

INGREDIENTES 

(Rinde para 6 personas)

  • 3 chiles guajillos
  • 1 jitomate mediano
  • 1 tomate verde
  • 2 piezas de clavo de olor
  • 2 piezas de pimienta gorda
  • 1 cucharadita de orégano
  • 1 hoja de hierba santa
  • 200 gramos de masa de maíz
  • 1 litro de consomé de pollo
  • 1 1/2 kilo de pollo cortado en piezas y cocido
  • 200 gramos de ejotes limpios, cortados y cocidos
  • 2 chayotes cortados en cubos grandes y cocidos
  • Sal al gusto

PREPARACIÓN

  1. Pon a cocer el chile y el jitomate en poca agua. Esto muele con las especias, con excepción de la hoja santa. Cuela.
  2. Añade el consomé de pollo y pon a hervir en una cacerola, agregando la hoja santa y sal al gusto.
  3. Poco a poco y sin dejar de mover, agrega la masa licuada con un poco de agua hasta formar un atole. Continúa cociendo hasta que esté espeso, cuidando de no subir la flama.
  4. Al servirlo se agregan las verduras y el pollo.

¡Acompaña con tortillas!

 

El chef Aldo Saavedra ha cocinado para huéspedes de establecimientos como el conocido Hotel Condesa D.F. y ha contribuído con sus recetas en proyectos con marcas de la talla de Larousse y Danone. En Nuestra Mesa, el chef Saavedra comparte con los lectores de La Vitamina T, su pasión por la cocina y por México.

Once Upon a Plate in Mexico: Fairytale Fare at Dulce Patria

Fish Pozole at Dulce Patria, Mexico City, Mexico Photo: Brenda Storch

Fish pozole at “Dulce Patria”, Mexico City, Mexico –  Photo credit: Brenda Storch

RUTA MEXICANA

Whenever I visit home in Mexico City, I wish I could bring it back in a suitcase. Perhaps this is why Dulce Patria resonated so strongly with me. I had limited time at home and many new options available to explore. After much research and careful evaluation, I decided to celebrate my birthday at this restaurant. Two main elements influenced my decision,  the fact that Dulce Patria is highly acclaimed chef Martha Ortiz Chapa’s latest creation; and the establishment´s name, which by itself is captivating. “Patria” in Spanish is what “patriotic” in English would be if it were a noun. How perfectly fitting. Dulce Patria spoke to the sweet home country I was physically returning to (I often wander it in my dreams), even if briefly.

Every detail at Dulce Patria has been carefully curated to create an extraordinary experience. Right in the heart of Mexico City’s financial district, an inside patio reminiscent of a hacienda, along with cacti-shaped sculptures, create a new  world. Thoughtful touches like starfruit slices in your water, edible flowers and dishes carefully plated on whimsical handcrafts, add to an environment created to make guests feel they have stepped into a different dimension.  I was moved to realize that somebody shared my sentiment: Dulce Patria is like a little piece of Mexico that has been taken for safekeeping: chef Martha Ortiz Chapa keeps Mexico in her heart.

Asphalt jungle outside, beautiful patio inside. Photo credit:  Brenda Storch

Asphalt jungle outside, beautiful patio inside. Photo credit: Brenda Storch

And from her heart she speaks and cooks: Ortiz Chapa draws inspiration from Mexican artisans, poetry and art, all ingredients of the edible stories she creatively and passionately tells through her food.  Her characters are popular dishes that can be either found in the streets of Mexico, or more elegantly presented at fancier tables. Says Ortiz Chapa about her protagonists, “estos platos son los héroes que nos dieron patria” (these plates are the heroes that have given us our homeland).

Photo: Brenda Storch

Bucket of pepitorias with chamoy salsa.  Photo: Brenda Storch

A twist on mole con pollo, mole con pato.  Photo credit: Brenda Storch

A twist on chicken with mole sauce: duck with mole sauce. Photo credit: Brenda Storch

Mexican folk candy on a whimsical handcraft. Photo credit: Brenda Storch

Mexican folk candy on a whimsical handcraft. Photo credit: Brenda Storch

Mentioning that  food at Dulce Patria is absolutely extraordinary feels like stating the obvious. Suffice it to say, that at some point during my meal, the gastronomic narrative of chef Ortiz Chapa began feeling less like fantastic prose and more like pure poetry.

Restaurante Dulce Patria

Anatole France 100

Col. Polanco

Delegación Miguel Hidalgo

11560 México, D.F.

Teléfono: 3300-3999

Fax: 3300-3955

Horarios: lunes a sábado, de 1:30 pm 11:30 pm.

Domingos: de 1:30 a 5:30 pm.

Nuestra Mesa – Tú También Puedes Preparar Mole Veracruzano

Foto: Chef Aldo Saavedra

Esta semana, el chef Aldo Saavedra nos lleva  a la cocina de la señora Ángela Navarrete Carlín, vecina de Villa Isla, Veracruz. Un lugar donde, según el chef, abundan los piñales.

En su receta para mole veracruzano, un plato tradicional que se reserva para celebraciones especiales, el chef Saavedra nos trae una receta aprendida con medidas que dicta la costumbre y la traduce aquí con precisión, para deleite de nuestros lectores.

Sirve 10 personas

10 piezas de pollo cocidas

50 gramos de cacahuate pelado

20 gramos de pepita

2 dientes de ajo

1/4 pieza cebolla blanca pelada.

1/4 tableta (o 25 gramos) de chocolate Ibarra

50 gramos de piloncillo

25 gramos de almendra

20 gramos de pasas

20 gramos de ajonjolí blanco

59 gramos de tortilla de maíz

5 centímetros de canela, solo la parte exterior de la raja

75 gramos de galleta de animalitos

1/4 pieza plátano macho (también conocidos como maduros en el caribe)
50 gramos chile guajillo

155 gramos chile ancho

600 mililitros de agua hirviendo

2 litros del caldo de la cocción del pollo

Sal al gusto

Suficiente aceite para freír

Foto: Chef Aldo Saavedra

Preparación

1. Despinta (quita las semillas) y corta los chiles en trozos.

2. Fríe los chiles en aceite y agrégalos al agua hirviendo. Déjalos a remojar durante 10 minutos hasta que se ablanden.

3. Prepara una olla con la mitad del caldo caliente.

4. Cuela los chiles, tira el agua del remojo y agrégalos al caldo.

5. Fríe la tortilla hasta que quede muy dorada y añádela al caldo.

6. Fríe la galleta hasta que quede muy dorada y añádela al caldo.

7. Fríe el plátano pelado y picado en rodajas y añádelo al caldo.

8. Fríe el ajo y la cebolla y agrégala al caldo.

9. Fríe el cacahuate,  las pepitas, las almendra, las pasas y la canela y agrégalas al caldo.
10.Tuesta el ajonjolí y agrégalo al caldo

11. Pon a disolver el chocolate y el piloncillo en el caldo de pollo a fuego lento. Resérvalo.

12. Mientras, muele todos los ingredientes fritos y tostados que se añadieron a la olla con el caldo caliente, si quedan restos de los chiles, cuélalos. Ayúdate con un poco del caldo restante, cuidando que no quede muy aguado.

13. Pónlo al fuego y añade el chocolate y el piloncillo disueltos en caldo de pollo.

14. Deja hervir hasta que espese un poco y añade la sal. Rectifica la sazón.

15. Añade las piezas de pollo y deja hervir por unos minutos más a fuego bajo.

16. Sírve y espolvorea con ajonjolí blanco, acompaña con arroz blanco.

Foto: Chef Aldo Saavedra

*Notas:
– Si prefieres un sabor más dulce, puedes agregarle un poco de azúcar morena.
– Puedes sustituir el pollo por cerdo o guajolote.

Would you like to see this recipe in English, help with measurements or replacement ingredients? Let us know!

El chef Aldo Saavedra ha cocinado para huéspedes de establecimientos como el conocido Hotel Condesa D.F. y ha contribuído con sus recetas en proyectos con marcas de la talla de Larousse y Danone. En Nuestra Mesa, el chef Saavedra comparte con los lectores de  La Vitamina T, su pasión por la cocina y por México.