Mole (Mo-lay) has got to be one of my favourite sauces of all time. It has a special flavour that is completely unique to Mexico and is the perfect balance of salty, sweet, sour and bitter. I have very fond memories as a child of eating turkey in mole sauce during very special occasions. Traditionally it has about 26 different ingredients (yes, really) and takes the better part of a day to make. On the other hand, this simple version (which I have adapted from My New Roots) only takes about 20 minutes to put together and it tastes deliciously rich and undeniably Mexican. Paired with the autumn squash, root veggies and goat feta, this meal is a winner. We make our own traditional corn tortillas from scratch, but to make it easier you can always buy your favourite pre-made tortillas or wraps. I also usually use pasilla or ancho chiles for a more authentic flavour, but these can be hard to come by in New Zealand so I have left them out of the recipe. But let me know if you have access to them and would like to know how I incorporate them into this recipe.
In our household we place all of the fillings on the table and make our own tacos as we go. It is a fun and interactive way of eating and far less work for the chef! Make the tacos by layering a small amount of each filling on the tortilla in whatever order you choose and top with the mole sauce. If you have leftover sauce you can freeze it for a month or so in a fridge-freezer or longer in a deep freeze. It thaws well and tastes just as delicious as when it is fresh. This is a highly simplified version of my favourite traditional Mole Poblano sauce.
Roasted Pumpkin & Kumara Tacos with Goat Feta + Simple Mole (Mo-lay)
Roasted Squash & Kumara
500g squash – peeled & cut in 2 cm cubes (pumpkin, butternut or acorn squash)
500g orange or yellow kumara (yams or sweet potato) – peeled & cut in 2 cm cubes (about 1 large one)
2 TBLS olive oil
sea salt & pepper
Fresh Tortillas (see tortilla instructions below)
Sliced lettuce or salad greens
Goat feta (optional)
Kidney Beans or Black Beans – drained & rinsed well
Green onions & Fresh Coriander – chopped
Simple Mole Sauce (see below)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Place squash and kumara into a roasting pan and coat with the olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until starting to brown around the edges.
- Prepare and plate up your different taco fillings.
Simple Mole Sauce
2 TBLS olive oil or coconut oil
1 onion – chopped
1 X 400g tin of tomatoes
2 garlic cloves – finely chopped
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of cloves (optional)
½ tsp smoked paprika (or 1 chipotle pepper for a spicier version)
sea salt & pepper
small handful raisins or 3 pitted dates – chopped
2 TBLS peanut butter or tahini (or other nut butter)
2 TBLS cocoa powder
1 TBLS white wine vinegar or lemon juice
3-4 TBLS stock or water
- Heat oil in a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat. Sautee onions for 3-4 minutes until transparent. Add tomatoes, garlic, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, cloves, smoked paprika (or chipotle), sea salt & pepper, and raisins or dates. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until smelling fragrant. Remove from heat.
- Add tahini or peanut butter, cocoa powder, vinegar or lemon juice and 3 TBLS stock or water and mix with a spoon. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Place in a blender or food processor, or use an immersion/stick blender and puree until smooth. Add another TBLS of stock or water if necessary to thin slightly.
Making the Tortillas
2 cups masa corn flour
1 1/3 – 1 ½ cups cold water
¼ tsp salt
- In a large bowl, mix the corn flour, 1 1/3 cups water and salt together to form a dough. Knead the dough until mixed thoroughly. If the dough feels a bit dry add more water a tsp at a time until you have a smooth dough that is not too sticky or too dry.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal balls. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic bag to keep the dough soft and moist while rolling/pressing the tortillas.
- If using a tortilla press, line each side with a sheet of plastic wrap or an old zip-lock bag cut apart along the edges into two pieces (my personal favourite). Place a ball of dough in the centre between the two sheets of plastic and press until it is about 12cm (5 inches) in diameter, and about 1-2mm thick. Continue with the remaining pieces of dough.*If you don’t have a tortilla press, place the dough in between two pieces of plastic on the bench top and place a chopping board on top. Use your bodyweight and press down on the chopping board to squish the dough into a tortilla. While keeping the tortilla between the plastic, you may have to use a rolling pin to roll the tortilla out to 1-2mm thickness.
- Heat a griddle, cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat. Cook the tortillas for 60-90 seconds on each side until just starting to colour. Place tortilla in a tea towel and cover to keep warm and moist while other tortillas are cooking. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.