Oaxaca is said to be home to seven moles. Using this metric, mole blanco does not exist. Only when Natalia Mendez, co-owner of La Morada—a family-run Oaxacan restaurant in the Bronx, New York—began serving the lesser-known eighth iteration did it land in the spotlight.
Both Mendez and mole blanco hail from the Mixteca region of Oaxaca, where the porcelain sauce is usually prepared for Easter or Christmas. There, families savor it blanketed over local, edible tree blossoms that taste like green beans. Cooks complete the dish with bases such as rabbit, poultry, or chiles rellenos.
But this mole isn’t like other moles. It’s mild, decadent, and oh-so-rare. In fact, the luxuriously creamy sauce is perhaps most renowned for barely existing. In its hue, mole blanco ranges from vanilla ice cream to pale sausage gravy. But beneath an opaque veneer, the comforting shroud is backed by the heat of serrano and habanero chiles, pungent garlic, toasted onion, and chicken broth. Its richness results from a blend of coconut oil, peanuts, white pine nuts, and peeled almonds.
Traditionally, mole blanco was pulverized in a stone molcajete using a tejolote (a Mexican mortar and pestle), but modern kitchen wizards are likely to use a blender. Serious Eats describes the finished product “strikingly thick and supremely nutty.”
Where to Try It
Try this legendary restaurant's version of mole blanco over chicken, pork, chiles rellenos, or vegetables.