This post was created in partnership with Valley Fig Growers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Mole is one of those traditional dishes that is passed down from generation to generation. It is a labor of love ground down on a metate and savored by the whole family. This fig mole uses the earthiness and sweetness of Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Figs to enhance the complexity and richness of the mole. Golden brown sautéed mushrooms are bathed in fig mole and served on warm homemade corn tortillas, topped with sliced red onion, and cilantro.
The word mole comes from the nahuatl word “mulli” meaning sauce or stew. There are many varieties of mole: red, green, yellow, poblano, negro, and many more. They vary according to the region of Mexico you are in.
Mole’s origins are pre-Hispanic. It is well known that the indigenous people of Mexico prepared complex sauces ground on their metate. Over the years and after the conquest, additional elements were added to these sauces that were not available before, like lard and bread.
Why Dried Figs??
Well, to start off with I love figs, fresh and dried. There are many moles that use raisins or prunes to add sweetness to the sauce, so using dried figs instead gives this sauce a natural sweetness that pairs amazingly with the chocolate and nuts already in the sauce.
California supplies 100% of the nation’s dried figs. They were introduced by the Spaniards in the early 16th century. The priests at Mission San Diego were the ones who originally planted the figs, this is how the dark purple fig became known as “Mission.” For this recipe I used Orchard Choice California Mission Dried Figs.
I love recreating and innovating traditional Mexican dishes to fit the vegan lifestyle. Mole is usually served with some kind of animal product, but I chose instead to use mushrooms to make these delicious tacos. The umami flavor and “meatiness “ of the mushrooms are the perfect way to honor the beautiful tradition of mole making that continues to be passed on from generation to generation.
The Recipe: Fig Mole Mushroom Tacos
- You can find the dried chiles: mulato, pasilla, and ancho at your local Mexican market, or you can find them HERE.
- I used Orchard Choice California Mission Dried Figs for this recipe.
- You can pair these fig mole mushroom tacos with a marzen style ale.
- I used a combination of cremini and portabella mushrooms, but I recommend the addition of oyster and maitake mushrooms.
- This recipe makes about 1 quart and 1 cup of fig mole. You will only need about two cups of it for this recipe. You can freeze the rest for up to six months.
Fig Mole Mushroom Tacos
- 4 Dried chile mulato seeded, de-stemmed
- 5 Dried chile pasilla seeded de-stemmed
- 6 Dried chile ancho seeded de-stemmed
- ¼ tsp. Anise seed
- 3 Whole cloves
- 10 Black peppercorns
- 1 Ceylon cinnamon stick, 1 inch long
- ⅓ cup Sesame seeds
- 3 Plum tomatoes
- 1 Tomatillo
- 5 cloves Garlic, unpeeled
- ½ cup Vegetable oil (optional)
- 1 cup Orchard Choice California Mission Dried Figs
- ⅓ cup Raw almonds
- ⅓ cup Pepitas
- ¾ cup Peanuts
- 1 Stale corn tortilla
- 1 Stale Bolillo (or 1 ½ cups stale baguette)
- 1 tablet Mexican chocolate
- 5 cups Vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp. Vegetable oil (optional)
- 1 ½ lb. Assorted mushrooms, sliced (shiitakes, portabellas, oyster, maitake)
- 12 Corn tortillas
- 1 Red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup Chopped cilantro
To make the fig mole:
- Heat a large cast-iron pan to medium-high heat, add chiles to the pan and toast lightly, about 3-4 seconds on each side. Remove from the pan and place in a medium bowl. Cover with boiling hot water and soak for 30 min.
- In the same cast iron pan set to low-medium heat, toast the anise seed, peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon for 1-2 minutes until they begin to release their aromas. Set aside.
- Use the same pan to toast the sesame seeds for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown and set aside. Use a spice grinder or food processor and grind all the toasted spices as fine as possible. Set aside.
- Set your cast iron pan to medium-high heat and place the tomatoes, tomatillo, and garlic on the pan until they become soft and slightly blackened, about 7-10 minutes, Set aside.
- Set a large sauté pan to medium heat and add oil. Fry the following ingredients separately: Orchard Choice California Mission Dried Figs until plump and golden brown, the almonds until slightly toasted, the pumpkin seeds until they pop and turn a golden yellow color, the peanuts until toasted and golden brown, the tortilla until crispy and black in certain spots, and the bread toasted a deep golden brown. Set aside.
- Place the soaked and drained dried chiles in the blender with 1 cup of the chile soaking liquid, and the ground up spices, bread, and tortilla. Process until smooth. Add vegetable stock if necessary. Pour into a large bowl.
- Now place the rest of the fried ingredients with the tomato, tomatillo, and peeled garlic. Add vegetable stock if necessary and process until smooth. Pour into bowl with chile mixture. Strain mixture.
- Heat a large pot to low-medium heat and pour the mixture into the pot. Bring mixture to a simmer, add 3 cups of vegetable stock, and stir. Add a Mexican chocolate tablet and simmer slowly for 30 minutes. Stir continuously to avoid the mole sticking to the bottom of the pot. Season with salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, add the remaining 2 cups of vegetable stock.
To make the tacos:
- Heat a large sauté pan to medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp. of oil. Sauté mushrooms until golden brown. Pour 2 cups of the finished mole sauce on top and stir to combine.
- Heat corn tortillas on a comal or griddle. Place 2 tbsp. of mushroom filling on each tortilla and top with chopped cilantro and sliced red onion. Enjoy!!
Although dorastable.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates.