Tag Archives: Oaxaca food

Easy Recipe: Mole Colorado con Carne y Arroz — Feel the Heat

Elsa and I were in the kitchen together last night. It is wonderful to have her and Eric with us in the house. Each day, they get up in the morning, drop me off at my office, and take my car out to the destination of the day …. usually to the mall, or Target (tienda favorita), or TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. There is no Target in Oaxaca and it is a mesmerizing experience. For them, these outings are like my yearnings to search out San Martin Tilcajete or Santa Maria Atzompa on a quest for the perfect piece of pottery or alebrije. Clothing, electronics, and daily essentials are less expensive in the U.S. and discount shopping for my Oaxacan friends becomes a cultural adventure. Last night, they take a respite from eating cheese burgers and fries to helping me make Mole Coloradito. Here’s how it goes.

I have a jar of ground chile chocolate paste in my refrigerator that I brought back from Oaxaca six months ago — a purchase I made at Mayordomo on Calle 20 de Noviembre, south of the Zocalo — and keep in a glass canning jar, tightly covered. It is a standard mix of almonds, Oaxacan chocolate (spiced with cinnamon) and pasilla peppers. (If you want or need to make your own paste, consult the Food Network for a scratch recipe.) You may be able to find a jar of the paste in a Mexican food store, too. So, here is what you will need.

For the Mole Sauce — This Has a Big Bite Flavor:

16 oz. — mole colorado paste (this is a very thick mixture that has the consistency of almond paste)

2 or more cups of beef broth

1 – 12-oz. jar of Paul Newman Tequila Lime Salsa

In a blender, add the mole paste, the beef broth and the jar of salsa. Pulse until smooth. The consistency should be like heavy cream. That’s It. Muy Delicioso!

For the Carne (beef):

1-1/2 to 2 lbs. good quality beef stew meat, cut into 1″ cubes

3 T. fresh parsley, chopped

1 large onion, diced

6 cloves of garlic, peeled, left whole

3 dried pasilla chiles, seeded and chopped

2 c. water

salt to season

In the morning, before you go to work or go off for the day, put all ingredients into a crock pot, stir, cover, and set on highest temperature. When you return at 6 or 7 p.m., the meat will be perfectly cooked. Use the liquid beef stock from the crock pot to make your mole sauce.

For the Arroz (rice):

2 cups of regular white rice

4 cups of water

salt to taste

Combine the rice, water and salt in a 4 quart sauce pan. Bring to the rolling boil. Cover. Turn heat down to low and continue to cook for 10 minutes at a low simmer. Turn the heat off. Let rice sit for 20 minutes as it continues to steam cook.

Oaxaquenos traditionally serve the Mole Colorado over the rice, and serve the meat next to this. Serve plenty of tortillas that have been warmed on the griddle (flour or corn). As accompaniments, serve with sauteed zucchini or crooked neck yellow squash and black beans.

Restaurants Along the Way

We have taken meals at these eateries and can recommend them.

  • San Martin Tilcajete: “Azucena” on the road to Ocotlan
  • Mazunte: “El Pelicano” and “Un Secreto”
  • Crucecita: “El Sabor de Oaxaca”
  • San Augustin Etla: “Comedor Alheli” (260 pesos for 5 people, plus standard 10% tip, which included roasted chicken, fresh tortillas, rice, sopa de elote, beer or agua fresca)
  • Oaxaca: “Temple,” “La Biznaga,” “Maria Buena,” “Casa Oaxaca,” “Marco Polo”
  • Teotitlan del Valle: “The Sacred Bean” coffee shop, “El Descanso Restaurant”, “Samburguesa,” and “Las Granadas” Bed & Breakfast will also prepare comida with an advanced reservation
I also want to recommend that you check out this Blog for a great commentary on eating in Oaxaca by a very savvy 30-year old New Yorker who lived there for four months: oneforkonespoon.blogspot.com

The Melting Pot: Miami to Mexico City

Airport Melting Pot

Yesterday was a LONG travel day, starting at 2:30 a.m. eastern time.  As soon as I landed in Miami, I knew I was in the transition to Latin America.  In the airport, Spanish is the dominant language both among travelers and service people.  As an English speaker with a very rudimentary knowledge of Spanish, it is clear to me that it will be critical for future cross cultural communication in our world, we must become bilingual.  I also began to notice in the airport melting pot that we are a country of beautiful, racially diverse peoples whose origins are from throughout the Caribbean. And, then, what do I find when I land in Mexico City?  Krispy Kreme donuts and Starbucks coffee along the endless shopping mall promenade on the way to the connecting gate to Oaxaca.  Now, why am I surprised that a Winston-Salem, North Carolina, company (almost in my back yard, so to speak) has implanted itself into Mexican food culture? In North Carolina we struggle with the integration of Latino immigrants, whether to accept academically talented yet undocumented students into our colleges and universities at resident tuition rates, and how far we will go legally (or not) to expel the “other” from our midst. On the other side of the border, Mexico struggles with the Americanization of its culture, the erosion of identity through the likes of Krispy Kreme and Starbucks, Dannon competing with Lala in the refrigerator case, ubiquitous television marketing a consumer lifestyle.  

Going through “immigration” in Mexico City, I see the teenage brothers and sisters traveling in pairs, without their parents, entering the country of their cultural origin but not their birth, U.S. passport in hand.  Intuitively I know what this is about: the parents, undocumented immigrants, sending their children who were born in the U.S. “home” to visit grandmother (abuela) and tio (uncle) and primos (cousins) to keep the family connection alive.  I board the plane to Oaxaca and sit next to a beautiful 14 year old. She is traveling with her mother and sister.  Her English is impeccable, yet she looks Zapotec.  She says it is a language her grandfather speaks, but no one else in the family learned it.  She was born in Fresno, California.  They traveled by bus from Fresno to Tijuana, where they bought plane tickets to Oaxaca through Mexico City.  This must be a path that many from Mexico who live on the west coast take and I realize that there are many layers to our culture in the U.S.  – many ways of innovation and living that I am not aware of because I live in my own world. 

Eric and my sister, Barbara, pick me up from the airport in Oaxaca, and I am now back in the land I call my other home. (I am almost 62 and wonder how long it will be that I can make this lengthy journey, and then I recall my aunt who has been traveling alone to India for over 30 years.  She is now 90 and continues to make the trip–an admirable quality!)

Food Culture

We stop for dinner at El Porton before going on to Teotitlan.  This is a new diner that looks a lot like Denny’s, but what a surprise!  We had squash blossom soup and chicken flautas topped with mole, crema and avacado.  It was as good as if we were in a 4-star restaurant and the bill was under $10 per person including drinks.