all you lazy ass eaters that claim you can't cook, here's a recipe that
is super easy, quite tasty, and will more than surprise your
microwave-ready friends. It's a simple vegetarian mole recipe
based on the stuff you can get from the grocery shelf, done veggie
style. Sure, you can probably grind your own chiles, seeds, nuts, and
chocolate, but where's the easy in that?
First off, get yourself a brick of tofu and put it in the freezer for a
few days. Freezing tofu changes the texture dramatically, making it
tougher and chewey, perfect for this recipe. You do not want to
use regular tofu, it'll just break apart and you'll be stuck with some
weird soup, yuck! Once the block has frozen solid, you'll need to thaw
it out. Put it in the regular fridge a few days before you plan to cook
and it should thaw out nicely, thats my preferred method as it seems to
have a better effect on the tofu. See how in the pic above the
tofu looks kinda spongy? That's what you want as it'll soak up all the
flavors from the mole sauce. Cut it up into decent size cubes or
rectangles (or triangles if your kinda crazy) as you'll be frying these
You can start by frying up the tofu, putting it aside, and then
cooking the mole in the same pot, but if you want to make it go faster,
do them both at the same time in separate pans. It's up to you: do
you want to eat faster or wash less dishes?
Get your pan hot, add some oil, get that hot, and then fry the tofu.
I've become a fan of the old fashioned cast iron pan: they are durable,
cheap, and cook food wonderfully as they distribute heat evenly.
They're great for frying things, work just as well as teflon, and they
don't release all those nasty chemicals lots of people are consuming
nowadays. I got this one at Target for less than 15 dollars. And it
doubles as a makeshift weapon! When the revolution comes, you'll be
glad to have that tiny stock of kitchen arsenal! Fry until crispy
enough, enough being totally subjective. You're a grown person, start
using your decision making skills!
Now, start the mole part.
I like to saute around half an onion, some garlic, and maybe a
jalapeño, in some oil. Usually corn, never olive oil!
Chop 'em up. But you might want something different.
When you open a jar of mole, there will usually be some oil sitting on
top that has separated from the rest of the ingredients, just go ahead
and add that to the sauteing onions. Might as well take this time
to talk about the available moles.
I usually just use whatever mole is cheapest or on sale, this time I
decided to try out La Costeña. It turned out to be a bit too
sweet for my taste, now I know. Rogelio is a good brand but it's
usually pricier, Faron also has one that I think is okay. There's
Doña Maria as well which is good but I think that's the one that
recently started adding chicken stock to their mole, boo! So you should
make sure to take a look at the ingredients, as a few of them have some
non-veggie ingredients. Most are okay though. Moles come in different
flavors, from regular, to pipian, adobo, even verde which is mostly
pumpkin seeds. You'll need to find the one you like, though the regular
mole rojo is the most traditional. If you want some really good mole,
head on over to El Mercadito on 1st street, they always have a few
fresh moles available.
Use a spoon to scoop out all the mole paste from the jar. This is when
you find out if your mole is fresh or old, as the fresh one has the
oils still mixed in and is easy to scoop, older mole can get rock hard!
In any case, you've already opened it, can't waste food, spoon it all
into the saute pan. Stir it around and try to break it down as
much as you can.
You'll add water to this mix, do it slowly. Use the glass jar and add
about 1/3 to 1/2 glass at a time, stirring the mole as you go. You want
the water to incorporate into the paste, if you add it too fast you'll
have chunks of paste under water that will refuse to break up, best to
avoid that. Slow and easy, ay! In the end you'll add around 4 or
5 glasses of water, maybe more if you want your mole thinner (I do) and
even if you put too much, you can slowly simmer it to get rid of excess
water. Relax, this ain't rocket science. Just stir so you
don't burn it. By the way, it's common poor people practice to wash
that glass jar and use it as a normal day-to-day glass, I bet most
people that grew up in East Los know exactly what I mean! Un
brindis with the mole jar!
Now you can add some extra spices and stuff you want. Here I'm adding a
veggie bouillon cube, and I just threw in a bit of ground cumin. I'll
throw in some salt, pepper, a dash of nutritional yeast as well, and
whatever other goodies are about. Make it your own, fool. Maybe even
some more Abuelita mexican chocolate, go crazy! Just make sure you
taste it as you go along, if you still like it, well then you are clear
Once you've added all your extras and it's nice and bubbly, turn down
heat, puton a lid, and simmer it for awhile. Keep stirring to break
down the paste,
the smoother less-lumpy it is, the better. You want to be careful that
it doesn't stick and burn to the bottom of the pot, keep stirring.
Once it's simmered down to a nice smooth consistency, add the fried
tofu. The tofu will soften up a little as it absorbs all the sauce and
flavor, but it should still be quite solid and crunchy. Cook it
for awhile so the tofu gets hot as well and it melds with the mole.
It's just about ready! By the way, you can also use reconstituted
TVP in this recipe instead of tofu, and it'll work well. I still prefer
the frozen tofu though.
Once you're very hungry and can't wait to eat, that's when you know the food is ready!
Add some Mexican rice on the side, some warm tortillas, and you are set. FYI, this is a vegan recipe as well.
Ahh, food fit for a peasant! Provecho!
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