Last week I reviewed Sarah Britton’s fabulous recipe book My New Roots. One of my favourite recipes from that book was her 10 Spice Chili (she’s Canadian, hence the North American spelling of chilli). Her inspiration for this dish came from the traditional Mexican sauce ‘mole’ (pronounced mol-eh and not like the animal who likes to dig up your garden!).
According to the lovely Wikipedia, a traditional Mexican mole might include 20 or more ingredients, including chillies, tomatoes, tomatillos, cumin, cloves, garlic and cocoa. The ingredients are roasted and ground and then water is added to make a sauce. The sauce is then simmered until it is very thick. The process is very labour intensive and can often take a day or more. Though obviously these days the sauce is made commercially and can be bought from a shop!
Sarah’s recipe in My New Roots is nowhere near as labour intensive, but it still involves 10 herbs and spices – not all that practical for most people, who don’t have a large cupboard of herbs and spices at their disposal and consequently not one that really fits in with the ethos of Easy Peasy Foodie! The dish was so lovely, though, that I wanted to share it, albeit in a simplified form. I’ve been experimenting a little and I think I have a version that captures the essential flavours of the dish but without quite so many ingredients. Best of all, if you get your skates my version only takes 30 minutes.
Mole is traditionally served with meat, but Sarah’s version is a vegetarian one and consequently so is mine. Her combination of kidney beans, red peppers, sweet potatoes and sweetcorn is such a lovely one I didn’t want to mess around with it. It makes for a quick, cheap and substantial meal that captures a little of the spirit of a Mexican mole with a lot less effort. This dish is filling enough to be served on its own but I paired it with brown rice, which just goes perfectly.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped finely or crushed
- 1 tablespoon cumin, ground
- 1 teaspoon mild chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 kg sweet potato, chopped into 2cm chunks (roughly 2 medium sized ones)
- 2 red peppers, chopped into 2cm chunks
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 x 400g tin kidney beans
- Salt and pepper
- 1 200g can sweetcorn, drained
- Juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges to serve
- 50g pumpkin seeds, for garnish
- 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
- Brown rice to serve
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a wide, deep pan and add the diced onion. Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes until the onions have softened, but are not brown. Use this time to prep your veg.
- Add in the garlic, cumin, chilli powder and cayenne pepper. Lower the heat and fry for 1 more minute. Next, add in the sweet potato and red pepper. Give everything a good stir, then add in the tinned tomatoes, cocoa powder, bay leaves and kidney beans plus some salt and pepper. Fill one of the empty tomato tins with water and add this to the saucepan and stir again.
- Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and then turn down and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Take the lid off after about 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. Stir occasionally to stop the sauce sticking.
- Use this time to cook your rice.
- When the mole is ready, squeeze in the juice of 1 lime and stir in half the sweetcorn. Put the rest of the sweetcorn in a dish to serve alongside the mole.
- Garnish the mole with fresh coriander and pumpkin seeds and serve with lime wedges and brown rice. Alternatively you could put the lime wedges, coriander and pumpkin seeds in little dishes on the table alongside the sweetcorn and allow people to help themselves to the garnishes.