I fret quite a bit when I’m asked to pull out Mexican dishes for a party. The staples- refried beans, guac, salsa verde, are all relatively simple to rustle up, but it’s the price tag on dried Mexican chillies, canned black beans, even avocado sometimes, that stops me from diving right into a chilli con carne recipe (good quality lean beef mince needed here). That being said, I’ve never been disheartened, but rather taught myself to move forward and make the best out of what I have available to me.
Take my inauthentic, cheat way of making Mole for example- it’s a one pan operation that simply involves dunking everything in stock and letting it reduce for an hour and a half. I unashamedly use Indian chilli powder for heat, but make sure that the spices are freshly ground for maximum flavour. Dunk your wings in it, turn it into an enchilada sauce or serve it over Mexican rice (I use ready packets of fajita seasoning to make this).
The salsa recipe below boasts tropical notes of pineapple, dark, rich taste of prunes and a generous splash of good quality tequila. Get your hand bender involved here, and adjust if you like your salsa chunkier than usual. I would serve this alongside a more savoury salsa, for those who don’t prefer sweet + tart things.
Cheat Mole Sauce
Golden raisins 100g
Chicken Stock 1 litre (use a cube here, it’s all good)
Creamy Peanut Butter 150g (use the Dr. Oetker version because it’s a little less sweet than the others)
Allspice berries 1/2 tsp, freshly ground
Cinnamon quill 1/2 tsp, freshly grated on a microplane
Chilli powder 1 tbsp
White pepper 1/2 tsp, ground
Garlic 4 cloves, minced
Vegetable Oil/Groundnut Oil 100ml
Brown Sugar 50g (
Dark Chocolate 30g (you can use a small bar of Bournville here if you don’t have access to really good quality dark chocolate, that is 70 per cent cocoa solids)
Add raisins to the pot of boiling chicken stock and let it sit for an hour. Add in the peanut butter, the allspice berries, cinnamon, chilli powder, white pepper, garlic and oil and use a hand blender to mix everything together.
Heat this mixture over a medium flame and let it reduce for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.
After an hour, add the brown sugar and the dark chocolate and let it continue to simmer for another 30 minutes at least. The mole sauce will thicken as it cools down. Store this in an airtight container in the refrigerator where it keeps good for a month.
Pineapple and Tequila Salsa
Prunes 3, pitted
Good quality tequila 25ml
Cider Vinegar 1 tsp
Dole chillies 2
Pineapple 1, peeled and cubed
Salt 1/2 tsp
Honey 1 tbsp
Soak the prunes in the tequila and lime juice for an hour, or overnight.
Fish them out and blitz it together with the chilli and the vinegar.
Next, add the pineapple pieces as you go and continue to blitz till you reach a desired taste. Adjust with honey and the salt.