Que Bueno Suerte Chef Ivan Ceballos’ Luscious Molé Recipe

The main ingredient for molé, according to Que Bueno Suerte chef Ivan Ceballos, doesn't show up on the long list for this recipe. It's patience.

Authored by Susan Fornoff

Image of moleThe main ingredient for molé, according to Que Bueno Suerte chef Ivan Ceballos, doesn’t show up on the recipe.

“It’s patience,” he says. “This is a sauce that you are making out of things that are all either toasted or fried or partly fried. It’s very important to follow the steps. You have to make two trips to the store to make molé: one to get what’s on your list and one to get what you forgot to put on the list.” No wonder he says, “Making molé is something you have to be in the mood to do.”

Ceballos uses a special pot when he makes this recipe, the same one his grandmother used. You can halve it if you want to make sure you don’t have any leftovers, but, on the other hand, the chef says, “There’s never such a thing. In the history of Mexico, no one has ever heard of leftover molé. There’s a joke about people who are a little chunky or pudgy, that it’s because of shame. Shame, as in, ‘Oh my God, it’s going to be a shame to throw that away. I’d rather eat it.’ ”

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Make this, taste this, and you won’t have the slightest temptation to throw it away.

Image of Chef Ivan


4 c. corn oil
10-15 dried pasilla peppers
10-15 ancho peppers
10-25 guajillo peppers
5-7 morita peppers
3 c. yellow onion, diced
1 c. garlic cloves
3 c. tomato, finely diced
1 c. roasted red bell pepper
3 Tbsp. fresh ginger, finely diced
½ Tbsp. star anise
½ Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
1 tsp. dried Mexican marjoram
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. allspice
4 Tbsp. ancho chile powder
3 Tbsp. duck fat
7 dried chile dé arbol
1 c. sesame seeds
2 c. amaranth seed
2 c. almonds, slivered, blanched, and lightly toasted
2 c. peanuts
2 c. pecans
1/4 c. toasted coconut
4 c. fried plantains
1½ gal. chicken broth
1 c. black raisins, soaked for 2-3 days in mescal with a piece of cinnamon stick and some orange peel
3 c. semisweet chocolate
2 c. dark chocolate (80 percent)
2 c. Brazilian black chocolate (60 percent)
1 c. fresh mango puree (or, in winter, sweet potato puree)

image of mole ingredients

Heat the corn oil to about 350 to 375 degrees and lightly fry the pasillas. Remove them to drain and repeat the process with the anchos, then the guajillos, then the moritas. Then follow the same procedure with the sesame seeds, amaranth seeds, almonds, peanuts, and pecans. Now add to the oil the next 13 ingredients (onion through ancho chile powder) and cook until the onion has softened. Add a little bit of the chicken broth and let this cook at a low simmer for a few minutes. Remove this from the pan and clean the pot out a little bit. Using gloves, remove stems from all the peppers you have lightly fried and blend them with the base you have just cooked.

Meanwhile, heat the duck fat and follow the same procedures above to lightly fry the seeds and nuts (chile dé arbol through pecans) one by one. Remove the stems from the peppers and add these to the base to be blended with chicken broth to your desired consistency. Return this to the stove to cook on low, adding the coconut, plantains, raisins, and chocolates. Add chicken broth as needed, and when it reaches the texture you want, reblend until smooth. Refrigerate overnight and reheat the next day, adding mango, salt to taste, and chicken broth to texture.

Now you’re ready to pour it on!

Image of chicken mole