Watsonville company brings mole to the masses
Never buy tamales from the frozen food department at Costco. Good tamales require days to prepare correctly, otherwise forget it. The same is true of mole, the popular and flavorful Mexican sauce that will be celebrated this week at the Mole and Mariachi Festival (see page 49). When Watsonville native Cesario Ruiz started the company My Mom’s Mole last year, he wanted to bring good mole to the masses. Rather than packaging a pre-made sauce, he sells a powder that folks can add stock or other ingredients to, and in under an hour, have fresh, homemade mole—without spending days in the kitchen getting it right. We asked him about his product, which is currently at New Leaf, Staff of Life and Corralitos Market—and if his current fundraising campaign via barnraiser.us is successful, hopefully many more places.
How do you describe mole?
CESARIO RUIZ: The easiest way to explain it is that it’s like Mexican curry, where ingredients range from peppers to seeds, nuts, spices, and one of the key ingredients usually used is chocolate. To many people it’s known as a chocolate sauce, but not necessarily all moles have chocolate. It’s a sauce commonly use on meat. Traditionally, it was made to be used with turkey at weddings, but now people use it as a sauce for pork, chicken, beef, even just vegetables.
What does yours taste like?
By selling it in a powder form, people will complete the final product at home. My recipe is not that sweet. If they want it sweeter, they can add either sugar or raisins. Usually I suggest people use natural sweeteners: dates, dried apricots or even more raisins. It’s a little bit spicy. If people want it to be more spicy, they can always add a little bit of cayenne at the end. People will just add stock and simmer for about 30 minutes, add the seasoning and it’s ready to go. We have used it as a spicy mix, or also like a rub.
Is this really your mom’s mole recipe?
It is a recipe developed by me with a list of ingredients I got from her. I always watched her, growing up, the way she cooked. For her, it would take her up to three days to start the process to make mole because I’m from a little village in Mexico, so she wouldn’t have all the modern equipment to process and blend and grind and dry and toast.
What’s your favorite way to eat mole?
With roasted chicken. I like to just buy that, make my mole sauce, mix the meat in and eat it on tacos or tostadas.
For more info, go to mymomsmole.com.
MOLE FOR THE MASSES Cesario Ruiz of My Mom’s Mole mixing mole powder at a community kitchen in Watsonville. PHOTO: CHIP SCHEUER