This version of Mexican Oaxaca chicken in yellow mole sauce is made with chayote squash standing in for the potatoes. Substituting chayote for potatoes both enhances the flavor of the dish, while also modifying it to be low carb compliant. A family favorite!
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Yellow Mole as One of the 7 Oaxacan Moles
Mole occupies a predominant place in Mexican cuisine. Yellow mole (amarillo) is one of the famous 7 moles from Oaxaca.
The 7 iconic moles of Oaxaca are:: rojo, coloradito, amarillo, verde, negro, chichilo, and manchamantel.
The yellow color in the amarillo mole typically comes from the Chilhuacle Amarillo pepper (aka the” locoto pepper”)
Chilhuacle Amarillo peppers are very hard to find however, even in Oaxaca, but the spice blend in the recipe card below has a flavor similar to the mole made with Chilhuacle Amarillo peppers. The color in the homemade spice blend to be a subtle orange rather than the brighter yellow however.
Mole Spice Blend
The first time I made a chicken dish with yellow mole sauce, I used fresh peppers that I roasted, peeled and seeded. While it tasted delicious, it was a labor of love, and it was not going to be a dish that I returned to very often for a quick week-night meal.
I did love the complex flavors and textures in the yellow mole sauce however, and set about to make an easier version. The recipe below uses similar ingredients, but uses a mole spice blend instead of the fresh roasted chile peppers.
If you don’t have all the ingredients, or want to make your life really easy, try this Southwestern Mole Mix from Amazon.
Honestly I could not taste a difference in the complexity or depth of flavor between this recipe made with fresh roasted peppers as opposed to the mole spice blend.
Substitutes for Chilhuacle Amarillo peppers
I grow the Peruvian Aji Amarillo pepper on our farm and it is a beautiful yellow color with a bright slightly citrus flavor similar to the Chilhuacle Amarillo pepper.
The Aji Amarillo pepper is however, quite spicy. In fact, it is considered to be four times hotter than a jalapeño, whereas the Chilhuacle Amarillo pepper is considered to be medium heat.
Mike Hultquist, from Chili Pepper Madness, shares a good summary with photos of the Chilhuacle Amarillo pepper.
Another yellow, spicy pepper that you could substitute would be a hot banana pepper, which would be easier to find in the U.S.
If you enjoy all types of Mexican food, check out this category of ALL Mexican recipes, where you will find over 40 Mexican recipes, from casual, to low carb, to fancy.
Chicken and Vegetables with Yellow Mole Sauce
- 4 large tomatillos husk peeled off
- 1 large onion peeled and quartered
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 teaspoons mole spice blend pre-made or homemade (see note below)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 medim chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium Roma tomato coarsely chopped
- 6 ounces asparagus a few spears cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 teaspoons masa harina this is to thicken; masa is not low carb but it is only 2 tsp. Omit if desired.
- Preheat oven to broil. Place peeled tomatillos, quartered onions, and garlic cloves on baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes. Turn vegetables and broil on other side another 5 min (or until charred).4 large tomatillos, 1 large onion, 4 cloves garlic
- Let vegetables cool a bit. When they are cool enough to handle, place roasted vegetables in food processor and puree until smooth. Add 3 teaspoons mole spice blend to processor and puree until thoroughly combined. Set aside.3 teaspoons mole spice blend
CHICKEN & VEGETABLES
- In a large pot, add chicken broth, chicken thighs and salt and bring to a boil. Turn down heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes.4 cups chicken broth, 4 medim chicken thighs, 1 teaspoon salt
- Add tomato and asparagus to pot that chicken is in and cook another 15 minutes.1 medium Roma tomato, 6 ounces asparagus
- Remove chicken and let cool a bit. At this point you can add the masa and whisk in thoroughly while simmering if you want a thicker stew (this is optional) It tastes great without the masa, but it is a thinner broth. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it or cut it away from the bone and add back to the pot.2 teaspoons masa harina
- Pour the reserved mole mixture into a small pot and heat until warm. Stir in some water if mole is thicker than you like it.
- To serve: dish chicken and vegetables and broth into a bowl and spoon the mole sauce over it.
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 2 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoon medium spicy chile powder (ancho, hot banana, etc.)
- 1/3 cup sesame seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon anise
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