Black Bean Mole

Valentine’s Day just wouldn’t be the same without chocolate; and this savoury mole gets some of its richness and depth from a sprinkling of good quality cocoa powder. This spicy vegetarian dish is delicious served in warm tortillas with sour cream and a salad of avocado, coriander, and lime. It could also be served as a side dish or an accompaniment to other Mexican dishes too.

You can use a variety of beans for this dish; so try experimenting with your favourites. Recently I tried the Italian Fabioli Diavoli Rosso (which is a big, meaty bean shaped like a Butter Bean) and they worked very well. I felt that they benefited from a gentle crush with a potato masher so that they absorbed some of the rich chilli flavours when added to the mole.

Black Bean Mole

250g Dried Black Beans (soaked overnight and then cooked in boiling water until tender)


2 x 400g Cans of Black Beans (drained)

3 Onions diced

30ml of a neutral oil (such as Rapeseed or Peanut)

3 Cloves of Garlic (peeled and crushed in a pestle and mortar with a good pinch of salt)

1-3 Fresh Red Chilli’s such as Jalepeno or Cayenne (with the seeds removed, then chopped and crushed in a pestle and mortar with the garlic)

2tbsp Cider Vinegar

1tsp Ground Cumin

1tbsp Cocoa Powder

3 Dried Pasilla or Ancho Chilli’s (torn open, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, then drained, then remove the seeds and chop finely)

2 Dried Guajillo Chilli’s (prepared as above)

2 x 400g cans of Chopped Tomatoes (or 8-12 roughly chopped fresh tomatoes)

Saute the diced onions in the oil with two generous pinches of salt over a medium heat until they are soft and golden brown. Add the fresh crushed chilli’s and garlic, from the pestle and mortar, to the onions and cook gently for a couple of minutes. Stir-in the cumin and the cocoa powder. Add the cider vinegar and cook until this has evaporated.

Stir-in the chopped rehydrated dried chilli’s and the fresh tomatoes (if using). Add a pinch of salt and cook until the liquid from the fresh tomatoes (if using) has evaporated. Add the drained black beans and the tinned tomatoes (if using). Turn the heat down to low and cover the pan. Cook gently for 1 hour, stirring regularly. Add a little water if the mole starts to look too dry.

Serve with warm tortillas, guacamole salad and sour cream.