Simplest Chicken Mole Verde Recipe Ever! (Maybe)

Simplest Chicken Mole Verde Recipe Ever! (Maybe)
Published: Apr 23, 2017
Our two-month stay in Mexico — a country of famously diverse and delicious cuisine — yielded some new recipes. Mole, pronounced 'MO-lay', is a word referring to various kinds of sauces; mole literally means 'mass'. Of Oaxaca region's 'seven moles': negro, rojo., coloradito, amarillo, verde, chichilo, manchamantel, negro (with chocolate) and verde are the most commonly found in restaurants there. We're doing mole verde, which gets its green status from the colour of hulled pumpkins seeds, the base of the dried mole verde spice mix; in this recipe, you'll be making it yourself. Serves 4-6. (Pork can be substituted for chicken.)


• One whole chicken (cut up into parts)

• 1.5 litres of water

• 1/2 large red or white onion

• 6 garlic cloves 

• 2 tsp of dried marjoram, or 1 tablespoon of fresh marjoram

• 2 Tbsp of oil

• 2 cups of any combination of these leafy greens: spinach, arugula, kale, chard, radish leaves, celery, cilantro, lettuce, and parsley.

• 1 Tbsp of wormseed (in Spanish: epazoteDysphania ambrosioides) or substitute with cilantro, AKA coriander

• 2 cups of tomatillos (small green tomatoes) (husked)

• 2 small green chilis (1 if very hot, 3-4 if not so hot) — chili seranno preferred

• 2 cups of pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

• 1 tsp of whole cloves

• 1 Tbsp of cumin seeds

• Salt


The bag of dry mole verde mix is added at the end of the cooking process, well after the leafy green mixture gets blended.


1  Put chicken into a large saucepan and add water to almost cover the chicken. Add ¼ onion cut into chunks, 3 cloves of garlic and 2 tsp of salt, bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes. Reserve the broth.

2  Roast the hulled pumpkin seeds in a pan, with no oil, until golden.

3  Grind pumpkins seeds, cumin seeds, and cloves in a coffee grinder; this is the mole verde 'spice' mixture. 

4  Sauté ¼ onion (sliced) and 3 cloves of garlic (chopped)  onion and garlic until onions are translucent; set aside.

5  Cut up leafy greens, wormseed or cilantro, tomatillos*, chilis and place in blender with a 1/2 cup of water. Blend into a thick mixture.

6  Pour only enough chicken broth into the leafy green mixture to give it a thick, muddy texture.

7  Pour this mixture into a large saucepan (the chicken is coming soon) and bring to a boil.

8  Add the spice mixture, onions and garlic and simmer for 30 minutes.

9  Add the chicken, simmer for another 30 minutes and serve. 

Adrianne, daughter of chef Maria, takes care not to add too much broth to the leafy green mixture, avoiding an overly liquid sauce.


* Tomatillos, not easily found in North America or Europe except in your local Spanish or Mexican food store, can be replaced with green tomatoes. 

For another delicious but more rigorous and complex Mexican mole dish, see James Cullingham's Mole Amarillo in these pages. Please bear in mind these two mole dishes range from very easy (verde) to very challenging (amarillo) — feel free to find the median that suits you! 


WHITNEY SMITH is the Publisher and Editor of The Journal of Wild Culture.

MARIA FLORES URTADO lives and works in the ecovillage of Huehuecoytl, near Tepztlan, Mexico.



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