COLLECTION: Mexican Chocolate

From: (Lynn Johnson)

Date: 26 Jul 1993 18:19:14 GMT


Regarding your query about a chocolate beverage that calls for chili pepper as an ingredient. My daughter-in-law said she knows of none that is prepared today, but she will ask her friends and relatives. She is from Monterrey and thinks that there might be a reference to it in the Mexico City area.

She believes that the reference to combining peppers and chocolate refers to Mole, a unique flavoring for chicken or turkey and a very popular dish invented by a nun and based on an ancient festival dish prepared by the Aztecs. I found the following references and recipes in the "Good Food From Mexico" cited below.)

Regarding the topic Mexican Chocolate beverage, I located the following in a nice little paperback book "Good Food From Mexico" by Ruth Watt Mulvey and Luisa Maria Alvarez, 1950 by M. Barrows & Co, Inc. First published by Collier Books, in 1962. This is nice cookbook in paperback and has 350 recipes for unique native Mexican dishes which I have not seen in other cookbooks. I hope it is still in print.

"Chocolate, or cacahuatl as it was originally called, is one of Mexico's gifts to the world. I proved so popular in Europe after the return of the Spaniards that one of the popes forbade its use on the grounds that it was an aphrodisiac. Legend has it that the supreme epicure Moctezuma was the first to discover chocolate ice and sent his runners to the heights of the volcano to bring back blocks of snow over which thick chocolate was poured, whipped, and served as chilled froth. A rare morning treat, Mexican chocolate is different from chocolate drunk anywhere in the world. Part of its unique flavor comes from the mixture of cinnamon and vanilla." p.13

"When the ambassadors of Cortes encountered the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma, he was at the breakfast table shielded by a rich screen. Servants were filing by in endless procession with tempting delicacies. The most frequent offering was a steaming aromatic drink which was called cacahuatl, meaning sour water. The thin beverage made from water and seeds, so valuable that they were used as currency in many parts of Mexico and so costly that only royalty could afford them, was a favorite drink. On first taste, the Spaniards were not impressed, but when they were served the beverage sweetened with honey and flavored with spices and vanilla, they succumbed. In short order the chocolate habit spread to Europe.

There it became inordinately popular. So popular, in fact that ecclesiastical authorities frowned upon chocolate drinking as immoral and provocative of immorality; finally a Papal Bull was issued prohibiting the faithful from drinking it.

Mexican chocolate is not something found upon a shelf with simple instructions to "add one cup of water." It is still prepared with the lovely carved whirling molinillos. These whip into a steaming froth the small cinnamon-flavored cakes, which are melted in hot water and often enriched with egg." p. 28

Champurrado (Chocolate made with Atole)

1/3 Cup nixtamalina, or 3 Tbs. cornstarch
3 cups cold water
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 squares Mexican chocolate, or 2 ounces dark Dutch chocolate, grated 
1 tsp powdered cinnamon
2 cups milk

Blend nixtamalina (or cornstarch) with one cup water.  Add the rest of the
water and strain through a fine sieve.  Pour into a saucepan and bring to a
boil over low heat, stirring constantly.  Add surgars, vanilla and chocolate,
a little at a time stirring constantly.  Add milk slowly and cook until
the mixture has achieved a creamy consistency. Yield: 5-6 servings.

Chocolate Mexicano (Mexican Chocolate)

2 pounds Soconusco cocoa beans
1 pound Caracas cocoa beans
1/2 cup almonds, blanched, and lightly toasted
1/2 cup peanuts, blanched and toasted
1 Tbs. powdered cinnamon
1 pound sugar
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 clove
1 egg 
2 egg yolks

Grind all ingredients except eggs and stand near heat to warm.  Add eggs
and, while still warm, shape into little balls the size of an egg.  Pat 
into pancakes and place on a board to cool. Wrap the chocolate pancakes in
tissue paper and store in glass jars until needed.  They keep indefinately 
and each one makes four cups of chocolate.

Chocolate Beverage


6 cups milk
3 ounces Mexican chocolate (or dark Dutch type)
1 tsp powdered cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
Boil milk in the top of a deep double boiler five minutes.  Remove from
fire and add chocolate, mixed with the cinnamon, a little at a time,
beating with molinillo or egg beater after each addition.  When the chocolate
is thoroughly blended, heat to the boiling point. Place over bottom of
double boiler and add eggs, whipping constantly, until they are
thoroughly blended and the mixture is frothing. Yield: 8 servings.

"Food has always been more than mere subsistence, even to the poorest Indians
of the country.  When the Spanish Conquistadores landed in 1519, they were
given presents of gold and silver and jewels so priceless that they enslaved
an entire empire to gain the source.  Chiefest honor, however, was the 
special dishes which had been prepared by the Aztecs for the "visitors".
Through the centuries Mexicans have continued to share bread with friends
and with honored guests. Indeed, the national dish--the famous Mole de
Guajolote--was created in the spirit of the Legion of Merit.
More than three centuries ago, word came to the nuns living in a convent
in the quiet tiled city of Puebla that the Viceroy would visit their
institution on his next trip. ...a nameless nun thought that (dinner)
should be something truly extraordinary.  What could be more unusual and
more appropiate than a variation of the principal fiesta dish of the Aztecs?
Mole Poblano was born from turkey, and spices: sesame seed, garlic,
onion, almonds, tortillas, cloves, blackpepper, aniseed, salt, chocolate,
raisins, cinnamon.  The dish is still one of the most respected dishes of
Mexico and found on every table at a christening, marriage feast, and funeral
Curiously enough Puebla, like the nuns who gave the dish to Mexico, is 
purely Spanish.  Mole, itself, like most of the other dishes in this book
are of native origin.  

Mole De Guajolote (Turkey in Mole Sauce)

4 chilies anchos
4 chilies mulatos
4 chilies pasillas
1 onion, roasted
2 Tbs. sesame seeds
2 Tbs. shelled peanuts
1 square (one ounce) cooking chocolate
2 inch stick cinnamon
5 peppercorns
2 cloves
1/2 tsp aniseed
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tortilla, fried
4 Tbs. fat
3 pounds turkey, fresh or frozen parts (could use chicken)

To make mole sauce soak chiles, remove veins, and grind onions with chilies.
Heat together sesame, peanuts, chocolate, spices, salt and fried tortilla.
Grind together.  Fry all the ingred. in hot fat about three minutes.  Add
half cup of water and continue to cook over low heat until the sauce is thick
and well blended. (preparation of this dish has been simplified during 
recent years by the advent of some excellent canned and powdered mole
sauces that are sold in most Mexican food stores.)
Cut turkey into serving pieces and stew gently in enough water to cover till
tender.  Drain, cover with mole sauce and simmer, covered, seven or eigh
minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add a little turkey broth.  6 servings.

Mole Serrano (Mountain Mole)

10-12 lb. turkey
2 chilies anchos
3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 lb. blanched almonds
3 oz. seedless raisins
1 banana
3 squares chocolate
1/3 cup cracker crumbs
20 cloves
2 two-inch sticks cinnamon
1 cup fat
2  Tbs. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
grated cheese

Clean turkey, cut into portions and cook in enough water to cover until
tender.  Remove seeds from chilies, toast lightly over direct flame and
soak in two cups of water for one hour. Chop together the chilies, tomatoes,
almonds, raisins, banana, chocolate, cracker crumbs, cloves and cinnamon.
Fry in the fat about ten minutes.  Add salt and simmer another five
minutes.  Add the stock in which the turkey was cooked, pouring until the
sauce is very thick.  Put cooked turkey pieces in the pot with other
ingred.  and simmer a few minutes.  Remove.  Serve sprinkled with sesame.
Yield: 10-12 servings.


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