Mole tamale recipe from El Lobo Mexican restaurant in Long Beach, Calif

This mole recipe’s finite number of ingredients making it approachable, delicious and worth trying at home.

LONG BEACH, Calif. December, 2012—Chef Sonia Gomez’s tender masa, made from masa harina, corn flower, is generously filled with chicken in mole sauce enriched with bananas, chocolate, roasted sesame seeds and more at El Lobo

“Latin food with roots” is how chef/partner Sonia Gomez describes her home-style restaurant in Long Beach, Calif.

The restaurant’s name El Lobo, the wolf, represents a spiritual teacher with strong senses of hearing, sight and smell.

Gomez opened her restaurant after long years of running restaurants for other people and is thrilled at the public’s response to her classic Mexican food, far from the usual tacos, enchiladas and burritos. The 40-seat location in the historic Bluff Heights neighborhood of Long Beach is designed to resemble a traditional hacienda with leather and wrought iron accents.

Mole tamales

(makes about 20)

3 T      Butter

8        Chicken thighs

Garlic cloves, tomatoes, onions, oregano and bay leaves, salt and pepper - to taste

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and cook the chicken thighs until the meat is just cooked through. Remove the chicken pieces from the skillet and cool. Using forks, pull meat from the bones and shred. Marinate in seasonings. 

4 qt      Masa

2 C      Water - masa should be moist, not too runny

Salt - to taste

2 C      Butter or olive oil 

Combine all ingredients and mix by hand until masa is nice and smooth with a rich texture. You may add more oil or less, depending on preference.

The more you mix your masa, the more moist it will be.

2 bundles Banana leaves 

Steam banana leaves in water to soften before using.

3          Large Potatoes - sliced

2          Red bell peppers - sliced

5          Large Jalapeño peppers - remove seeds

Cut banana leaves to about 10 inches, take one spoonful of masa and spread on banana leaf forming a circle that will be the base for all your toppings.

Add a spoonful of marinated chicken on top of the masa, followed by a slice of potato, jalapeño, bell pepper, and spoonful of mole sauce. Next fold the banana leaf over and carefully stack tamales upright in a tamale steamer. Cover and steam for about one hour. Cool and then serve. Garnish with extra sauce and sesame seeds if desired.

Mole sauce

(About 10 servings)


2 1/2 C Sesame seeds - roasted

20        Guajillo dry peppers - roasted, seeds removed

35        Ancho peppers - roasted, seeds removed

1 C      Raisins

5         Tomatoes - roasted

8 oz     Pumpkin seeds - roasted

1 C       Peanuts - roasted

1          Onion - chopped and roasted

4          Bananas - ripe

5          Garlic cloves- roasted

1 10-oz Box chocolate (Abuelita brand recommended) - to taste

Salt and pepper - to taste

5             Tortillas - toasted

5 qt      Water


Blend sesame seeds first, and then add other ingredients (except chocolate) to blend.

Once everything is nice and smooth, put in a pot to slowly simmer, and add chocolate to taste.

Mole sauce can be used over chicken or turkey for a wonderful sweet and spicy taste!



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Linda Mensinga

Linda Mensinga was editor of Culinary Trends for 15 years, now a contributing writer. Researching restaurants and hotels, she interviews the best and brightest chefs, not necessarily the most famous, to learn their secrets and recipes. Their talent and dedication never cease to inspire her. 

Mrs. Mensinga is happily food obsessed and fortunate enough to be married to a chef. 

Contact Linda Mensinga


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