Grilled Chicken Tostadas with Homemade Mole Sauce

So this one was quite the production, which we were feeling up to since we hadn't made an involved meal in a while. The original recipe said it takes 2 hours to make - but beware, it took us closer to 3 (recipe modified from Eating Well). We made it on a Sunday, so were able to make the mole sauce and prepare the chicken earlier in the day to split it up. It's definitely a time consuming recipe - of course you can probably tell that by the lengthy list of ingredients and separate steps. If you want some short-cuts, I would suggest buying mole sauce and pre-made tostadas.

The veggies are delicious and pretty easy. They have a unique flavor and add a nice twist to the tostadas. Definitely give yourself a little sample before putting it all together so you can get a good taste! The chicken and adobo rub are also very good and relatively simple. The rub recipe is one we'll definitely be using again.

That mole sauce, however, is what takes a while (especially the sieving step). And after I sieved it like the recipe says, I was left with purely liquid. Even when I cooked it to reduce and thicken, it was still pure liquid. I am not sure of a better way to do this part. I googled some other recipes and not all put the sauce through a seive. I feel like the most important part to get out of the sauce is the pepper skins. The tomato skins, however, I would have loved to have kept to thicken it up. I was mad at myself for tossing them down the disposal. Next time, I might blend the peppers/soaking water separate from the rest of the ingredients. This way, I wouldn't have to sieve the tomato mixture and it would keep the sauce thick, like mole sauce should be. While browsing the internet to figure out what went wrong with this particular recipe (aka. why it was so runny), I found several other mole recipes that had tons of great ingredients - like raisins and dark chocolate (yum!). I'm definitely not giving up on homemade mole sauce yet. Anyone have any great mole recipes?

Overall review: definitely tasty, but not one for a weeknight!

Serves 6


  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

  • 3 dried ancho or New Mexico chiles (we used guajillo chiles)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 medium tomatoes, quartered and seeded
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups diced carrot
  • 1 cup diced summer squash
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

12 tostada shells (follow step # 1 of this recipe to make your own)

TOPPINGS (optional - and yes, we tend to get a bit carried away :)
  • Cilantro
  • Shredded letuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced onions
  • Jalapenoes
  • Cheese
  • Diced avacadoes
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Sliced radishes


To prepare adobo rub and chicken:
(Can make the rub ahead - refridgerate for up to 3 days)
  1. Combine chili powder, lime juice, oil, cumin, onion powder, garlic power, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Rub 2 tablespoons of adobo rub generously all over chicken breasts. Let marinate for 30 minutes or wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

To prepare mole sauce: *read my comments above before committing to this one :)
(Can make ahead - refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for up to 3 months)

  1. Tear chiles into pieces; discard stems and seeds. Place in a bowl, add boiling water and soak until the chiles are soft, about 30 minutes.
  2. Pour the chiles and soaking liquid into a blender. Add tomatoes, onion, garlic, vinegar, flour, sugar, cumin, pepper, cayenne to taste and cloves; blend until smooth.
  3. Strain the sauce through a sieve to filter out any remaining seeds and skins, pressing out as much liquid as possible from the solids. *again, may want to modify this step
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sauce and cook, stirring frequently, until it thickens and reduces to about 2 cups, 10 to 20 minutes. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

To prepare sweet-&-sour vegetables:
(can make ahead - refrigerate for up to a day)

  1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add carrots and cook for 7 minutes.
  2. Add squash, vinegar, oregano, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Continue cooking until the vegetables are just tender, 2 to 3 minutes more.
  3. Drain, transfer to a bowl and season with more pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.

To cook the chicken:

  1. About 20 minutes before you’re ready to grill the chicken, preheat grill to medium. Oil the grill rack. Grill the chicken until cooked throughout, about 6 to 8 minutes per side.
  2. Transfer to a clean cutting board, let rest for 5 minutes and slice into 1/2-inch strips.

To assemble tostadas:

  1. Place 2 tostada shells on each plate. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of the mole sauce over each tostada, then top each with desired amount of the vegetables. Divide the chicken among the tostadas and drizzle with more mole sauce.
  2. Serve with toppings as desired.


Chef E said...

Oh I see these that remind me of my old haunts and Tex Mex in Texas, and I am drooling- hey I just posted about verde salsa and I read about Rick Bayless who has a recipe for a Verde Mole! Like reeses PB cups- they crash together and make this tasty'er'er thing!

Looks so good my dears- wedding getting closer'er'er too :)

pam said...

Well that's beautiful, but I'm not up to a three hour prep time. It's summer, all about quick and easy for me.

Joanne said...

Mmm yes so this is why I made my last mole sauce in a slow cooker. This looks quite delicious though! Well worth the time.

Amanda said...

Definitely looks fabulous! Thanks for the warning on the time involved. Might have to try this!

The Duo Dishes said...

Making a homemade mole sauce is also on the list of things to do. It's interesting that you didn't add any chocolate. We'll have to try this sauce soon.

♥peachkins♥ said...

Stunning shot!

blowing peachkisses
The Peach Kitchen
peach and things

grace said...

tostadas are awesome, and that's that--so adaptable and versatile. kudos to you for making mole--it's the crowning touch to your awesome meal!

Unknown said...

that looks delicious, but i have a feeling i'd opt for those shortcuts you mentioned ;)

Conor @ HoldtheBeef said...

I may well be too lazy to taste the deliciousness of this recipe so I will just try now to channel the taste from you.....

Tastes good.

lisaiscooking said...

Looks like it was worth the time and effort! I love these flavors and could enjoy this kind of meal every day.

Juliana said...

Mole sauce, only had it once...and sure enjoyed it...yours chicken with the sauce looks so tasty :-)

Gloria Baker said...

OMG This look absolutely awesome! yummy! gloria

Velva said...

Oh my! That looks delicious. Definitely worth the effort. I know the mole sauce was an extra effort, and did not quite turn out as planned but, still this is fabulous.

test it comm said...

That looks really tasty! It has bee too long since I last had a mole sauce.

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