The Nostalgic Ingredient Rick Martínez Puts In His Mole - Exclusive

For those who aren't well-versed in Mexican cuisine, let's first explain what mole is. According to Food Network, the dish can be prepared in a myriad of ways as a type of sauce. The traditional version, named Nahua molli, consisted of chiles that were ground into paste, watered down, and added to a type of protein. As time went on, mole became more versatile for a sweet or savory addition. Rick Martínez is a connoisseur of the meal, with his cookbook including several other versions, depending on your flavor goal.

In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Rick Martínez, the former senior food editor for Bon Appétit, broke down exactly how mole is made. The YouTube personality demonstrated a mole dish live and in person at the New York Times Food Festival in a segment named "Cooking Oaxaca: Mole." Martínez told Mashed that his cookbook, "Mi Cocina," features three different types of mole: blanco, amarillo, and coloradito. At the festival, he demoed the perfect mole coloradito, which is a "reddish brown mole" that contains a special ingredient.

Martínez adds animal crackers to his mole

As the food star traveled across the country for his cookbook, Rick Martínez learned a particularly new and unexpected ingredient to add to the sauce. Animal crackers, also known as our favorite childhood snack, are more commonly used in mole than you may have thought. Martínez explained, "They serve a couple of purposes: They give a little bit of sweetness, but they also, because they're made up out of wheat flour, they add a little bit of thickening as well." He added, "It improves that nice, creamy texture of the finished product."

Martínez said that it is difficult to find good mole in the United States, describing mole as "a mother sauce in Mexico." He explained that the recipe is often "misunderstood" or viewed as too hard to make. That's why Martínez took it upon himself in his book "to represent the country in the cuisine." According to Condé Nast Traveler, Martínez traveled 20,000 miles through Mexico to strengthen his connection to his home country. The New York Times contributor was on a journey to not only find himself but also enhance his love and knowledge of cooking Mexican cuisine. Sounds like we can learn a thing or two from Martínez's experiences!

Learn more about the New York Times Food Festival on its website. Check out Rick Martínez's website to keep up with his current projects.