What are Holy Mole peppers?
Looking for the perfect chili for mole sauce making? The Holy Mole pepper is bred for the job. This delicious hybrid pepper – akin to the mole-favorite pasilla pepper – packs a delicious nutty tang and mild simmering heat (700 to 800 Scoville heat units or SHU) that pairs deliciously with a mole’s rich ingredients. Though don’t pigeonhole this pepper into a singular use. The award-winning Holy Mole is just as tasty fresh, and its thick walls allow for many culinary uses.
Table of Contents
- What are Holy Mole peppers?
- Holy Mole pepper fast facts
- How are the Holy Mole and pasilla pepper related?
- Why choose the Holy Mole when the pasilla is part of the “Holy Trinity” of mole peppers?
- How hot are Holy Mole peppers?
- What do these chilies look like?
- What do Holy Mole peppers taste like?
- How can you use these chilies?
- Where can you buy Holy Mole peppers?
- Must-read related posts
Holy Mole pepper fast facts
|Scoville heat units (SHU)||700 – 800|
|Median heat (SHU)||750|
|Jalapeño reference point||3 to 10 times milder|
|Size||Approximately 7 to 9 inches long, slender|
How are the Holy Mole and pasilla pepper related?
The Holy Mole is a pasilla-like pepper in terms of how they taste with mole sauces, and that terminology can actually be confusing as the name pasilla refers to the dried variant of the chilaca pepper, from which the Holy Mole is the direct hybrid. The Holy Mole moniker covers both the fresh and dried form of this hybrid chili.
Why choose the Holy Mole when the pasilla is part of the “Holy Trinity” of mole peppers?
True, the pasilla is one of the most popular peppers in Mexico because it is so critical to mole cooking, part of the famed Holy Trinity of mole peppers (ancho, pasilla, guajillo), but the Holy Mole has some key growing advantages gained through hybridizing:
- The Holy Mole was bred to grow faster and provide more peppers per plant than the chilaca/pasilla. This is important since mole sauces rely on mature chilies that have reached their final color state and flavor intensity on the vine.
- The Holy Mole is disease resistant to the tobacco mosaic virus (strains 0, 1, and 2) – a common pepper virus. It’s also resistant to the potato virus (Y strain).
What does this mean for us eaters? It means healthier mole sauce peppers, and more of them, earlier in the season. The hybridizing provides a more powerful pepper with similar (enough) heat and flavor traits. This led the Holy Mole to receive the All-America Selections award (AAS) for vegetables in 2007. It’s a chili pepper game-changer.
How hot are Holy Mole peppers?
They actually don’t come anywhere close to an authentic pasilla’s heat, though neither is a scorcher on the pepper scale. Holy Mole peppers range between 700 and 800 Scoville heat units (SHU), while pasilla chilies range from 1,000 to 2,500 SHU. Yes, that’s often double the heat, but pasillas are still typically in the mild heat range.
As a comparison against our jalapeño reference point, the Holy Mole is three to ten times milder than a jalapeño. That’s a spiciness most anyone can handle.
What do these chilies look like?
They look much like the chilaca pepper from which they are hybridized. Holy Mole pepeprs are long and slender chilies that grow seven to nine inches long. They age from green to a chocolatey brown in color, and it’s in their mature brown state that the chili gains its value to mole sauces.
What do Holy Mole peppers taste like?
The taste of the Holy Mole is similar to a pasilla, but there is a difference. The pasilla has an earthy raisiny taste, whereas the Holy Mole tends to have a more nutty tang. The flavor is present even in its youthful green state, but it grows in intensity as the pepper ages to a mature brown.
How can you use these chilies?
Obviously, the Holy Mole pepper is bred for use in mole sauces. When the pepper ripens to its chocolatey brown mature color, it can then be dried and crushed into powder form for mole use. You can also use this powder to flavor soups and stews. And it’s quite good as a single-ingredient dry rub. The nutty undertones help Holy Mole powder work very well as a steak spice.
But don’t overlook the Holy Mole in its fresh form, either. This chili has thick walls – thick enough to allow for stuffing (though the slenderness of the chilies does provide a challenge.) It also works very well as a salad or salsa chili when in its youthful green color stage.
Where can you buy Holy Mole peppers?
While not common sites fresh in supermarkets – at least not labeled as such – Holy Mole peppers, being an AAS selection, are relatively easy to find in seed form at gardening centers and online. So you can grow your own. You can buy both Holy Mole pepper seeds and young plants ready for transplanting. If you’re looking for kitchen-ready dried chilies, opt for buying pasilla peppers. They are much easier to find.
If you’re looking to create your own authentic mole sauces – from the garden to the stovetop – then the Holy Mole is the optimal choice. More peppers, faster and healthier, means more delicious mole sauce for you to enjoy year-round.