When Mexico’s leading writer, Nobel Prize laureate Octavio Paz, arrived in New Delhi in 1962 to take up his post as ambassador to India, he quickly ran across a culinary puzzle. Although Mexico and India were on opposite sides of the globe, the brown, spicy, aromatic curries that he was offered in India sparked memories of Mexico’s national dish, mole (pronounced MO-lay). Is mole, he wondered, “an ingenious Mexican version of curry, or is curry a Hindu adaptation of a Mexican sauce?” How could this seeming coincidence of “gastronomic geography” be explained? . . .

One of Mexico's most famous dishes, mole poblano. Photo by Ignacio Urquiza with permission from SaudiAramcoWorld

One of Mexico’s most famous dishes, mole poblano. Photo by Ignacio Urquiza with permission from SaudiAramco World

Some of my readers know my articleThe Mexican Kitchen’s Islamic Connection.”  If you don’t, you might enjoy reading about how Mexican cuisine is full of dishes like those of medieval Baghdad.

Chiles and other ingredients for mole poblano

Some of the many ingredients in mole poblano. Photo Ignacio Urquiza with permission from SaudiAramco World

In another post, I will round up the links to further thoughts I have had on this issue, as well as talking about how I came to write this article in the first place.

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