Oaxacan-style Chicken and Dumplings (Mole Amarillito con Pollo y Chochoyotes)

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Being a Philippine-American, I am naturally drawn to Mexican culture and cuisine as Philippines and Mexico share customs and traditions dating back to some 400 years. If you are interested in reading about the Mexican-Philippine cultural relationship, check out this article. Many  traditional Mexican dishes (non fast-food ones) that I have had remind me of Filipino home cooking and comfort foods. The first time I ate cochinita pibil at a Mexican restaurant, it reminded me of a pork dish that my dad would cook. Though there are some differences in ingredients used (for example:  Filipino adobo refers to a meat stew cooked in a vinegar & soy based sauce and Mexican adobo involves dried and/or smoked chiles), something about Mexican food transports me to my family’s table. I can feel the warmth and care put into making the dishes in the same way that my parents and other relatives do with Filipino food.

Since my husband is recovering from a nasty cough and it has been a bit cloudy outside last week, I made  Oaxacan-style chicken and masa dumplings (mole amarillito con pollo y chochoyotes). This orange-red colored mole is not usually what you would think about when talking mole. Probably the most common is the mole poblano or mole negro that involve chocolate and a slew of other ingredients and spices. There are several types of mole originating in Oaxaca and other states in Mexico, but this mole amarillito isn’t very complicated and doesn’t require so many ingredients. It is easy to whip up and is  full of flavor, I guarantee it!

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In addition to tomatoes and other spices, this mole sauce is comprised of dried chiles, tomatillos, and garlic….

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…that are boiled in water or stock until soft, then pureed. I used homemade stock that I had in my freezer. Also, hoja santa (also called yerba santa) leaves are another ingredient for this mole, but if you can’t find it, cilantro will do. I used the latter and it turned out well 😀

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Browning the chicken gives great flavor to the chicken and the whole dish. Plus, it renders out some of the fat from the chicken skin and makes it more pleasant to eat. Like that feeling of eating roasted chicken. I used an organic, free range chicken from Trader Joe’s. If you don’t want big chicken pieces, you can cut chicken thighs and breasts into cubes. Leftover chicken would be great too. Or you could even use pork or beef. Or tofu! After you brown the chicken, you add the sauce and some stock thickened with masa harina and let it simmer.

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By looks, these masa dumplings (chochoyotes) kind of remind me of matzo balls with a hole in the middle, though the flavor and texture  is much different. You can make the holes as large or as small as you want. The masa dough is seasoned and spiced with some cinnamon. I love cinnamon. I probably have it everyday in some form. I like to sprinkle some in my daily cup(s) of tea or decaf (via natural/Swiss method) coffee. Also, I used leftover grass-fed bacon fat instead of lard or butter for the dough. The bacon fat gave it a nice smokey flavor.   These dumplings simmer along with the chicken. Also, you can add some vegetables or make it completely vegetarian. The traditional vegetables are chayote (a type of gourd), potatoes, and green beans. I didn’t add them this time, but they taste delicious in this mole dish too!

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Silky, vibrant, with a mild heat. This mole tastes complex, but without too much effort. Great food for sick days or when you are just craving a kicked up version of chicken and dumplings. 🙂

Oaxacan Yellow Chicken Mole with Masa Dumplings 

adapted from Pati’s Mexican Table

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 pound or about 8 to 10 tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
  • 1 medium tomato (or a handful of cherry or grape tomatoes)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 whole cloves (or a little more than 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 chicken pieces, patted dry and seasoned with salt & pepper  on both sides
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 chayote, peeled and cubed (optional)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed (optional)
  • 0.5 lb green beans, ends trimmed (optional)
  • 1/4 cup corn masa harina (I recommend Maseca brand)
  • 5 cups chicken stock, kept warm (or any other flavorful broth such as vegetable stock)
  • 3 medium fresh hoja santa/yerba santa or 5 dried, optional (can substitute 2 sprigs cilantro)

Masa Dumplings (Chochoyotes) ~ 15 pieces

  • 1 cup corn masa harina
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons leaf lard (alternatives: bacon fat, butter or coconut oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  1. Toast the chiles on a medium heat skillet or griddle, about 10-15 seconds per side. Place the chiles in a pan with the tomatillos, tomato, and garlic. Cover with water and, on medium heat, bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes until chiles, tomatillos and tomatoes are soft.  In a blender or food processor, puree this mixture along with the cloves, cinnamon, cumin, oregano,  salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat  a large skillet or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add the oil and brown both sides of the chicken, about 3-4 minutes per side. Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes until soft. Pour the pureed sauce over the chicken & onions, add the hoja santa or cilantro and cook for another 8-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  3. Mix the 1/4 cup masa harina with the chicken stock. Add to the chicken and sauce, mix and simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Add the potatoes, chayote, and green beans and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix together all of the ingredients for the corn masa dumplings to make a soft dough and divide into 15 balls. Poke a hole in each ball to make a “crater” in each dumpling.
  5. Add the dumplings to the pot. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the vegetables and dumplings are cooked and the mole has thickened.

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Definitely going to make this again. Maybe for Cinco de Mayo?!

Buen provecho!

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18 thoughts on “Oaxacan-style Chicken and Dumplings (Mole Amarillito con Pollo y Chochoyotes)

  1. This reads and looks divine. I’ve never had this sort of dish as I’ve never been to Mexico. And, oddly, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Mexican restaurant in London. That surprises me. I’ve had TexMex (which I wouldn’t call Mexican) in Houston that I wasn’t impressed with. Mexican recipes that I read on here sound amazing.

    • Thanks. I agree, there are great Mexican recipes out there but also lots of places that are Mexican inspired, but not that great. Hopefully you can find some good Mexican food sometime. I live in California so there are a lot of restaurants to try. LOL, you should make a trip here.

  2. Your food combinations sound so interesting! and- very creative! I like how you put that added cultural twist in this recipe. I am going to nose around and see if I can try one of your recipes! Thanks for sharing!

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