The Molé Chicken Tacos served at Shalhoob's Funk Zone Patio in Santa Barbara, CA, as seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Season 37.
Recipe courtesy of Shalhoob's Funk Zone Patio

Mole Chicken Tacos

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 14 hr 20 min (includes chilling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 40 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 tacos


Pickled Onions:

Chicken Thighs:


Handmade Tortillas:

Salsa Mexicana:

Mole Chicken Tacos:


Special equipment:
a tortilla press
  1. For the pickled onions: Place the vinegar, granulated sugar, salt and 2/3 cup water in a pot and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour the mixture over the onions in a bowl and let cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight before using. (These will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 2 months.)
  2. For the chicken thighs: Mix the salt, granulated garlic, pepper, brown sugar and cumin in a bowl, then use it to coat the chicken evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
  3. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.
  4. Grill the chicken until fully cooked, 5 to 7 minutes. Cut into julienne.
  5. For the mole: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  6. Roast the tomatoes, onion and garlic on a sheet pan until roasted, tender and slightly black, 10 to 12 minutes. Toast the chiles on a tray until aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes. Toast all the spices on a tray until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Place the tomatoes, onions, garlic, chiles, chicken stock, almonds, cumin, black pepper, allspice, clove, baguette, bay leaves and cinnamon in a pot and bring to a slight simmer over medium heat; reduce by three-quarters, 2 to 4 hours. Add the vinegar and granulated sugar and mix well. Blend on high in batches until VERY smooth. (You want to blend for about a minute for each batch.) Strain though a fine mesh strainer. Season with salt. (This will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.)
  7. For the handmade tortillas: Place the masa, corn flour, salt and baking soda in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix well on low speed, then add the lard. Stir the egg yolk together with 1 1/4 cups water in a small bowl, then slowly add to the bowl with the lard and flour. Mix well until fully combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Let the dough rest, covered, for at least 20 minutes before using. Weigh out 1.75-ounce balls of dough and press in a tortilla press. Cook on a medium-high flat top until cooked, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
  8. For the salsa Mexicana: Char the tomatoes, garlic, peppers and onions in the broiler until roasted and black. Place in a food processor with the cilantro and 1/2 cup water and blend until well mixed, about 2 minutes. Season with salt. (This will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days.)
  9. For the mole chicken taco: Place the grilled chicken in a small pot with 1 1/2 cups mole over medium heat. Heat, stirring often, until warm. Meanwhile, heat the tortillas on a warm flat top or in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Spread the mole-covered chicken evenly over all the tortillas. Top with the pickled onions, queso fresco and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and salsa Mexicana.