Red Pipian

Before I continue I want to give my friend Ruth Alegria a big shout out. She has been a guide, inspiration and friend to me for the past 3 or 4 months. Even though she is not Mexican, her passion for Mexico and its food is inspirational. You can read more about her on this post and visit her blog here. If you are interested in a tour or cooking class in Mexico City, please visit her website. I promise you will love it!

Mexican moles come in a great variety of flavors and colors. Almost every region of the country has at least one variety of mole. Moles from Puebla, Oaxaca and San Pedro Actocpan in southern Mexico City are particular popular because of their variety in flavors. One of my favorite moles is pipian. Pipian is a kind of mole that uses pepitas (pumpkin seeds) as thickener. These moles have a very distinctive nutty and earthy flavor.



I mentioned a couple of posts ago that JJ Goode and his friend Matt cooked at Ruth’s kitchen when they were visiting Mexico and one of the dishes they prepared was Red Pipian. Even though I had tasted this pipian before. I had never participated in the preparation before. It turned out so delicious that it made my first pipian (more than two years ago) look like a bad amateur attempt. But that’s OK, this is the reason I came to Mexico. To learn the secrets and techniques of the amazing Mexican cuisine.


Here’s the recipe to this pipian courtesy of the Princeton Cooking School in Mexico, Ruth’s cooking school.

Red Pipian with Veal, Chilacayotes and Fava Beans
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
  • •1 kg (2 lbs) veal, diced
  • •200 gr (7 oz) chile ancho, seeded and deveined
  • •200 gr (7 oz) chile guajillo, seeded and deveined
  • •1/2 white onion
  • •2 garlic cloves
  • •1/2 kg (1 lb) chilacayote (Perennial Squash)
  • •1/4 kg (1/2 lb) fresh fava bean
  • •200 gr (7 oz) green pumpkin seed, peeled
  • •50 gr (1.75 oz) epazote
  • •1 bolillo or ½ cup dry bread
  • •1.5 lt chicken stock
  • •1/2 cup lard
  • •pimienta gorda (pimienta de Tabasco or allspice)
  • •salt and white pepper to taste
  • Optional garnishes:
  • •Papas cambray (small baby potatoes)
  • •Cebolla cambray(similar to scallions but larger in size and flavor)
  1. Disinfect all vegetables.
  2. Heat a large sauce pan with lard (reserve 2 TBSP to sear veal) and fry the chiles. Remove and continue with the onion, garlic, green pumpkin seed, sesame seed and all spice. Add the bread and return the chiles to the pan. Let fry for about 5 minutes or until golden.
  3. Add chicken stock and epazote. Let simmer until all ingredients have softened and the bread dissolved into the stock, 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Blend all the ingredients in batches (you can strain for a velvety consistency or leave as is) Return to the pan and let simmer.
  5. Cook the chilacayotes and fava beans separately in salted water. Shock and reserve.
  6. With reserved lard brown the cubes of veal and add to the sauce. Let simmer together for at least 15 minutes.
  7. Add teh chilacayote and fava beans. Season the sauce with salt and white pepper.
  8. Optionally, simmer potatoes and scallions in a small amount of water with coarse salt. Add butter after straining and let glaze in pan. Serve on top of the pipian.


  • Ruth uses clay pots to cook. This gives the food a more earthy flavor.
  • You can add more chicken stock if the sauce is too thick.
  • You can use any other type of meat like chicken or pork. But the veal here was perfect for the pipian.



¡Buen provecho!


  • Ben – I wanted to say thank you so much for visiting my blog. I am so happy you did so I could learn more about yours. Wow – you are doing some amazing cooking on here and your pictures are beautiful! So nice to see some authentic Mexican food – I am drooling.
    It is so nice to meet you!

  • can i have your plate and pots! one of the best i love to do in Mexico: collect the fine potter. oh yeah, the dish is great and lovely, too! 🙂

  • Ben, Pipian are new to me. They look excellent..

  • LOVE the color of this dish! My kind of dish, really! 🙂

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