150°C, 300°F, Gas Mark 2
Makes 10 starters/4 main dishes


30 large prawns (about 2 lbs), shelled 2 bottles beer
1 tspn red pepper flakes 3 oz dried mild pasilla chilli pods
1 oz dried New Mexico chilli pods 2 cups double-strength coffee, hot
1 ½ tblspns ground coffee 1 ½ tspns ground cinnamon
1 tblspn dried oregano 6 whole allspice
6 whole cloves 1 tspn dried thyme
2 tblspns grated bitter chocolate 1 tblspn vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
½ cup golden raisins 3 medium-ripe tomatoes, cut in half
¼ cup cashews ½ cup blanched almonds
Ripe honeydew melon wedges for garnish Mint for garnish

Place the prawns, beer and pepper flakes in a non-metallic bowl. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for several hours.

Using kitchen scissors, cut the stems off the chilli pods. Open the pods, take out any of the white veins, and reserve the seeds. Place the cleaned pods on a baking sheet and warm in a preheated oven for 5 minutes. (Watch the pods carefully so they don't scorch). Soak the warmed chilli pods in 1 ½ cups hot coffee for 20 minutes.

In a dry frying pan, toast the chilli seeds over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, shaking the pan to brown the seeds evenly. Place the toasted seeds, ground coffee, spices and chocolate into a spice grinder or blender and process until all the pieces are finely ground. Reserve.

Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the chopped onion and garlic for five minutes until translucent. Soak the raisins in the remaining ½ cup coffee for 10 minutes. Drain and reserve coffee. Place halved tomatoes, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet and place 6 inches from the heat until the tomato skins bubble slightly and blacken.

In a food processor, whirl the cashews and almonds until finely ground. Add the onions, garlic, tomatoes and raisins. Drain and coarsely chop the reserved chilli pods and place in processor. Process thoroughly. Add the coffee-spice mixture and process until combined. This is your mole. (The mole should be moist and thick, resembling oatmeal in texture. Add reserved coffee, a tablespoon at a time, if too dry).

Place the mole in a large enamel pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring the bottom constantly to keep the scorching the mole.

Drain the prawns from the marinade. Place the prawns in the mole sauce and cook over medium heat for 7 minutes, or until just pink and coated with sauce. To serve, place 3 prawns on each plate. Accompany with a small bowl of warmed mole and melon wedges on the side. Garnish with mint.