There are more than 60 varieties of chiles that are grown only in the state of Oaxaca and nowhere else in Mexico. We have suggested substitutions here to reflect varieties more commonly available north of the border. You can use oil instead of lard, but the flavor will change dramatically.
The chiles, tomatoes, and squash seeds make this a very New World dish, as squash has been a staple of the Mexican diet since it was domesticated millennia ago. Typically, cooked chicken or turkey is added to this sauce from southern Mexico.
This subtle blend of chocolate and chile is from Puebla, where it is known as the “National Dish of Mexico” when it is served over turkey. This sauce adds life to any kind of poultry, from roasted game hens to a simple grilled chicken breast. It is also excellent as a sauce over chicken enchiladas.
Albuquerque-area resident and vegetarian cookbook author Nanette Blanchard has self-published a booklet of her favorite southwestern plant-based recipes. Fiesta Vegan: 30 Delicious Recipes from New Mexico contains her take on traditional recipes such as Posole, Calabacitas, Sangria, and Capirotada. Each of the recipes includes a color photo and a nutritional analysis. Fiesta Vegan also offers a list of online sources for specialty ingredients and recommendations for New Mexico stops for food-lovers. The 40 page booklet is available either in print or as a .PDF download. You can also find a Kindle version without photos; information on all the booklet versions is on her web site here. Blanchard also maintains a food blog, Cooking in Color.
If you can’t find prepared tostada shells you can simply serve this recipe on top of your favorite brand of tortilla chips. The Spicy Chile Sauce is also a great accompaniment to your favorite scrambled tofu recipe.