Spanish cuisine is full of contrasts. Even if the most known food outside the country are tapas, paella and sangría, every Spanish region have their own gastronomy peculiarities and believe me: they’re all are amazing.
Today we are travelling to the wonderful Canary Islands, a volcanic archipelago in front of northwestern African coast. Its particular (and lucky) subtropical weather makes these islands unique, like their gastronomy. Canary gastronomy is simple, delicious and full of contrasts.
And because we love sauces and life is better with a little bit of spice, we are going to tell you all you need to know about the famous Canarian Mojo Picón.
Ready? Let’s jump right in!
Dunas de Corralejo, Fuerteventura
Mojo Picón is probably the most famous sauce in Canary Islands. It originates from the “Guanches” (natives of Canary Islands) with some contributions principally from Venezuela (thanks to the huge migration movement in the first part of the 20th Century) and Portugal, who gives the name to the sauce (molho means sauce in Portuguese).
Which mojo picón should I choose? Red or Green?
We are not going to lie, this is a hard decision:
On one side, red mojo (mojo rojo or mojo colorado) is made with garlic, vinegar, olive oil, paprika and spices and it’s used together with Papas Arrugadas or Wrinkled Potatoes (follow this recipe from Martha Stewart to learn how to prepare these great potatoes at home) or with meat (mojo is fantastic to give extra flavour to grilled meat).
On the other side, green mojo (mojo verde) has coriander and parsley instead of paprika and it’s more often used with fresh fish (fried or roasted) and shellfish. If you want to make it at home like the locals, try this amazing recipe from Happy Kitchen.Rocks!
Recipe by Happy Kitchen.Rocks
The good news?
Mojo is a really versatile sauce and you can use it for all you could ever imagine: Meat, fish, vegetables, stew dishes (as lentils) or with the famous “Papas Arrugadas”. Any meal is perfect with this Spanish spice – and your plate will taste from fabulous to awesome!
Alternatives – How to become The Mojo Expert
Maybe you tried already these two basic variations of mojo and you want to go to the next level.
There are lot of recipes of mojo, depending of the Island, the different ingredients and of course, the magic of the chef.
Mojo with Cheese.
Mojo with cheese or Mojo Queso is very common in the islands of La Palma and El Hierro and it’s made mixing the usual ingredients of the mojo with grated cheese. It’s perfect with some bread or Wrinkled Potatoes (Papas arrugadas).
Almogrote is a mojo from La Gomera. It’s a soft paste, similar to pâté, made from hard cheese, peppers, olive oil, garlic, and other spices, which is typically eaten spread on toast. To make it at home, we recommend you this fantastic recipe from World Recipes or this one from Patty’s Cake (recipe in Spanish).
Picture by Patty’s Cake
Saffron mojo or mojo de azafrán is, as the name says, mojo made with Canary saffron as principal ingredient, together with garlic, fried bread, olive oil, pepper, clove and cumin.
Almond mojo or Mojo de almendras is a variation of Red Mojo, probably a little less spicy and really tasty: the principal ingredients (together with the ingredients of the red mojo) are, of course, almonds.
This mojo is amazing to use it in “montaditos” and we love this recipe from Sergio Fernández in the Spanish blog Canal Cocina.
Picture by Sergio Fernández from Canal Cocina.
Boiled mojo or Mojo hervido is made with garlic, spicy pepper, paprika, thyme, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, salt, olive oil and vinegar.
This mojo is particular because after being ground up and mixed, it has been put it in a pan and boiled for a couple of minutes. After that it’s ready to be enjoyed: it’s great with fish.
Discover the Mojos around the World
Despite the fact we are here talking about Canary Mojo, we think it’s interesting to know more about mojo outside Spain.
If you remember the beginning of this article, Canary Mojo had various external contributions, principally from Venezuela and Portugal. However, this sauce crossed the Ocean several times and landed in the wonderful Caribbean countries: It blended with the local culture giving as a result various new recipes of mojo.
In Cuba it’s common to call “mojo” any sauce made with garlic, olive oil and citrus juice (normally bitter orange juice). It’s great with yucca roots (we love this recipe from Salt&Wind), cassava or roast pork (check out the Nagi’s recipe from the movie Chef).
The Puertorican recipe is similar to Green Mojo. This mojo is made which chopped coriander or parsley, garlic, olive oil and salt. This sauce is also used to marinate cassava or chicken roast.
Finally, in the Dominican Republic we can find a sauce very similar to mojo under the name of Wasakaka – used in cassava and roasted chicken.
Get the favourite mojo of Mama’s Box
As paella in Valencia, most families have their own mojo recipe, with a particular way to make it. “El Mojo de María” is one of this family recipes.
A recipe that runs in Maria’s family for generations, made by 100% Spanish ingredients, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Fuerteventura’s salt. Her Mojo Picón is preservatives free, without additives and made the artisan way, at home, as the locals. Maria puts a lot of care during the production process of every jar of mojo: As she said “The way I make the mojo, handmade, with my family recipe, makes my mojo lower in production but higher in quality”. And that’s why this product is so special.
Congrats Mojo Expert!
We hope that you now know almost everything about Mojo sauce. As you could discover in this article, Spain is full of amazing recipes that will easily make you be a great chef. You just need to wear your favourite apron and dive into the Canary gastronomy.
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Put some mojo in your life!