When your potatoes need some pizzazz or your pork cries for help, Cuban spices and flavoring save the day.
Cuban food has a beautiful history of fusion and tangy spice with strong ties to the Carribean, Spain, and even Russia.
Mojo sauce, in particular, brings a zing to vegetables and meat and leaves a party of flavors your mouth will savor for days.
Thankfully, you do not have to just find the best Cuban restaurant in the area. You can bring the flavors of Cuba home with your own mojo sauce recipe. This sauce takes little time to prepare and only a few ingredients.
Keep reading to learn more about mojo sauce and how to prepare it at home.
Cuban Food Flavor Fusion
Cuban food had strong ties to both the Caribbean and Spain.
Cuba was the first and last Spanish colony in the Caribbean, and thus Cuba today boasts of a rich blend of Native American Taino food, Spanish, African, and Caribbean cuisines. Flavor rules supreme.
The Spanish brought in cattle and pigs, and the in the mid-1800s the Chinese brought in rice.
When the Cuban revolt took place in the mid-1900s, Russia came in and introduced in wheat, pasta, pizza, and yogurt, and beef and lard almost disappeared.
Even with the outside influences and imports today, foods native to the place such as tropical fruits and root vegetables like yucca and potatoes find their way into dishes naturally. Cuban cuisine features these starchy foods galore with a variety of ways to prepare them.
But don’t just picture plain boiled potatoes or bland yuca. The Caribbean influence, in particular, has left a wonderful gift to Cuban food: spice.
The beautiful and fragrant Mojo sauce comes into play to enhance the flavors of vegetables and meat in Cuba.
History of Mojo Sauce
Mojo sauce gets its name from “Molho,” the word for “sauce.” The sauce itself comes from the Canary Islands.
The original settlers in the Canary Islands traveled from Madeira, the Portuguese island north of the Canaries and came south with sugar cane.
When they landed in Cuba, some stayed and were absorbed into the Spanish population.
They left their fingerprints on the cookbooks of Cuba with mojo also known as mojito.
Not to be confused with the mojito drink that characterizes Latin beverages that accompany the spicy sauce.
Typical mojo sauce is made with basic ingredients of olive oil, garlic, onion, oregano, and bitter orange or lime juice. Variations such as the three recipes below make the mojo unique.
Ways to Use Mojo Sauce
You can use mojo sauce in several different ways.
You can soak your meat in it, marinating pork, in particular.
Marinate your pork chops, shoulder, or tenderloin in the acidic sauce to infuse flavor throughout the meat.
You can use it as a sauce for a lighter version of Buffalo wings.
Toss your wings with mojo after cooking them rather than slathering them with hot sauce and butter.
Some people even use mojo as a pickling liquid, leaving their red onions, radishes, and okra in it to pickle and soak up the juices.
Do not marinate fish in mojo sauce as the sauce will overpower the fish.
However, you can brush the sauce on white fish as you grill it.
And then there’s poultry. You can baste a whole chicken with mojo sauce while roasting the bird on a spit or in the oven.
Mojo sauce even works as a mix-in for a Cuban Roast Pork sandwich. Mixing it with mayonnaise makes a zesty spread that heightens the flavor of the sandwich.
Three Mojo Sauce Recipes
Mojo sauce has standard ingredients of citrus, garlic, and herbs.
Add-ins at specific quantities make it unique for specific uses.
Green Mojo Sauce
Green mojo sauce consists of fresh herbs, garlic, and spicy peppers.
It works well as a zesty topping for meat or veggies. You can even spoon it over mashed potatoes to give them a Cuban flair.
As with most mojo sauce recipes, green mojo sauce is simple to make, requiring no measuring or chopping. You only need a blender.
- 1/2 bunch chopped parsley
- 1 bunch chopped cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic (smashed)
- 1 lime (juiced)
- 1 diced jalapeno
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon vinegar –
- salt to taste
Dump your ingredients in the blender. Pulse several times until the sauce reaches a thin, grainy consistency.
This particular recipe qualifies as “medium” on the heat registry.
You have something that will tickle your tongue but not have you gasping for water.
Citrus Mojo Sauce
- 1/4 cup fresh OJ
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
- 12 cloves garlic, minced
Dump all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.
You can also put all of the ingredients into a shaker or a blender and either shake until they are combined or pulse three times until combined.
This particular recipe will last for up to three days in an airtight container. The acid of this particular recipe makes this recipe a great marinade for meat or chicken. It also serves well as a dipping sauce for vegetables or a side for roast pork shoulder.
Garlic Mojo Sauce
Garlic mojo sauce works well as a marinade for denser cuts like pork or as a spoon-over sauce for chicken or fish. It adds an aromatic finishing touch and can be stirred into rice even.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 medium Fresno chili, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (4 limes)
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (1 orange)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, cumin, and oregano. Remove from the heat and allow the sauce to cool for 10-15 minutes. Then stir in the chili, lime juice, orange juice, and salt.
You can make this sauce up to one week ahead of when you need it as long as you keep it in an airtight container in the fridge.
Find Your Mojo with Mojo Sauce
Mojo sauce isn’t hard to make but it adds a punch to your food.
So if you’re looking for a tasty treat, try one of these variations.
For more tasty Latin cuisine recipes, check out our blog and store.
Our blog is all about sharing our love of Latin American foods & drinks. We will bring you articles and recipes of the very best Latin American & Spanish cuisine. Amigofoods was founded in 2003 and is the largest online grocery store offering a wide variety of hard to find freshly imported foods & drinks from all over Latin America and Spain.