Canarian mojo: its origin and varieties
In Canarian cuisine, one of the typical accompaniments that adds a special touch to food is mojo. The so-called mojo canario (Canarian mojo) is a sauce that is part of the culinary tradition of the Canary Islands.
It is characterised by combining various spices and ingredients to give a spicy and different touch and, in this way, complement the flavour of some dishes. Depending on the ingredients used, many versions can be created.
Origin of Canarian mojo
The word mojo has its origin in the Portuguese language, where the sauce is called “molho”. This exquisite sauce arrived on the islands due to the commercial exchange of spices from different regions of Europe, Africa and Latin America.
Thanks to the heritage of the Guanches and the learning of Latin American gastronomy (especially Venezuelan), Canarian mojo has become a typical garnish for the different dishes served in the archipelago.
The different varieties
Depending on the island where the mojo is prepared, it will have a different flavour. The variations in the ingredients give this sauce more or less spiciness, a more intense or duller colour and even a more or less homogeneous texture. Some experts claim that there are more than 20 variations of mojo canario, as there is not the one and only recipe. Among the best known are the green or coriander mojo and the red or picón mojo.
In Tenerife, for example, it is common to use saffron in its preparation, while in La Palma it is more characteristic to eat mojo Queso (cheese mojo) or hot pepper mojo. Another well-known variant is the Almogrote mojo, typical of La Gomera.
How is Canarian mojo prepared?
Do you want to prepare a mojo canario? A very popular version is the mojo picón. To prepare it you will need
- 1 head of garlic
- 5 tablespoons vinegar
- 15 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 hot peppers
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 spoonful of cumin grains
- coarse salt to taste
The first step is to grind the peeled garlic, cumin, peppers and coarse salt in a mortar and pestle until a smooth paste is formed. Then add the paprika and slowly add the vinegar and oil until a thick paste is formed. If you like, you can lighten the sauce with a little water or use sweet peppers to make the mojo smoother.
In the Canary Islands it is very common to use mojo picón to accompany wrinkled potatoes and meats, but you can also add it, for example, to gofio. Green mojo, on the other hand, is usually used for fish; however, any of its versions is perfect to combine with other foods such as sweet potatoes and carrots, as well as with different meats.