Mojo is a type of sauce or marinade used in a lot of Cuban cooking, and all throughout the Spanish Caribbean world. It is believed to have originated in the Canary Islands because this was the first place where all the ingredients came together; chili peppers from South America, pimentón and olive oil from Spain, and cumin from North Africa. The name mojo comes from the Portuguese word mohlo, meaning sauce. Many of the first residents in the Canary Islands came from Portugal and settled there because of the sugar cane industry. Later, the Spanish came and took over. Both the Portuguese and the Spanish left their marks and their influences on the cultures and the cooking of the Caribbean Islands and other territories they conquered and settled. Variations of mojo sauces are common all over Cuba, Puerto Rico and other Spanish-Caribbean islands. Mojo is also believed to have influenced the sauces, marinades and barbeque of Deep South cuisine in the USA. Mojo sauces can be mild or spicy, red or green. They are like a supercharged citrus vinaigrette made from the juice of sour oranges or other citrus juices, garlic, spices and olive oil. Mojos are used to cook and marinate just about everything, but are really used a lot for chicken, pork and potatoes and are known to be the cornerstone of Cuban and Caribbean cooking.
As you all know, I love all kinds of foods, and I love to play with and experiment with many different ethnic foods. I am always on the lookout for new ways of preparing foods, or at least new ways to me. When I came across this recipe for mojo chicken it sounded just perfect for a hot summer’s day, and believe me, it was too.
Grilled Mojo Chicken
1/3 cup olive oil
1-2 TBSP garlic
1/2 cup citrus fruit juice – orange, lemon, lime, pineapple, or a combination thereof
2 tsp grated of either orange zest, lime zest or lemon zest, or 1 tsp of each
1 1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 TBSP chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno, diced fine
1/4 red onion, sliced fine
2 lbs chicken
Mix all the ingredients together well and pour over the chicken. Completely cover the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before grilling it. With all the citric acid in the marinade, do not marinate for more than 4 hours though, or it will make the chicken very mushy. You can also use this for pork.
When you are ready, fire up the grill and grill to your heart’s content. When it is done, serve with your favorite side dishes and enjoy. !Desfruitas!
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.