Tuesday, July 2, 2013

One Great . . . mojo sauce

Growing up in South Florida surrounded by family friends who were Cuban refugees, the smells and flavors of their food was something I absorbed through my pores. Arroz con pollo, ropa viejo, sweet plantains, and always that amazing roast pork.

The flavor that powers so much of it is good ol' "mo-ho." It's used as a salad dressing, a dip or a sauce, but mostly, it's an indispensable marinade. I still load up on big bottles whenever I go back on a visit, even though you can find around here in any supermarket that carries Latin American ingredients. You can also make it yourself and keep it on hand in the refrigerator for weeks.

If you're grilling over the summer and you want something that packs a lot of flavor, you need this stuff.

Mojo Criollo

6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup juice from 1 to 2 oranges (see note)
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

PLACE the garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with the salt. Use the flat side of a wide chef's knife to drag the garlic back and forth in short strokes until the garlic is ground into a paste.

SCRAPE the garlic in a jar with a tight lid and add the remaining ingredients. Shake to blend. Refrigerate until ready to use, shaking it up to recombine it.

YIELD: About 1 1/4 cups.

NOTE: In Cuba, they use sour orange juice. It's getting easier to find in Latino markets. If you do find it, skip the orange and lemon juice and use an equal amount of sour orange.


Anonymous said...

I love this marinade that i have purchased in the grocery store. The one I buy (GOYA) has no oil just juices and spices and that is one reason i really liked it. is it traditional to have oil?

Kathleen Purvis said...

Thanks for the question, Gina. Like most home-cooking recipes, there are many variations on mojo. Some have oil, some don't. I like to use oil because it gives it a little "clingability." Goya's bottled version doesn't have oil, but it does have sugar, which probably accomplishes the same thing. You could try skipping the oil in the recipe and seeing if you like it. Just add a little water if you need to thin it out.