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Mojo is the Canarian name for the typical sauces commonly served in the Canary Islands and the word probably has Portuguese origins. The popular Canary Islands mojos are the green and the red ones, served almost with every meal, especially to accompany the famous Canarian wrinkly potatoes (papas arrugadas).
If you wish to prepare a typical Canarian meal at home, these recipes are all you need to get started.
Mojo actually translates as sauce and if you visit Tenerife or any other Canary Island, you will be served with 2 types of sauces: red sauce or mojo picon and green sauce or mojo verde.
Although the recipes are simple and with common ingredients that you can find in every country, there are various ways to prepare these sauces, because every family and restaurant adapts and customizes the recipe according to their own taste.
Mojo Picon is also called Mojo Rojo or Mojo Bravo in Spanish, due to the fact that it packs some heat from the spicy red chilies. Its red color is given by the peppers, but if you want a more intense red you can add a bit of Spanish paprika. Some recipes also contain bread, in order to make the sauce consistency thicker, so you can experiment by adding a small slice of crusty day-old bread if you prefer your sauce thicker.
You can prepare the mojo picon sauce either with a mortar and pestle or with a blender.
Make a paste in a mortar from the garlic cloves, the peppers, the cumin, and the salt. Afterward, you can add slowly the vinegar and the olive oil, until it transforms into a sauce that has the consistency of a paste. You can add more or fewer peppers according to your own taste.
The red mojo sauce is spicier than the green mojo sauce due to the fact that it has chili peppers, but if you don't like it spicy, then replace it all with red sweet peppers.
If you are using a blender, just add all the ingredients at once and blend until you have a paste of the desired consistency, without large chunks.
The green mojo sauce has almost the same ingredients as the red mojo sauce, except the red peppers which are substituted by the green peppers. The green color is given by the cilantro (coriander), which can also be replaced by parsley if you prefer it this way.
Usually, the Mojo Verde sauce isn't as thick in consistency as the red mojo sauce.
Just like the red mojo sauce, you add the pepper, garlic, cilantro and spices to the mortar and grind them until you have a thick paste, then you add the vinegar and olive oil until and mix it well.
You can also add all the ingredients into a blender and puree them until combined.
The best idea for an authentic Canarian meal at home is to serve the mojo sauces along with Canarian potatoes, which are also a staple recipe.
Otherwise, if you've already been to one of the Canary Islands and you've tried local cuisine and especially tapas restaurants, you'll have probably observed that the mojos go with everything: from seafood to fish and any type of meat. Plus, some restaurants serve them as appetizers, just mojo sauces and fresh bread - simple and yet delicious when they are well prepared.
For an authentic culinary experience in the Canary Islands, we recommend that you go eat at a Guachinche (typically found on the island of Tenerife) or a Bochinche (typically found in Gran Canaria under this name).
If you want to prepare a larger quantity of sauces ahead of time, you can store them in a glass jar in the refrigerator and they should be good for a few weeks.
Canarian mojo sauces are usually served with papas arrugadas (typical Canarian wrinkly potatoes), fried fish, pork, or just with bread as a starter.
If you don't have the time or patience to prepare the two recipes above, there's always a quicker version on the table. When you are visiting the Canary Islands, go to a big supermarket like Mercadona or Hiperdino and there you'll find these packets which will help you to prepare the sauces in a few minutes.
In order to prepare the mojo sauces, you only have to mix the dry ingredients with oil, water vinegar and salt, and the sauce will be ready in 3 minutes. These may not be the most authentic mojos you could prepare at home, but it's the simplest and quickest way to do it.
These dry mojos cost around 2€ and can be found in any big supermarket.