Cuban Mojo Sauce
Cuban Mojo Sauce is sheer magic. It can make any rice, beans, veggies or chips absolutely delicious and is certainly worthy to be added to your sauce arsenal. Mojo is a very typical Cuban sauce that you will frequently see served alongside tostones (fried green plantains) and yuca. I would contest that it should not be limited to those delicious sides, but can help add brightness to many a savory dish.
I remember growing up that my tia would serve us mashed yuca. While I LOVE fried yuca, mashed yuca is a thick, starchy mass I could never quite swallow. (Please note: I am not necessarily blaming the yuca root here. It could very well have been the cook...). The only way I could get the mass down was by drenching it in mojo. It offered the flavor needed for my life not to flash before my eyes as I faced off with the gelatinous version of mashed potatoes.
Mojo is a combo of olive oil, fresh citrus juices, mashed garlic (so maybe don't eat it at work...) and a sprinkle of spices. While I know a lot of pro chefs would say only use the best quality olive oil for a sauce like this, that is not very Cuban of them. My abuela always used Goya olive oil or this oil that came in a tin the size of the car from the local Spanish market. To be clear, neither of those would be considered the "best quality" olive oil.
Mojo sauce is not only delicious but easy to make. It should take less than 10 minutes to whip up, especially if you use orange juice that is already squeezed. My favorite part is being able to get out my mortar and pestle and pretending I am a better old school cook than I actually am. If you don't have a mortar and pestle you could mash the garlic using the back of a knife. Just be careful!
Fun tip when dealing with garlic: If you rub your fingers against a stainless steel sink when they smell like garlic, it will totally neutralize the smell!
As I mentioned, I like to use mojo on a variety of dishes, especially with black beans and rice. You can use it as a dip for plantain or yuca chips (readily available in most super markets) as an appetizer. You can also drizzle it on some roasted veggies to usher them into vegan heaven.
I hope you enjoy this Cuban Mojo Sauce as much as we do. I've stored the sauce for 4-5 days in the fridge after making it, adding it to this and that dish. It really is the Cuban icing on the cake, so to speak.
Cuban Mojo Sauce
Yield: 3/4 c of sauce
1/4 c fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 c fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 c olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
8 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp oregano
Whisk together orange juice, lime juice, and olive oil in a bowl or measuring cup that has a pourable spout.
In a mortar and pestle, grind together garlic and salt until a paste is formed an no large chunks of garlic remain. (You could finely chop the garlic, sprinkle with salt on a cutting board and mash with the back of a knife if you don't have a mortar and pestle.)
Stir the garlic into the juice mix along with the cumin and oregano.
Transfer to an air tight container and store in the fridge. It keeps for 4-5 days.