Origins of mojo picón
The mojo picón is a traditional Canarian sauce that was already known in the spice trade of the nineteenth century.
However, its origins date back to the first years after the discovery of America, when the Portuguese began to introduce spices from Africa and America.
In fact, the word ‘mojo’ comes from the Portuguese ‘molho’, which in English means sauce.
As the Canary Islands used to be the gateway to Europe, this is why this culinary dressing is so deep-rooted in the gastronomy of the islands.
The recipe for mojo picón has evolved greatly over the years, giving rise to more than twenty varieties of this sauce depending on where it is prepared.
The most well-known types of mojo picón are red (fiery) and green (mild), and their colours are determined by the ingredients used in each case.
Mojo picón ingredients
The mojo picón is a spicy sauce with properties that are very beneficial for your eyesight and for the stimulation of the immune system. In addition, it is a good antioxidant and diuretic, and provides many nutrients, vitamins and minerals. So what are these wonderful ingredients?
- Pimientas piconas or pimientas de la puta madre (chillies typical of the Canaries).
- Ground cumin.
- Sweet and spicy paprika.
- Olive oil.
- Coarse salt.
The quantities will depend on the number of guests and their tolerance to spicy food. As a guideline, you may use:
- 5-6 garlic cloves (or a whole bulb if you like it very spicy).
- 2 pimientas piconas (they can be replaced by 2-3 cayenne peppers if you have trouble finding any).
- 1 tablespoon of ground cumin.
- 1 tablespoon of paprika (half sweet and half spicy).
- 20 ml of vinegar.
- 150 ml of olive oil.
- Coarse salt to taste.
As you can see, they are all natural and high quality ingredients which help to give it that exquisite and characteristic flavour.
Mojo picón preparation
As mentioned, there are many different mojo picón recipes. Today we are going to learn how to make the red mojo picón with its traditional recipe, mortar included! How is this sauce prepared?
- Firstly, you have to crush the peeled and chopped garlic in a mortar.
- Then add ground cumin, salt and pepper until you get a smooth paste.
- Also add the paprika and introduce the olive oil and vinegar little by little, until the paste is thick. If it is too dense, you can lighten the sauce with a little water.
The mojo picón sauce can be served in a bowl or a clay dish with a spoon so that each guest can serve themselves as they please.
What dishes are best accompanied with the mojo picón?
The best thing about this wonderful spicy sauce is that it goes well with almost everything. It goes superbly with meat, fish and, of course, potatoes!
The red mojo picón is used, above all, with meats such as rabbit, pork or roasted chicken. But it is also ideal to accompany potatoes and even cheese or gofio.
For fried fish or seafood (as is the case with limpets), on the other hand, it is usually better to opt for green mojo picón. For this version, the chilli pepper is replaced by coriander or parsley, but the rest of the ingredients stay the same.
This delicious sauce will provide your dishes with a much more powerful flavour. And it’s so simple as well!