The Secret to the Notoriously Flavorful Cuban Mojo

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A celebration of tradition, culture, flavor, and the art of culinary storytelling, the allure of Cuban Mojo has been revealed in all its flavorful glory.

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In the heart of Cuban cuisine lies a coveted condiment known as Mojo. It is a symphony of flavors crafted from the foundational ingredients of Cuban cooking: onions, garlic and sour orange. This liquid gold graces every Cuban household and restaurant. Mojo transcends dishes such as roast pork, masitas de puerco (fried pork), yuca, imparting a touch of yo no sé qué magic to each and every bite.

Functioniong as the quintessential gravy of the Cuban culture, this mixture holds the power to transform ordinary meals into extraordinary culinary experiences. While mastering its preparation eludes many, I, inspired by my grandmother’s incredible mojo, embarked on a flavorful journey of trial and error to unlock the secrets of this revered recipe.

To all the aficionados of Mojo, I share with you a gift born of my dedicated exploration. Whether you seek to unearth the mystery behind a beloved family recipe, or quite simply desire to savor its renowned taste, let this serve as your compass. A celebration of tradition, culture, flavor, and the art of culinary storytelling, the allure of Cuban Mojo has been revealed in all its flavorful glory.

iBuen provecho!

Cuban Mojo

Servings 6 people
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 Spanish onion can be substituted with a yellow onion
  • cup neutral oil i.e. avocado, canola, vegetable, sunflower oil
  • 8-10 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • ½ tsp salt coarse kosher or fine table salt
  • 1 sour orange (squeezed) can be substituted with ¼ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice and ¼ cup orange juice

Instructions

  • Using a chef's knife, slice the entire onion into even slices.
    Begin by cutting the onion in half, lengthwise, from root to stem. Cut off both the root and the stem. Peel off the outer layers of the onion skin until you reveal the first shiny yellow layer of the onion. Cut slices the length of the onion, going with the grain (lines running top to bottom).
  • Add the sliced onion and oil in a small saucepan and place it on the stove over medium heat. Add salt and bring to a slight simmer.
    You want the onions to soften to al dente and turn slightly translucent, which takes about 5 minutes. If onions start to brown or burn, remove the saucepan from the burner and lower the heat.
    If the sliced onions have burned, throw the mixture away and start again.
  • While the onions soften, peel and mince the garlic cloves and juice the sour orange.
    If you cannot find sour oranges at the grocery store, you can substitute with the juice of half a lime and a ¼ cup of orange juice.
  • Once the onions have softened to al dente (soft crunch, and not mushy), add the minced garlic and stir while removing the saucepan from the burner. Lastly, add the citrus juice and stir.
    Taste the mojo and adjust as needed, adding a pinch of salt or an extra squeeze of citrus until you are satisfied. Then, pour it atop fried pork, chicken, boiled or fried yuca, or pour it into a gravy boat and set it on the table for your guests to help themselves.
  • Store any leftover mojo in the refrigerator for up to a week. You cannot freeze it.
  • What you need to know: the garlic may turn green or blue once the sour orange juice is added. This is a reaction between enzymes and sulfur-containing amino acids in the garlic, and it is safe to eat.

Notes

Notes on how to include your child(ren): Task your little chef(s) with using their hands to smash and peel the garlic,  squeeze the sour orange, and measure the salt; talk about sensory play! Sharpen their critical thinking skills by asking them to smell the onion, garlic, or sour orange and predict what they think it will taste like. Will it be sour, bitter, sweet, or salty? How will the garlic feel once it’s smashed? Will their hands be sticky? Then, let your little chef(s) turn their mise en place activity into a science experiment, having them taste, smell, feel, and report back.
Your older chef(s) can sharpen their knife skills (pun intended) by practicing slicing the onion into equal slices and then slicing and mincing the garlic cloves. Invest in a finger guard for your little chef(s) until they can complete this task safely and independently.
Calories: 495kcal
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Cuban
Keyword: mojo

Nutrition

Calories: 495kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 0.5g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 46g | Sodium: 195mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below, tag @domesticgourmet on Instagram, and hashtag #domesticgourmet.

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