If you’ve been to the Canary Islands and you’ve eaten out, you’ve probably been served a ‘Mojo’ more than once – a yummy sauce which usually comes in either red (the ‘Mojo Rojo’) or in green (the ‘Mojo Verde’). They are both essential sides for some of the most typical Canarian dishes, and especially important when serving ‘Papas Arrugadas’ (‘wrinkly’ potatoes) – a dish of new potatoes boiled in salty water –. Although on the picture the red mojo looks very similar to Gazpacho (the Andalusian raw tomato soup), it is actually quite different, and you wouldn’t want to have it on its own as a soup or drink!
Each restaurant that I’ve been to on the Canaries has served different mojos, which shows the variety of recipes. In fact, the type of mojo you get can also depend on the dish you’re eating. One of the most common red mojos is the so-called ‘Mojo Picón’ (spicy mojo). It is generally made with dry spicy red peppers. But since these are rather difficult to find in some locations outside of Spain, in the below recipe I commit the atrocity of substituting them with fresh red peppers (please do not quote this source if you meet a Canarian) and then adding some spiciness to it. (You can of course import some ‘pimientas piconas’ from the Canaries next time you go!) The next atrocity I commit (which many Canarians commit too!) is using a blender, rather than making the mojo the traditional way in a mortar. Now that you are aware of what you will be doing wrong, it’s time to get started. Even with fresh red pepper, the sauce is still extremely tasty!
By the way, this recipe has actually been approved by two good friends from the small island of El Hierro. Lucía suggests to add some raw peeled almonds or even cheese and promises that this will make the sauce even better!
Raw vegan spicy sauce from the Canary Islands
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 red pepper
- 3/4 tsp cumin
- 3/4 tsp chili powder
- 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1 tbs white wine vinegar
- 70 g extra virgin olive oil
Peel the garlic. Wash, remove the core and roughly chop the pepper.
Mix the garlic and pepper with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Blend until smooth.
Serve as a side or as a starter in small bowls (with bread or potatoes!).
Since not all red peppers are the same size, you might want to adjust the amount of olive oil to change the liquidity of the mojo.