Mojo Criollo Garlic Sauce, photo by Suellen Pineda, RDN, CDNPhoto by Suellen Pineda, RDN, CDN

Mojo Criollo Garlic Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5-7 minutes
Servings: 1 cup

Mojo Criollo is an “indispensable” garlic sauce used in many Latino kitchens. In Puerto Rico, mojo is commonly used as aliño (marinade) for various cuts of meats, especially pork. In Cuba it’s also served over boiled yuca or any other root vegetables, and also fried mashed plantains, a popular side dish. But its use doesn’t stop there. Mojo criollo can also be added to many other recipes such as rice dishes, soups and stews.

There are many varieties to this sauce, but the main ingredients remain the same: garlic — the more the better — sour orange juice, dried oregano, oil salt and pepper. Other optional ingredients include cilantro, onions and tomato paste.

There are also different methods of preparation. While some people like to briefly cook the garlic in the oil, some others prefer just to mix everything together without cooking it. I usually like to cook the garlic a little bit to bring out the flavor, but again, it’s up to the cook’s creativity!

However, one thing never changes; store-bought mojo is a POOR substitute for a real homemade one! There’s no point of comparison. Mojo made from scratch will always have a more robust flavor, not to mention that it will not contain all added food additives and preservatives found in commercially made mojo.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sour orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8-10 garlic cloves peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Directions

  1. In a small skillet, heat the oil to low-medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning the garlic. Add remaining ingredients and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  3. Adjust the salt and remove from heat.
  4. Optional: Blend the mojo in a food processor for a smoother consistency.
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