Cuban Mojo Sauce
A recipe for an easy-to-make Cuban sauce, which is also popular as a marinade, made with chilies, sour orange, olive oil and dried herbs and seasonings. Make your own mojo sauce at home.
Hanging out in Florida always inspires me to seek out Cuban food. There are a few places we like to visit for some authentic Cuban cuisine, though I also enjoying making it at home.
Here, it is easier to find sour orange juice that back home in the Chicago suburbs, and when I have sour orange juice, I want MOJO! Mojo is a traditional Cuban sauce that also doubles as a marinade. Its primary components are local chili peppers (if desired), olive oil and sour orange juice along with some other herbs and seasonings.
Sort of like a vinaigrette where the vinegar is replaced with sour orange juice. If you can’t find sour orange juice, use a combination of orange and lime juices, which will approximate the ending flavor and works quite well, though truly, seek out the sour orange juice if you can find it.
It is tasty stuff, truly. I like to use this a few different ways. First, it’s great as a simple dipper or sauce that you can spoon over meats and sandwiches. Think pulled pork, shredded beef, grilled chicken. Any and all of these will soak in the flavor that is mojo sauce.
Or! Use it as a marinade. Marinate your fish or shrimp for an hour or so. Chicken should marinate longer. It’s also good for marinating skirt steak, and consider rotisserie chicken. Just keep spooning it over the chicken and let the flavors build.
Serve a bit on the side as well for dipping if you choose to marinate. It will enhance the flavor even further. I hope you enjoy it!
There seem to be certain variations of Cuban Mojo, depending on the recipe source. When I spoke with Cuban cooks in Florida, they like to include some dried herbs as well as an optional onion and sometimes chili pepper, as well as cumin, though some emails to me argue that traditional Cuban Mojo really only consists of sour orange juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.
Feel free to include the other ingredients to your own tastes.
If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
- 10 cloves garlic minced
- 1 serrano pepper chopped (optional, or use a milder local pepper)
- Juice from 1 orange a sour orange is GREAT if you can find one
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Grind up the garlic and serrano pepper in a mortar or molcajete. Or, use a food processor. Form a paste.
- In a mixing bowl, add orange juice, lime juice, oil, basil and cumin.
- Stir in the garlic-chili paste and whisk to combine.
- Adjust with salt and pepper and serve
Traditional green Cuban mojo does not include spicy chili peppers, but milder green peppers, though I've included a serrano here for some flavor and spice factor.