Mojo picon is a staple red pepper sauce from the Canary Islands, made with fiery red peppers, oil, vinegar and seasonings, often served with papas arrugadas and other appetizers. Here is the recipe to make it at home.
We're off to the Canary Islands together, my friends, to experience a wonderful sauce that you need to add to your collection. It's called Mojo Picón, and I think you're going to love it.
What is Mojo Picón?
Mojo Picon is a spicy red pepper sauce from the Canary Islands made with hot local peppers, olive oil, vinegar, garlic and seasonings, thickened with bread. It is a staple of Canarian cuisine, usually served with appetizers and small plates like the famous Papas Arrugadas, or "wrinkly potatoes".
The Canary Islands, or the "Canaries" as known more locally, are a Spanish archipelago off the coast of Morocco. "Mojo" is a generic term for sauce, and there are several of them, including Mojo Rojo (red sauce), Mojo Verde (green sauce) and Mojo Picon, which is a hot version of mojo rojo.
The sauce is very similar to a Spanish romesco sauce, which uses fresh roasted bell peppers along with tomatoes, bread as a thickener, and almonds.
A spicy food lover named Michael from that area alerted me to these wonderful Canarian sauces and even sent me his favorite local brands as well as some dried local "Pimiento Palmera" peppers (along with a Carolina Reaper from his garden - thanks, Michael!), which are used traditionally to make mojo picon, which I am sharing with you today.
It's insanely delicious and perfect with potatoes and other vegetables, though you can enjoy it as a dip or topping for grilled foods.
Let's discuss how to make mojo picon, shall we?
Mojo Picon Ingredients
- Peppers. 2-3 medium dried red peppers - 2 ounces/57 grams by weight - I used dried pimiento palmera peppers & chiles de arbol. Pimiento Palmera peppers are more traditional for this, but will be difficult to find outside of the Canary Islands. Use chile de arbol or a mixture of chile de arbol with dried California peppers or New Mexican peppers.
- Garlic. I used 4 cloves garlic, though you can use less or more to your personal taste.
- Bread. Use 1 slice of stale or lightly toasted bread. This will thicken up the sauce for you. You can also use bread crumbs.
- Seasonings. 2 teaspoons paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1 teaspoon salt. You can use other ingredients, like fresh or dried herbs, to your preference.
- Vinegar. 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, though you can use other vinegars if needed.
- Olive Oil. I used 1/4 cup olive oil, but you can use more if you'd like, up to 1/2 cup.
- Water. 1/4 to 1/2 cup water (for thinning) the sauce to your preference.
How to Make Mojo Picon - the Recipe Method
Once the peppers are rehydrated, the recipe is super easy to make. Everything gets done in the food processor. Let's get cooking!
Rehydrate the Dried Peppers. Remove the stems and seeds from the dried peppers. Set them into a bowl and cover them with very hot water. Allow to rehydrate for 15-20 minutes, or until they are very soft. Drain the water and set the peppers into a food processor
Add Remaining Ingredients. Add the garlic, torn bread, paprika, cumin, vinegar and salt to taste.
Process. Process the mixture until well combined.
Add the Oil. Pour in the olive oil a bit at a time while processing until the mojo sauce thickens up to a chili paste.
Thin with Water. Add 1/4 water and process until smooth. For a thinner sauce, add another 1/4 cup water and process to your preference.
Taste and Adjust. Adjust for salt and vinegar, and serve.
Boom! Done! You have just made Mojo Picon! Delicious, isn't it? And quite easy to use. If you've ever had a Spanish romesco, you'll notice some similarities, though this sauce is a great standout.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Additions. You can vary up the recipe with other ingredients. Some suggestions include fresh or dried herb, brown sugar, other vinegars, lemon juice, fresh or roasted peppers along with the dried pods. It is also great with tomato.
- Chili Powder. You can also make this recipe with chili powder instead of dried peppers. Use 3-4 tablespoons of your favorite chili powder in place of the rehydrated pods. A good smoked paprika is great here, or use a combination.
About the Pimiento Palmera (Palmera Peppers)
Palmera Peppers, Pimienta Palmera, are from the island La Palma in the Canary Islands archipelago. The pods are popular for many Canarian dishes and known for their flavor and heat factor. The pods measure 40,000 to 50,000 Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville Scale, which puts them on par with a serrano pepper, or 8-10 times hotter than an average jalapeno pepper.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this mojo picon recipe. So delicious. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Spanish Romesco Sauce
- Bravas Sauce (Salsa Brava)
- Red Chimichurri (Chimichurri Rojo)
- Homemade Harissa
- Sweet Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- Sambal Oelek
- Peri Peri Sauce
- Zacusca: Romanian Roasted Eggplant & Red Pepper Sauce
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. 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.
Mojo Picon Recipe (How to Make Mojo Picon)
- 2-3 medium dried red peppers 2 ounces/57 grams by weight - I used dried pimiento palmera peppers & chiles de arbol
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 slice stale or lightly toasted bread torn to small pieces
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup water for thinning
- Remove the stems and seeds from the dried peppers. Set them into a bowl and cover them with very hot water. Allow to rehydrate for 15-20 minutes, or until they are very soft. Drain the water and set the peppers into a food processor
- Add the garlic, torn bread, paprika, cumin, vinegar and salt to taste.
- Process the mixture until well combined.
- Pour in the olive oil a bit at a time while processing until the mojo sauce thickens up to a chili paste.
- Add 1/4 water and process until smooth. For a thinner sauce, add another 1/4 cup water and process to your preference.
- Adjust for salt and vinegar, and serve.