Finding My Mojo (Verde)

When my daughter came to visit me last December, she was still living in Fuerteventura and brought me a jar of mojo verde, a multipurpose green sauce that is typical to the Canary Islands. Word of caution: The mojo verde is not to be confused with the Mexican salsa verde at all! For starters, the ingredients are very different. The salsa verde involves tomatillos, serrano peppers, and onions, whereas the mojo verde is purely based on cilantro and jalapeños. The only thing the two sauces have in common are cilantro, salt and garlic!

I was enamoured with the mojo verde from the moment I opened the jar, and added it to chicken, fish, omelettes, and whatever else I could! That tangy, salty and spicy flavour truly enhances the grilled / fried ingredients and elevates the dish to something truly enjoyable. I was devastated when I ran out of my beloved mojo verde last week, and now that Maike is Valencia, I don’t have a regular supplier anymore. Ah, but when the Universe closes one door it opens two windows and before I knew it, the farmer began including a bunch of fresh cilantro in the weekly delivery.

Like many of you out there I am not a great fan of fresh cilantro (coriander). I grew up with it in Mexico and lived another 12 years with it in India as well, where it is added to basically every dish under the sun. If I can avoid it or substitute parsley instead, I will, just like my mother did. This morning I searched the internet for the recipe of mojo verde and discovered that I had all the ingredients in my kitchen. Well, except for the fresh jalapeños. My grandfather would have been proud of me, as I stood in front of my blender and kitchen counter and decided to wing it and create the FrogDiva Mojo Verde.

The original recipe of mojo verde includes:

1 bunch of cilantro
fresh lime juice (2 limes)
white wine vinegar
olive oil

Blend together until smooth and voila!

Now my FrogDiva Mojo Verde includes:

1 bunch of cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
6 large cloves of garlic
fresh lemon juice (1 big lemon)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp piri piri powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 fresh avocado
1/4 cup olive oil

I ditched the vinegar because the lemon juice is acidic enough and I saw no need for additional vinegar. If you like more heat and prefer the fresh peppers to the powder, use the serrano peppers or habaneros and discard the black pepper. If you are reading this in Southasia, use the regular fresh green chillis.

The avocado makes it more like a guacamole, which is not a bad thing. I found out it makes the sauce creamier rather than the original oilier version. Mojo verde is sometimes used as a bread spread, so the avocado makes the texture perfect for this! If ever I find tomatillos in Portugal, or figure out where to grab a plant to grow them, rest assured I will experiment with the salsa verde someday!

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