Today we're making mojo de ajo, a Puerto Rican garlic sauce perfect for serving with fried plantains, roasted meat or veggies. It's made in just 5 minutes with 3 simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen!
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Puerto Rican recipes are known for being rich in flavor and color and this mojo de ajo garlic sauce is a perfect example.
The sauce is said to have originated in the Canary Islands and goes great with just about anything you would like to dip into garlic sauce.
With bright acidity from lime juice and that spicy pungent garlic flavor, it's a no brainer why this simple sauce is so popular across the Caribbean.
Here are the items you'll need to make this sauce:
- olive oil
- garlic, minced
- lime juice, freshly squeezed
See recipe card for quantities.
Add oil, garlic, and lime juice to a pot over medium low heat.
Simmer gently for 5 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't turn brown or overcook.
Season with salt and pepper to taste (optional).
Serve with freshly fried green plantains or whatever you like. Buen provecho!
How much garlic is too much?
The limit does not exist when it comes to this recipe, and in general. Go wild!
Picking the right oil
I recommend using extra virgin olive oil for this recipe as it's flavor lends to the flavors in the garlic sauce.
You can use canola, vegetable, or avocado oil but olive oil produces the best results.
Here are some easy ways to mix up your mojo de ajo:
- Spicy - add a chili pepper to the oil while it's simmering or season with your favorite seasonings once the oil is off the heat (to prevent burning).
- Strictly Garlic - skip the citrus altogether to keep things strictly garlic in the flavor department
- Mix up the Citrus - try adding a pinch of lime zest, or a squeeze of lemon juice instead of lime for a slightly different acidity in the garlic sauce.
If you plan to season the sauce with salt, pepper, or any seasonings, make sure to add them once the oil is off the heat as they can speed up the cooking process and burn the garlic easily.
Mojo de Ajo Around the World
While this sauce is said to have originated in the Canary Islands, it can be found in different areas across the Caribbean and Latin America.
These two cultures embrace the sauce and give it their own signature flair:
- Cuban - Cuban mojo de ajo often incorporates different kinds of citrus and herbs like oranges, fresh oregano, etc.
- Mexican - the Mexican versions of this sauce usually require fresh parsley, onion, and sometimes spices like paprika
The sauce is named mojo de ajo (garlic sauce) after it's simple ingredients and big flavor and the truth is, there are variations of it all over the world!
Garlic is a universally loved ingredient, and infusing it in oil feels like it was meant to be.
What to Eat it With
I recommend trying this sauce with anything you would add garlic to. As mentioned before, it's delicious with Puerto Rican tostones and almost all plantain recipes.
Here are some of my favorite things to dip in mojo de ajo:
- on any kind of grilled shrimp or seafood, especially shrimp, white fish, and clams
- on chicken, specifically these pinchos de pollo and chicharrones de pollo
- with grilled veggies, especially those you enjoy with garlic!
- PLANTAINS: with these plantain fries, or maduros for a sweet & salty vibe, and spooned over mofongo
The world is your garlic infused oyster when it comes to this sauce.
There isn't any special equipment required for this recipe.
If you'd like to lean into the full Puerto Rican culinary experience, you can simmer the garlic sauce in a caldero.
One of the awesome things about making a large batch of this sauce is that it should keep for up to 2 months in your fridge.
Make sure to store in an air tight jar.
Don't overcook the garlic!
It's very easy to burn garlic, especially when working with hot oil. This can cause the garlic to turn blue in color. While this is harmless and 100% still edible, it's a bit of an uncanny look that I prefer to avoid.
It's also important to keep the heat on the low side, to keep the integrity of that garlic flavor.