The history of the ‘Mojo’ and the ‘Papas arrugadas’ (wrinkled potatoes).

The Canaries have been at the heart of the food exchange with the Americas since the 15th Century. In every island, recipes such as the mojos and the papas arrugadas show a distinctive character difficult to find in other parts of Spain.
People travelling in the Canary Islands soon becomes familiar with words such as mojos and patatas arrugadas which are printed in the menus of every restaurant they visit. Mojos are a large family of sauces with a Caribbean touch which are served to accompany a number of dishes including potatoes as well as grilled fish and meat.
Papas arrugadas (1)

Mojos' Origen

The word mojo derives from the Portuguese molho (sauce) and it is more than probable that one or two of the original mojo recipes, particularly whose made with coriander, came originally from Portugal.

In the Canary Islands, the arrival of new foods from the Americas have contributed to the increase of recipes of which those that include chilli peppers, such as the spicy Mojo Picón, are very popular. As for the papas, the name potatoes are given by the locals, is more than probable that they reached the Islands directly from Peru in the 1560’s .

Records confirm that they were already cultivated in northern Tenerife in 1622 and that by the 1790’s they had become very popular with the local population as well as being exported. With time the combination of the papa and the mojo had become inevitable. Together they tasted great.
Mojo Picón

You can use an electric blender but I strongly recommend to prepare mojos in a pestle and mortar, the texture is far superior. 

In the Canary islands they normally use a particular type of dry hot chilli pepper (pimienta picona). Away from the Islands I prefer to use a fresh medium heat chilli pepper.

a pinch sea salt
1.5 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 small fresh chilli pepper without seeds
¼ fresh red pepper without any seeds
½ teaspoon sweet pimentón
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons wine vinegar
a little water if needed.

Start by pounding the salt with the cumin seeds followed by the garlic to make a paste. Add the chilli and the fresh peppers as well as the pimentón. Carry on pounding until all the ingredients are well blended before pouring in the vinegar. Now stirring with the same pestle start adding the olive oil little by little to obtain a perfect emulsion. Adjust the salt if needed. This sauce can be stored in the fridge for several days. Serve with with patatas arrugadas s a starter or as a tapa.

Patatas Arrugadas

There is not a recipe as such to prepare patatas arrugadas. You need small new potatoes, water and sea salt in abundance.

Using a fairly shallow dish, place the potatoes in one layer if possible. Add water just to cover the potatoes and some salt on top of each. Bring to the boil. 

Cover with a cloth first and then a lid to retain the steam as much as possible Reduce the heat and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more. 

Check that all the water has been almost consumed. Cover again, return to the heat and cook for another few minutes until a slight whitening appears on the their skins.

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