What on earth is Chicken Mojo or Mojo seasoning?
Mojo is a Creole or Cajun style spice mix traditionally made with cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper. It is usually used in Louisiana to season chicken. I’ve been making a version of this for years and I know the flavor is good. But what is it? What is the history of Chicken Mojo?
Mojo originated in the Canary Islands, where the main varieties are red mojo (mojo rojo) and green mojo (mojo verde). Other countries have recipes similar to mojo, where acidic ingredients such as vinegar, lemon, orange, or lime juice may be used. I like adding some fresh lime and orange juice to my recipe.
I was told that the first recorded use of mojo was in 1565 by the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. De Soto used mojo to make a sauce called “chicharron”, which is the Spanish word for “fried pork”. He served it with fried plantains. The French use a mojo blanc or white mojo, which is a very mild version. The Spanish use a mojo dulce or sweet mojo, which is also very mild. These three varieties are all similar to what is used in Louisiana, but not quite the same. Here is the recipe I have been using for years, which my family just loves on chicken.
Chicken Mojo Skewers
- Grill, Oven or Air Fryer
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon or lime juice
- ⅓ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne or to taste (optional)
- 1 ¼ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" or bite-size pieces
- fresh cilantro chopped for garnish
- Press garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt. Use a knife to mash the garlic and scrape into a smooth paste.
- Move to a large bowl and add all ingredients except chicken and cilantro. Mix well to combine. Transfer half of the mixture to a small bowl and set aside.
- Add cut chicken to the large bowl and toss to coat each piece. Let sit 5 minutes or until ready to cook.
- Thread chicken onto small skewers and air fry, broil or grill until cooked through to 160°F. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with reserved sauce.
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