I’ve finally found my Mojo. No, not the Austin Powers kind, but the saucy citrusy kind that originates from Cuba. It’s pronounced “mo-ho”, not “mo-jo”, the libido giving force made popular by shag carpet-chested Mike Myers, so you shouldn’t get too many strange looks when you tell people what you had for dinner as long as you say it right. Mojo is a tangy sauce made of citrus, garlic and traditionally lots of oil; though I’ve made a healthier version here with less oil and a welcome addition using my favourite fruit, mango. I love mangoes; I eat them dried, candied, juiced, frozen, in sorbets, and have even had them freshly fallen from a tree. From the small house in rural Thailand where I lived one summer, I remember hearing periodic bangs on the corrugated roofs of neighbours, which marked the sound of ripe mangoes being shaken from the trees by hungry children with long wooden sticks, clamouring for dessert.
This sauce is a delightful accompaniment to grilled pork, prawns or fish. I picked up tuna flank from the grocer this afternoon and marinated it in herbs and oil before sauteeing it very briefly, slicing and then serving with a generous drizzling of mojo.
Mojo is actually short for Mojito, which is unrelated to the drink – though the drink would be a perfect, refreshing beverage for this meal.
Suggested musical pairing: Anything Salsa from Amilcar Suarez Sian
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro, fresh
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley, fresh
3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice from 1/2 orange, about 1/4 cup
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp, ground pepper
3 tuna steaks/flanks (to be thinly sliced once cooked)
1 large ripe mango, peeled and seed removed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp dry white wine
1 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tbsp dried oregano
Juice from 1 lime
Juice from 1 lemon
Juice from 1/2 orange, about a 1/4 cup
1. In a large bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients. Add the tuna and toss well so that all sides are coated with liquid and herbs. Marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
2. In a blender or food processor, puree the mango with the remaining mojo ingredients until well blended. Set aside until tuna is finished grilling.
3. Remove the tuna steaks from the marinade and season again with salt and pepper on both sides. Either using a charcoal or gas grill, or a frying pan on medium-high on the stove, sear the tuna for no more than 5 minutes on each side. This will give you a nice medium-rare tuna, which is the way I like my tuna – though if the fish is a thicker cut cooking time may need to be adjusted. If you’re the type of person who gets turned off by the thought of undercooked fish, then try it for another minute or two on each side.
4. For serving, thinly slice the tuna so that some of the pink interior is visible. Spread a few tablespoons of mojo on each plate, then arrange several slices of fish on the sauce. Drizzle another tablespoon or so of mojo overtop and serve with a slice of lime and a few sprigs of cilantro.