International promotion campaigns have placed the Canary Islands firmly on the world tourist map, and today its gastronomy ranks high on the most select menus. Today we’ll be telling you about two of its star dishes: Gofio and Mojo.
Have you heard of gofio and mojo before? Gofio is a mixture of roasted ground grains from various cereals and legumes. Its origins lie in the Berber culture and it was a staple part of the diet of the first inhabitants of the Canary Islands, known as Guanches. Gofio was eaten long before the arrival of the European conquerors. The early settlers used to make gofio from barley, wheat and fern rhizomes. They would later add other ingredients such as maize (known as millo in the Canary Islands), chickpeas and rye. It is a hearty dish that is rich in vitamins; many sports men and women in the Canary Islands are familiar with its energy-boosting properties; in fact it can keep a person going for half a day or even longer without feeling the need to eat anything else.
It is given to young babies diluted in milk, but it is also used in countless recipes for adults. One such recipe is sancocho, a casserole of stone bass (a saltwater fish) and potatoes, accompanied by pella de gofio. Pella de gofio is a kind of dumpling made from water, gofio, oil and salt. Another traditional dish in these islands is puchero canario, consisting of boiled vegetables that are covered with gofio dough.
Mojo is a well-known sauce made from vinegar, cumin, chillies, garlic, paprika and oil, although there are multiple variations of this delicious condiment. The origins of the mojo sauces goes back much further than the memory of the islands’ inhabitants, yet the many different recipes and ingredients used to make them stem from their boundless creativity, together with the strategic location of these islands, which makes them a melting pot for various cultures. Sea trade routes provided the farmers of the Canary Islands with an exciting range of peppers, herbs, pepper pods and chillies that took root and flourished in the volcanic soils, blessed by the variety of micro-climates. Mojo sauces are normally divided into four types: red, green, sweet and spicy – but the truth is that there are as many varieties as there are dishes to accompany them. Red sauces with peppers – with or without tomato; green sauces with parsley and coriander, and which can also include avocado…the list of recipes just goes on and on, taking in a host of ingredients such as cheese, almonds, chillies, all types of herbs and condiments and even fruit. The great thing about them is that they all feature the basic ingredients, but can be adapted to suit individual tastes. However, there can be no question about it: the best accompaniment for a delicious mojo sauce are papas arrugadas – literally ‘wrinkly potatoes’. These delicious Canary Island potatoes cooked in their skin and salted are perfect as a tapa or accompaniment for all types of stews and casseroles.
In the Canary Islands, gofio is more popular than Coca Cola and mojo sauces are better-known than tomato ketchup! Rather than sophisticated delicacies, they’re just plain delicious!
Today, both products can be found in many stores and supermarkets throughout Spain and in some parts of the European Union, but if you want to taste them in all their glory, then the best thing is to take a trip to any of the ‘Fortunate Islands’ to sample some authentic gofio and a genuine mojo sauce.
“’ IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts’ hotels in the Canary Islands boast prime beachfront locations on several islands, surrounded by natural landscapes. During your stay at any of our 3, 4 and 5 star resorts you’ll have the chance to taste these culinary delights…and many more besides!”