Mojo sauce, made up of garlic, olive oil or pork fat, oregano and bitter orange juice, is everywhere in Cuba. Locals love to mix some of this spicy sauce up as a dip with plantain chips, or to use as a marinade. One of the best ways to serve mojo sauce is with some tender chicken breasts, accompanied with a mountain of fluffy rice.
Fancy making mojo chicken yourself? Check out our video above, where food stylist and restaurant owner, Henrietta Clancy, shows us how it’s done. You can find the recipe, with the method and the ingredients, at the bottom of this post.
The name translates to ‘old clothes’, but we promise that this Cuban stew is tastier than it sounds. The shredded beef, peppers, onions, black beans and tomato sauce served with rice are said to resemble a pile of colourful rags, and is one of Cuba’s favourite dishes. It’s also a rare special treat to many Cubans, as beef, known as “red gold” is a delicacy.
The Cuban sandwich is believed to have been created by Cuban immigrants travelling to and from Florida to work in the cigar and sugar factories, and is one of the reasons why the snack is so popular in the south-east American state. It’s a meat-lover’s dream, containing ham, roasted pork, cheese, mustard and salami sandwiched between two slices of soft Cuban bread.
If you fancy a sandwich with a little less meat, opt for a pan con timba. Constructing it is simple, too. All you have to do is layer sweet guava paste in between slices of Swiss cheese. Grilling it to make the ultimate sweet, yet savoury, cheese toastie is also optional.
Not sure when to go and try the Cuban sandwich for yourself? We’ve got the low-down on the best time to visit Cuba
You can’t leave Cuba without trying one of their most-loved cocktails, hailed to be famous writer Ernest Hemingway’s favourite tipple. In fact, he adored the Cuban classic so much, he left the handwritten quote “My mojito in La Bodeguita, My daiquiri in El Floridita” in his favourite bar in La Bodeguita del Medio, in Havana, Cuba. The drink, which is believed to have been created in the 16th century, typically consists of five key ingredients – sugar, white rum, soda water, lime juice and mint.
If you want a twist on the traditional mojito, check out our Sensatori Resort cocktail recipes which show you how to make everything from watermelon to kiwi-infused drinks.
You won’t see pasta on many Cuban restaurant menus, and the bread is rationed, so your gluten-free journey to Cuba should be a relatively easy one. Most meals include staples rice, beans, vegetables and meat, meaning there is plenty for any gluten-intolerant or coeliac visitors to enjoy. We’d recommend trying arroz con maiz, a simple dish of rice flavoured with annatto seeds, rice, corn, white wine, spices and chicken stock.
As you might have already noticed, Cuba’s food is pretty meat-heavy. But that’s not to say that any vegetarians or vegans can’t have a great culinary experience. One dish that you’ll find all over Cuba is veggie-friendly Moros y Cristianos, or black beans and rice. This country favourite, made up of onions, vegetable stock, garlic, spices, beans and rice, is served at almost every Cuban restaurant, so you won’t have to go far to find it.
Another meat-free favourite is plantain, which appears in many different forms all over Cuba. One of the best is plantain fritters, which involves shredding plantain, adding some seasoning and then frying until golden brown.
Mojo chicken recipe – serves four
If our description of the mojo chicken had you drooling, here’s our recipe on how to make it for yourself.
100ml orange juice
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
4 skinless chicken breasts
Method: Combine all of the ingredients, except the chicken breasts, to make the marinade and set aside.
Butterfly the chicken breasts and place each inside a large sandwich bag before bashing with a rolling pin to flatten.
Combine all the chicken and the marinade in a large sandwich bag; seal and marinate in for at least an hour.
Heat a griddle pan until smoking. Add the chicken breasts and griddle on high for 3 mins each side, or until cooked through.
Serve with rice and a salad (diced tomatoes, onions, avocados), and garnish the chicken with chopped coriander, some orange zest curls, extra chilli flakes and lime wedges.
It’s easy to unwind at Royalton Hicacos. Located on the Hicacos peninsula in Varadero, this hotel is set between white sandy beaches and a belt of jungle greenery.
Take a twin centre tour to the Varadero Twin Centre. You’ll get the buzz of Havana and Varadero’s beaches in one.
The luxury has four outdoor pools, including one with a swim-up bar, as well as five restaurants serving everything from Asian cuisine to Mediterranean seafood.
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