Mojo Chicken and Rice is a fast and simple weeknight dinner that is based around the concept of fried rice but uses Cuban mojo sauce for incredible flavor. Affiliate links have been used to link to items I am discussing.
Oy. I know I disappeared for a while. I seem to be involved in a passive aggressive sulky struggle with the lack of light. No matter what I cook, no matter how awesome it is, trying to photograph it in the dark justirritates me. And the more my food photography improves, the more this pisses me off. This post was photographed in the dark, and I admit the pictures came out ok with my new camera, but they are still not right. So… sorry for the silence.
Contributing to my sulkiness over the last week is the fact that I am on a low iodine diet, which must be one of the worst diets ever devised (but obviously far preferable to chemo). Basically your thyroid processes iodine, so we want to starve any remaining (cancerous) thyroid cells of iodine, so that when I take the radioactive iodine it hones in on those cancerous thyroid cells and destroys them. Now if you are like me you are probably thinking since we as a society decided to add iodine to our table salt to prevent gout not that much would have iodine, right?
I cannot have any egg yolks, any dairy (and I mean any, so for example dark chocolate with any milk product in it is out), nothing from the ocean (including anything made with carrageenan, a seaweed derivative used for thickening), including sea salt, and nothing manufactured with any salt (including all those plant milk subs!) because there is no way to know what kind of salt they were made with.
Whew! It is a good thing this diet only lasts ten days because people it is ridiculous. Stay tuned for a macadamia nut milk post though! Himalayan pink salt and I have become best friends. And this Maple Oatmeal Sandwich Bread is keeping me sane in the morning (it also works with honey I am happy to say since we were out of maple syrup). I never thought I would say this but…. I am looking forward to finally being radioactive.
Back to my Mojo Chicken and Rice. This recipe (which I made before my crazy diet) started with David Tamarkin’s Cook90: The 30-Day Plan for Faster, Healthier, Happier Meals. I knew nothing about Cook90, a cooking plan involving cooking everything from scratch, and while I was not interested in embracing the entire plan, I thought it might have some ideas to jump start me in the kitchen. Happily I was not wrong. One of the tenets of Cook90 is making use of leftovers to create “nextovers”–basically meals that use leftovers as one of their building blocks. This got me to thinking about Fried Rice, which I make all of the time with leftover rice, but then I saw the recipe for Garlic Mojo Sauce and wondered why not a Latin American fried rice? What makes Fried Rice work (along with dried out leftover rice) is liquid (soy sauce, maybe fish sauce), strong flavors (soy sauce, maybe fish sauce, sesame oil) and fat (vegetable oil, sesame oil). Mojo is fat (avocado or olive oil), strong flavors (garlic and citrus) and obviously liquid.
It worked perfectly.
- 1-2 T avocado oil*
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, patted dry and sprinkled with salt and pepper
- 1 large onion, chopped
- salt to taste
- 2 small zucchini, sliced
- 2 sweet bell peppers, seeded and diced
- 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen organic corn (or equivalent fresh in the summer)
- 2-3 cups leftover rice
- 3-4 T mojo (see recipe below), to taste, plus more for drizzling (see instructions)
- 1/4-1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chicken thighs and brown on both sides. Remove to a bowl when done, quickly cut into bite-sized pieces, and drizzle with a little mojo.
Add the onions with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until translucent.
Add zucchini and sweet bell pepper, with another pinch of salt. Continue stirring, until all vegetables are crisp-tender.
Add chicken, black beans and corn and stir. Let cook for 5 minutes, or until chicken is mostly cooked.
Add rice and stir to incorporate into dish. Then add 3 tablespoons of mojo. Keep stirring to meld flavors and heat dish through completely. Check to make sure chicken is cooked through and keep tossing until it is if not.
Sprinkle some more salt into dish--how much you need will also depend on whether your rice was cooked in salted water (my Basmati always is) or not (my Jasmine rice never cooks in salted water). Taste for more mojo.
Stir the cilantro through the dish, reserving a little bit for garnish.
Garnish individual servings with cilantro and drizzle a little extra mojo on top.
*Use whatever oil you used in mojo if possible.
Closely adapted from David Tamarkin.
- 1/2 cup avocado oil*
- 2-3 T (8 fat cloves) minced garlic
- 1 t ground cumin
- 1/2 t dried Mexican oregano
- 1/2 t fresh chile pepper paste (or a thinly sliced hot pepper)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 t sea salt
Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the garlic and let it cook until it begins to change color. Add the cumin and crumble in the oregano and turn off the heat.
Let the oil cool for 10-15 minutes. Stir in the fresh chile pepper paste, citrus juices and salt.
Store in a sealed container in the fridge and shake before using. Will last for 1 week.
*The original recipe calls for olive oil, but not extra virgin, which I do not even keep on hand. Use a mild but rich oil, do not use something super bland like canola.
Looking for a Mojo Chicken and Rice collage to pin?