OK, so if you haven’t tried Cuban-style Mojo Chicken, you are totally missing out on the some of the most flavorful chicken you have ever had. Let me share with you my absolute favorite way to cook chicken: The Cuban Chicken Bowl.
For those of you who don’t know me, I will tell you that I love to travel. I was born in Finland. I lived in Sweden. Then I moved to the United States. I have lived in New Orleans, Charleston, South Carolina, and now California. And I make it a habit to travel as much as I can.
I have traveled all over the United States. I have been to Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. I have been to several places in Europe, including England, Germany, Spain, and Italy. And the furthest place I have been so far is India. And there are so many more places to go!
One of the places I would love to visit is Cuba. The history, the culture, the music, and the FOOD! Have you ever had cuban food? Oh, the food! My favorite thing about Cuban food is the mojo sauce. Mojo sauce is the signature marinade of Cuba and it finds its way into many different dishes, including Mojo Cuban Chicken. And that’s what we are doing here today.
Cuban chicken is by far my favorite way to cook chicken. It is so different from the simple foods that I grew up with in Finland where black pepper is the spiciest thing I ever tasted. I like to combine the spicy flavors of the mojo sauce with sweet fried plantains. And this time I added a little heat to my sweet plantains by adding a little fresh habanero pepper. And don’t forget about the Pineapple Cucumber Salsa!
What makes mojo cuban chicken so tasty is the rich flavors of cumin, garlic, and oranges. The key element is actually sour orange, the almost bitter Seville orange that grows throughout Cuba. But since I do not have a sour orange tree in my backyard, I settled for making my mojo sauce sour by adding a bit of lime.
And don’t get turned off by the different steps to prepare this cuban chicken bowl. It’s basically 3 steps: chicken, plantains, and salsa. Here’s a coupe of tips for ya:
- Whip up the mojo sauce in the morning and let the chicken marinate all day in the fridge.
- Let your plantains get VERY ripe, with lots of black spots on the peel. These will be the best and sweetest friend plantains.
- When cooking the plantains, be sure to scoop up the crispy pieces of habanero pepper when you are done. They give a great spicy flavor.
- You can prep the chicken, plantains, and salas ahead of time. Simply heat up the chicken and plantains in a covered dish in the oven for a few minutes.
- Use the leftover mojo sauce for salad dressing or to marinate your steak, fish, or pork.
Cuban Chicken Bowl (with Habanero Plantains and Pineapple Cucumber Salsa)
- Yield: 2-3 bowls
- 1 pound boneless chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- FOR MOJO SAUCE
- 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 tbsp avocado oil (like this)
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin powder (like this)
- 1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 2-3 dashes of your favorite hot sauce
- 2-3 tbsp coconut oil (like this)
- 2 very ripe plantains, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rounds
- 1- 2 habanero peppers, finely chopped
- FOR SALSA
- 1 cup chopped pineapple
- 3/4 cup peeled and chopped cucumber
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- juice and zest from one lime
- salt to taste
- salad greens
- Begin by marinading the chicken. Combine all mojo sauce ingredients in a blender and process until well combined. Place chicken pieces into a glass bowl and pour HALF of the marinade on top. Cover and allow to marinate for several hours. Reserve the rest of the mojo sauce for later.
- Tp prepare plantains: melt coconut oil in a large skillet, enough to liberally cover the bottom. Toss in the chopped habanero pepper and swirl around to flavor the oil. Cook plantain rounds until golden and beginning to brown on each side. Remove from pan and allow to drain on a paper towel.
- While the plantains cook, prepare the salsa by combining all salsa ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently to combine.
- Once plantains and salsa are done, simply wipe out the pan for the plantains and heat to medium high heat. Pour in marinated chicken (sauce and all) and cook for 5-7 minutes, until chicken is cooked all the way through and sauce is reduced.
- To assemble chicken bowl, place a nice handful of salad greens into bowl. Add cooked chicken and plantains. Top with salsa. Use leftover mojo sauce for salad dressing and for extra flavor.
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