Unraveling the delightful world of Canarian wrinkled potatoes with “mojo”

Speaking of Canarian culinary icons, there's one delicacy that truly shines – "papas arrugadas," or Canarian wrinkled potatoes. These petite, salt-crusted tubers hold a special place in Canarian gastronomy, cherished for their distinctive texture and paired perfectly with the irresistible mojo sauces.

When it comes to iconic Canarian dishes, one delicacy that stands out is “papas arrugadas,” or Canarian wrinkled potatoes. These small, salt-crusted spuds are a beloved part of Canarian cuisine, celebrated for their unique texture and served alongside the irresistible mojo sauces. In this article, we’ll dive into the origin and history of this delectable dish, guide you to the best places in the Canary Islands to savour it, and even share a recipe for making it at home.

The origin and history of “wrinkled potatoes

Unraveling the delightful world of Canarian wrinkled potatoes with "mojo".

Canarian wrinkled potatoes have a history as rich as their flavour. They date back to the pre-Spanish indigenous Guanche culture, who inhabited the Canary Islands before European colonisation. These early Canarians cultivated potatoes, which were introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus upon his return from the New World.

The distinctive preparation of papas arrugadas involves boiling small, unpeeled potatoes in heavily salted water until they wrinkle, forming a salt crust on the skin. The resulting texture is a delightful combination of crispness and tenderness.

Where to savour the best ‘papas arrugadas’ in the Canary Islands

Unraveling the delightful world of Canarian wrinkled potatoes with "mojo".

Papas arrugadas are practically a must for any restaurant in the Canary Islands to offer to their clients, but of course there are outstanding places to try this emblematic dish of the islands, often with mojos of their own recipe.

Tenerife – El Calderito de la Abuela (Santa Cruz de Tenerife): This charming restaurant offers a traditional Canarian experience. Their papas Arrugadas are a must-try, paired with a variety of mojo sauces, including the fiery “mojo picón.”

Lanzarote – El Golfo (Yaiza): Located near the stunning Green Lagoon, this restaurant serves papas arrugadas with a view. The volcanic landscape adds to the unique experience.

Gran Canaria – Bodegón Vandama (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria): Vandama is renowned for its authentic Canarian cuisine. Their papas arrugadas are a delightful side dish to accompany your meal.

La Palma – Restaurante La Placeta (Santa Cruz de La Palma): Visit this cozy restaurant for a taste of traditional Canarian flavours. The papas arrugadas here are a local favourite.

Recipe for Canarian wrinkled potatoes with mojo sauce

While savouring the original delicacy in the Canary Islands is a unique experience, you can still enjoy these delectable spuds on your own with the following simple yet flavourful recipe.


  • 500g small potatoes (preferably Canarian or any waxy variety)
  • 1 cup coarse sea salt
  • Mojo rojo (Red mojo sauce):
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
    • Salt to taste
  • Mojo verde (Green mojo sauce):
    • 1 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
    • Salt to taste

Steps to follow:

  • Wash the potatoes thoroughly, leaving the skin on.
  • In a large pot, dissolve the sea salt in enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring it to a boil.
  • Add the potatoes and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until they become tender and the skin wrinkles.
  • Drain the potatoes and let them cool slightly.
  • Prepare the mojo rojo by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. Adjust the salt and red pepper flakes to your preference.
  • Prepare the mojo verde by blending all the ingredients until smooth. Adjust salt to taste.
  • Serve the potatoes hot, drizzled with both mojo rojo and mojo verde. Enjoy!

Papas arrugadas with mojo are more than a dish; they’re a Canarian culinary tradition steeped in history and flavour. Whether you’re savouring them in a traditional Canarian eatery or making them at home, these wrinkled potatoes are a true Canarian delight that deserves a place on your culinary bucket list.

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