Lomo Saltado is one of the most important dishes in the history of Peruvian cuisine — it’s the first time that ingredients from China like ginger and soy sauce were mixed with Peruvian aji amarillo hot peppers, and the fusion is a truly savory and spicy Chifa dish. There are several restaurants in San Francisco that serve Lomo Saltado, but here’s all you need to know to make this Chinese-Peruvian beef stir-fry at home.
Though there are many variations of Lomo Saltado, the main ingredients are beef, red onions, tomatoes, and French fries. The real key to this dish, however, is the seasoning — in addition to salt, garlic, and ginger, I prepare a sauce with soy sauce, white wine vinegar, oyster sauce, and aji amarillo. The recipe here is from my mom, but the addition of the oyster sauce was inspired by Gaston Acurio’s version of Lomo Saltado at La Mar.
I like to serve this dish with a side of steamed rice, but it’s also great with some Tacu Tacu or on top of a green salad. And if you don’t eat beef — fear not — you can make Camarones Saltados, or shrimp stir-fry. I’ve even used sliced apples instead of beef for a vegetarian version. Whenever I make this dish for a friend, I love their look of surprise when they see the French fries, to which I say “did you know potatoes are from Peru?”
INGREDIENTS FOR THE STIR-FRY
- 1/2 lb. beef (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 red onion
- 1 tomato
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 small piece of ginger
- 1 bag of frozen French fries
- salt to taste
- green onion and cilantro for garnish
- 1 lime
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon aji amarillo paste
- 4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
In addition to the ingredients above, you’ll need a skillet for stir-frying and a bowl to mix the sauce.
- Preheat the oven and follow the instruction to bake the French fries, usually at 450°F for 30 minutes or so. You can continue with the preparation that follows while the fries are baking, but wait until they are done before stir-frying the beef.
- Mince the garlic and ginger. Chop the cilantro and cut the green onion into rings. Slice the tomato into six wedges. Peel the red onion, cut in half, and cut each half in quarters and separate onion layers into leaf-like slices. Cut the lime in half.
- In a small bowl, prepare the sauce by mixing together the soy sauce, vinegar, aji amarillo, and oyster sauce.
- Cut the beef into medium size strips.
- When the fries are done, remove from oven.
- Heat canola oil in skillet over medium to high heat.
- Season the beef strips with salt and stir-fry the beef in skillet, about 30 seconds.
- Add the garlic and ginger, stir-fry about 30 seconds.
- Add the onions and tomatoes, stir-fry about 30 seconds.
- Add the fries and prepared sauce, stir-fry about 30 seconds.
- Turn off heat and mix in the green onion and cilantro, stir-fry about 30 seconds.
- Serve immediately and squeeze juice of half a lime over dish.
Lomo means tenderloin en español, but other cuts of beef will work well as long as you don’t overcook them. For example, I like using a New York strip and sometimes a top sirloin. The beef strips should be of even thickness and not too long, that way they will cook uniformly. Once the sauce is prepared, the fries are baked, and all the ingredients are chopped or sliced, the cooking happens very fast. The timing in the steps above is only an estimate, what is most important is not to overcook the beef or tomatoes. Also, you should only add the amount of sauce and fries to balance all the ingredients. The end result should be tender beef, crispy onions, moist tomatoes, and warm fries — nothing should be too soft or soggy.