Recently, I’ve been watching Street Food Latin America on Netflix where they spotlight amazing street food vendors in different Latin American countries. The one about Peru surprised me more than I thought it would. I learned that Peruvian cuisine is essentially a fusion cuisine. Immigration to Peru led to a variety of cultural influences in their food. One great example of that is Chifa. Chifa is a fusion of Chinese Cantonese and Peruvian cuisines. This was wild to me. I never knew the Chinese had a hand in some of my favorite Peruvian dishes. One of the most popular dishes that was a result of this fusion is lomo saltado.
What is lomo saltado?
The origins of lomo saltado
Lomo saltado is essentially a Peruvian beef stir fry. Chinese Cantonese immigrants from the southern parts of China immigrated to Peru during the 19th and 20th centuries. Along with their people, they brought ingredients like soy sauce and ginger and introduced stir fry as a cooking method to Peru. All of that combined with traditional Peruvian ingredients like aji amarillo created this wonderful dish.
How I made my version of this yummy dish
A traditional lomo saltado is made with beef, soy sauce, aji amarillo, tomatoes, red onions, and fries. There a few different ways to make this dish, but I definitely went more with what I learned through my cooking adventures. For example, I marinated the beef, so it can absorb all the yummy flavors from the soy sauce and vinegar. There were some recipes in my research that did not marinate the beef. I also looked to this blog for a lot of the inspiration for this dish since Peruvian food is not my wheel house.
Ingredients, Substitutions & Adjustments
- Beef sirloin – Beef sirloin is the cut of beef that is used in traditional lomo saltado, so this is the cut I would recommend using. A good substitute for beef sirloin is beef chuck.
- Seasonings (salt, black pepper, and cumin) – Adds flavor to the beef sirloin. Cumin adds a little bit of earthiness. You can use any kind of salt you want. I would recommend using black pepper for this recipe.
- Rice wine vinegar – Adds some tartness to the beef. This balances out the umami flavor of soy sauce.
- Soy sauce – Adds a umami flavor to the beef. For a gluten free alternative to soy sauce, use tamari.
- Red onion – Red onion is slightly sweet, so it complements the beef really well. Good substitutes for red onion are white onion and sweet yellow onion.
- Roma tomatoes – The freshness of tomatoes balances out the savory flavors from the beef. Roma tomatoes are my favorite, so I use them 99% of the time. You can use any kind of tomatoes you want.
- Aji amarillo paste – This ingredient is the key to so many Peruvian dishes. It is the paste form of a yellow Peruvian pepper. If you can find the actual pepper, I would use that, but in places where you can’t find it, I would recommend the paste. The brand I found (pictured above) uses only the pepper to create the paste.
- Beef base – I added beef base for extra flavor. I like to use Better than Bouillon beef base. You can omit this if you can’t find it.
- Garlic – Adds flavor to the beef.
- French fries – I chose to use frozen French fries because I didn’t want to fry my own potatoes. I used Oreida’s frozen french fries.
- Cilantro – Adds freshness to the dish.
- Lemon – Adds brightness to the dish. Lemon is traditionally not served along side lomo saltado, but I had a few extra lemons so I decided to squeeze some lemon juice on top. I ended up really liking it! Highly recommend doing this.
Making my version of lomo saltado
First prepare your fries according to the package instructions. I used frozen fries because I didn’t want to fry my own potatoes. Set aside. Next marinate your beef sirloin. Combine soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and cumin into a bowl. Add the beef sirloin and marinate for 10 minutes. After the beef has marinated for 10 minutes, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Add the beef sirloin and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until browned. Add the red onions, aji amarillo paste, beef base, tomatoes, and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the fries and cook for ~1 minute. Remove from the heat. Garnish with minced cilantro and serve over rice. Optional: squeeze some lemon over the top before serving.
Tips on how to make the perfect lomo saltado
Add a squeeze of lemon for that extra flavor
I had some extra lemons leftover from another recipe, so I decided to squeeze some lemon juice over the top. And it was amazing! Lemon adds extra brightness and flavor to the dish. This is of course non traditional, but I can’t imagine not doing this now.
What do you serve this dish with?
I served this dish with long grain white rice. The rice serves as a nice base that absorbs the sauce really well. Good alternatives are brown rice, red rice, and a baguette. Yes you can eat this in a sandwich!
Use frozen fries for a shorter cooking time
I chose to use frozen fries because I simply didn’t want to fry my own potatoes. If you use frozen fries, you can also make this as a weeknight meal. It cuts around 20-30 minutes from your cook time, and the clean up is easier. Definitely make your own fries if you want to!
Did you make this dish?
If you made this dish, I would love to see!
- Prepare the French fries according to the instructions on the package. Set aside.
- Combine salt, pepper, cumin, vinegar, and soy sauce in a bowl. Add the beef sirloin strips and marinate for 10 minutes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Add the beef sirloin and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until brown.
- Add the red onion, tomatoes, aji amarillo paste, beef base, and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the tomatoes are tender.
- Add the french fries and cook for ~1 minute.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve over white rice.
- Optional: Squeeze some lemon over the lomo saltado before serving.