Lomo Saltado (Peruvian Beef Stir Fry)
What’s not to love about tender slices of seared or stir fried beef, onions, juicy tomatoes, crispy French fried potatoes and rice - a delicious fusion Chinese-Peruvian stir-fry. The steak frites of Peru! A classic Peruvian dish that we are always craving. It comes together quickly and the sauce is absolutely delicious over your fries or rice or maybe you like to add your fries right into the pan with the beef as some do - either way you will love the flavor of this Peruvian dish as much as we do. Each Peruvian home has their own version of this delicious classic. I was introduced to this amazing dish by a friend of mine who married into a Peruvian family who I love and made this for a group of us - I couldn’t get enough. So with a little experimentation, conferring with her and some research - we have Lomo Saltado on the blog and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you guys. I can’t claim its authenticity but it sure is tasty and if you are looking for a new way to do stir fry this Peruvian classic is a must.
What is Lomo Saltado?
Basically Lomo Saltado is a Peruvian beef stir-fry dish. Its often considered Chifa Cuisine or a fusion of Peruvian and Chinese food. Its Peruvian Stir-Fried Beef With Onion, Tomatoes, and French Fries. Lomo saltado translates to “stir-fried beef”(or literally “jumping beef”)- similar to a Chinese style sir fry dish that was actually created by Chinese cooks in Peru. Chinese food and Chinese technique became so popular in Peru that it began to influence traditional Peruvian cuisine, and Andean dishes. This happened as an influx of Chinese immigrants arrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bringing their tasty cuisine with them, as they have done in many other countries as well. Its made with sliced beef steak, onions, tomatoes, french fries, soy sauce, rice, vinegar, and aji Amarillo peppers (Peruvian yellow chili) or sauce. Tradionlly its the fresh peppers that are used in this dish but since they are not readily available here, the sauce made from them works in a pinch and adds that district flavour to this dish. Many recipes just omit the peppers all together which is totally fine but I really think its worth trying to get your hands on at least the paste - which is readily available at any South American grocer. Some recipes use Pisco a South American brandy but others do not. Some recipes use white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar in the recipe and some like the one I followed to make mine use apple cider vinegar. Feel free to adjust according to what you have on hand or to preference.
Ingredients in Lomo Saltado
- STEAK - sliced beef or cubed beef - you want to sear the beef and stir fry so you want thick slices of beef but not too thick and not too thin or small either otherwise they will over cook (details on best cut of beef / cut of meat for stir fry below)
- TOMATOES - any tomatoes will work - I like to use plum tomatoes and I slice them into wedges so that when they are stir fried they maintain a bit of their shape.
- RED ONION - you could use yellow onion too but red onion is sweeter and I prefer it in this recipe, shallots would work here too
- SCALLIONS/GREEN ONIONS - they add so much flavour to the dish
- AJI AMARILLO - fresh aji amarillo peppers would be the ideal and tradional choice for this recipe but a they are not always easy to find you can use ahi Amarillo paste or sauce like the one pictured in the ingredient shot (leave out if you cannot find either - the dish will not be quiet the same without it, but will still be a delicious stir fry dish)
- GARLIC & GINGER - both are optional but add so much flavour to this dish.
- SPICES - cumin and oregano are what I added - both are totally optional but add delicious flavour to the meat. Use salt and black pepper to taste as well, remembering the the soy sauce will add saltiness to the over all dish
- SOY SAUCE - use whatever soy sauce you normally use for a stir fry. For a gluten free soy sauce alternative you can use Tamari, coconut aminos/liquid aminos
- VINEGAR - I used apple cider vinegar but other common vinegars used in Lomo saltado are white wine vinegar, or sherry vinegar (some recipes also blend in some Pisco as well - a brandy from South America)
- FRESH HERBS - I love to use fresh coriander or fresh cilantro to finish off the dish and for garnish but you can also just use parsley or extra sliced scallions
- FRENCH FRIES & RICE - yes double the carbs - double the goodness. Make your own homemade French fries or use store-bought. Either toss them in with the beef or serve on the side. The rice is served on the side. Both are optional - or are they?
Best Beef Cuts For Stir-Frying
The secret to a great stir-fry is selecting the right protein. Assemble your favorite veggies, sauce and one of these stir-fry-friendly beef cuts to deliver a delicious one-skillet meal that’s sure to impress. Here are some recommendations : Most tender beef cuts, include sirloin, tri-tip, ribeye, top loin (strip), beef tenderloin, filet mignon, and even flank steak if sliced not too thin but not too thick either. In this Lomo saltado recipe you want the beef to be able to get a bit of a sear for a few seconds but if its sliced too thin it will over cook. That being said I have seen many recipes out there for this dish using sliced chicken and that works as well - cooking time may be a bit longer to ensure chicken is cooked through and many vegetarian versions use large meaty stir fried mushrooms too.
Tips for making a delicious stir fry and Lomo Saltado every time:
Prepare all the ingredients before turning on the heat
Once the heat is on, things move quickly. Have your ingredients sliced and your liquids measured before you start, and keep them close by. Be prepared to add things quickly, making sure each component is cooked properly.
Slice meat and vegetables for maximum surface area
The goal is to expose as much surface area as possible: vegetables are often sliced thinly on a sharp diagonal, aromatics like garlic and ginger are usually finely chopped, and meat is always sliced against the grain to increase tenderness. The greater surface area gives it all more contact with the heat and more flavour. Don’t over crowd the pan - cook things in batches if needed.
Use a wok or cast-iron pan
If you have a wok, always use it. A wok has a large surface area and retains heat very well, making it ideal for stir-fries. If you don’t have a wok, opt for a cast iron skillet or a heavy bottom skillet. As you add more ingredients, you want the pan to remain very hot and cast-iron pans will retain heat better than other materials. This makes it particularly important when cooking on an electric stove.
Add ingredients according to cook time
Some items will take less time than others cook. The meat will cook first like in many stir fry recipes and then taken out of pan to be added again at the end. This will allow you to cook the vegetables without overcooking the meat.
Stir your ingredients often
Your ingredients should cook fast, but to ensure that everything is cooked evenly, stir constantly. It’s important to move the food in and out of the centre of the pan quickly.
Thicken the stir-fry sauce
Some recipes will call for a mixture of cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce at the end of a stir-fry. If this is the case, make sure that they are mixed until smooth to prevent clumping when added. In this recipe you can stir the cornstarch into the sauce ingredients if you wish - its optional, not necessarily traditional but if you want your sauce to be slightly thicker this is a good way to do it.
Always add a garnish
Serve stir-fries with the addition of a fresh element: herbs, sprouts or fresh citrus wedges make a big difference. For Lomo saltado I always love to add fresh chopped cilantro but sliced scallions or parsley will work too.
How to make Lomo Saltado
Making Lomo saltado is as simple to make as any other stir fry dish. You will love it! Here are the very simple instructions on how to make it (full list of instructions in recipe card below):
- Slice beef/steak and marinate while you prep the rest of the dish
- Slice all your veggies
- Make your stir fry sauce
- Stir fry and sear your beef in batches and remove from pan and set aide
- Stir fry the veggies setting them aside
- Add sauce to pan returning the veggies and beef to pan and stir to coat with the delicious sauce
If you like this dish you will love these:
- 1 lb of sirloin steak sliced against the grain into strips
- 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
- 1 small red onion sliced
- 2 small to medium tomatoes sliced into wedges ( I used plum tomatoes)
- 4 scallions ends trimmed and sliced into 2 inch pieces, plus more for garnish
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- ½ inch piece of ginger peeled and minced or grated (optional)
- 1 heaping tablespoon of Aji Amarillo paste or 1 ají Amarillo Chili pepper stemmed, seeded and sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro plus more for garnish
- Steamed White rice for serving
- French fries homemade or store bought for serving
For the Marinade
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin (more or less to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar/ red wine vinegar or white vinegar or sherry vinegar
For the Stir fry Sauce (can be doubled for extra sauce)
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon corn starch (optional for sauce thickner)
- Place sliced or cubed steak in a bowl and toss with the soy sauce, ground cumin, oregano and vinegar
- Allow to sit a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Stir together the soy sauce, vinegar and corn starch if using and
- Set aside.
Stir Fry Steak & Veggies
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan, large skillet or a wok, over medium-high to high heat. Add the steak, and cook stir frying until browned and seared, 5-6 minutes. Remove from the pan onto plate and set aside. Do not overcrowd pan. You may have to do this in batches with remaining beef.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the same pan, then add the red onion and cook for about 2-5 minutes, until softened and then remove from pan and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the green onions and sauté 20-30 seconds then add the tomato, garlic, and aji amarillo paste, and cook for another 2-5 minutes, until the tomatoes have released some of their juices, but are still intact.
- Add the sauce to pan and stir to combine, let cook for approx 1 minute.
- Return the steak and accumulated juices, and the onions to the pan and sprinkle over the cilantro. Toss gently to coat everything in the sauce.
- Serve hot with rice and fries. Some recipes call for stirring the fries into the sauce as well - feel free to do this or serve fries on the side with the rice as well.