When I first arrived in Peru, I was surprised to see all the Chinese eateries all over Lima. I had not realized how large the Chinese immigrant population in Peru was, or rather, how much influence Chinese culture had on Peruvian cuisine. Asian Peruvians make up about 5% of the current population, although it is estimated that 20% of Peruvians have some sort of Chinese ancestry. Chinese immigrants arrived in Peru in the late 19th and early 20th century, settling primarily in Lima. Due to limited access of their traditional ingredients from China, the Chinese immigrants began substituting cheaper, local Peruvian alternatives to use in their cooking. Chifa is the term used to refer to this adapted Chinese cooking, and the term also refers to restaurants in Peru where this kind of food is served. Common dishes include Chaufa (fried rice) and Wantan Soup.
Likewise, Peruvian chefs began to incorporate traditional Chinese ingredients such as ginger, soy sauce, and scallions into daily Limean cuisine.
Lomo Saltado is a popular Peruvian dish with chifa influences. It is very similar to Chinese beef stir-fry, where the meat is marinated in vinegar, soy sauce and spices and then stir fried with vegetables. The dish is traditionally served with steamed rice and thick cut French fries. You can find this dish everywhere in Peru, and on my Inca Jungle Trek, we were served this pretty much every day…
We made this during our Peruvian Cooking Class – Dinner.
Lomo Saltado (recipe courtesy of Sky Kitchen)
Yields: 4 servings
- 6 small potatoes or 3 large potatoes
- ½ kg of beef (e.g. tenderloin)
- 1 large or 2 smaller onions, cut into 8-10 wedges each
- 3 tomatoes, cut into 8-10 wedges each
- 3 T white wine vinegar
- 2 T dark soy sauce
- 4 T red wine
- 3 cloves garlic
- fresh parsley or cilantro leaves
- vegetable oil
- salt & pepper to taste (and cumin, optional)
- meat, chicken, or vegetable stock
- 1 T oregano
- optional: fresh chili strips
Slice the meat into thin strips of about 1cm x 0.5cm x 4cm (size of your little finger).
Season the meat with salt, pepper, cumin, pressed garlic and a tablespoon of oil.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into French fries.
Fry the potatoes with sufficient vegetable oil until they are golden outside and cooked inside (this is when they’re making only few bubbles). Drain the fries on a paper towel and put them in a warm place.
Heat up a saucepan and add some vegetable oil. Fry the meat in the hot saucepan for 1 minute on one side, then flip the meat and cook it for 1 more minute on the other side. It should have a brown color. Remove it from the saucepan even if it is still red inside.
Fry the onions in the still hot saucepan. After a minute, add the a little stock and stir. The steam will separate the single onion leaves. Add the chili strips.
When the onions become slightly brown (~ 5 minutes), add the tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes, until the tomato begins to lose water. Continue to stir.
Put the meat back into the saucepan. Then add the vinegar, 4 tbs. of red wine and the soy sauce and cook for 1 minute. Add more stock as desired to get more sauce. Turn off the stove.
Sprinkle with some parsley and/or cilantro and oregano.
Serve the beef stir-fry with rice and fried potatoes (can stack them Jenga style!).