Lomo saltado is a traditional Peruvian stir-fry that you can whip up in a hurry, and for a classic recipe, we turned to Los Angeles chef Ricardo Zarate from Rosaliné restaurant. “When I’m having a rough day, lomo saltado is still the comfort food dish that does it for me. The best versions taste like a big, warm and cozy salad. You get a little crunchiness, but also something satisfying in your belly,” he shared.
To get your stir-fry just right, here are some tips straight from the chef!
- Be prepared. Prep your ingredients ahead of time, so everything is ready to grab when you need it.
- Turn up the heat. A hot pan is the key to locking in flavor in less than two minutes. Unless you have a giant wok, don’t make more than 2 servings at once, because an overpacked wok causes the ingredients to steam, not fry.
- Timing is key. Start with the “dry” ingredients like meat and firm veggies, and add softer vegetables (like tomatoes) at the end so they don’t melt into the sauce.
- Trust your nose. Recipe cooking times only take you so far. When it’s ready, the stir-fry should smell aromatic.
And as for the secret sauce, Chef Zarate calls it Peruvian ketchup. The recipe makes a generous ¾ cup, so you’ll have extra to serve on roasted potatoes, grilled meats, and more. Pick up the aji amarillo paste at specialty markets—it’s made from a bright orange chile with just the right amount of heat.
Lomo Saltado: Peruvian Beef Stir-Fry
Serving Size: 2 servings
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
For the Saltado Sauce:
2 tablespoons finely zested garlic
2 tablespoons finely zested ginger
1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste, store-bought or homemade
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce or 1 ½ tablespoons tamari
5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
For the Lomo Saltado:
1 cup baby fingerlings, roughly chopped potatoes, or 1 ½ cups of rice
8 to 10 ounces beef tenderloin, thinly sliced into 2-inch long strips
Freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon puréed or minced garlic
2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil
½ medium red onion, halved from stem to root end
1 ripe tomato
1 ½ tablespoons Saltado Sauce (recipe follows)
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
3 to 4 sprigs fresh cilantro
Make the Saltado Sauce:
Shake up all of the ingredients in a small jar, or stir them together in another storage container. Cover and refrigerate the sauce for up to 1 week.
Make the Lomo Saltado:
To prepare the potatoes, either roast baby fingerlings, or make homemade french fries. If using rice, you can opt for leftovers, or make your favorite style of white or brown rice.
Next, prep all of your other ingredients, so they’re ready—this dish cooks quickly. (Keep each in a separate pile.) Sprinkle the beef lightly with the salt and pepper and rub the garlic all over the meat with your hands. Put the red onion cut side down, lengthwise on a work surface. Slice off both ends, then slice the onion into lengthwise strips about ⅛-inch thick, moving the knife at a slight angle as you work around the onion globe. Your knife should be almost parallel to the cutting board along the sides of the onion and upright at the top. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and cut each half into several large, chunky wedges. Finely chop the scallions, including about halfway up the green stalk, or chop them roughly for more texture, if you’d like. Finely chop the cilantro leaves and top-half of the stems. Have your saltado and soy sauces measured and ready.
Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat until hot—a good 2 minutes. Pour in the oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan and heat the oil for 2 to 3 minutes, until very hot. The oil shouldn't be smoking, but close to it. Swirl the oil around the pan, then toss in the beef and quickly sear both sides for a few seconds each until it begins to brown, about 30 seconds total. Add the onion and shake the pan or use tongs to flip them a few times, then add the tomatoes right away. Fry the saltado until the edges of the onions color in a few spots and the tomatoes barely begin to soften, about 30 seconds. The total cooking time shouldn’t be more than 90 seconds at this point.
Immediately drizzle the saltado and soy sauces along the edges of the wok or pan, not on top of the stir-fry ingredients. You should smell the sauces caramelizing. Scatter the scallions and cilantro on top of the stir-fry and toss everything together one more time. Taste and add another drizzle of soy sauce, if you’d like. The saltado should be really juicy, with big flavors that the potatoes or rice can sop up.
Spoon the lomo saltado straight out of the pan into serving bowls. Pile the potatoes on top or serve the rice alongside.
Recipes from The Fire of Peru: Recipes and Stories From My Peruvian Kitchen by Ricardo Zarate. Reprinted with permission from Ricardo Zarate.