In Barrio Chino (Lima, Peru) restaurants such as Wa Lok and Salon Capon Lomo Saltado simply means stir-fried beef. It is a direct translation from Spanish and the dish is the same as the stir-fried beef that’s on any Chinese menu in New York or Jamaica. Thin slices of stir-fried beef and onions (usually red onions in Peru, though) are served family style on a big plate. Scoop a pile of rice on your dish from a bowl served on the side and spoon the beef and juices on top of it.
Outside of the chifa in Peru the dish has been adapted to the national palate. Potatoes, straight from the Andes, have been added. So has ají amarillo. What a beautiful example of culinary fusion.
-2.2 lb beef tenderloin, sliced into thin strips
-3 red onions, peeled and cut in eight pieces
-1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded, and cut into wedges
-2.2 lb potatoes, peeled, cut for French fries
-4 fresh ají amarillo (fresh yellow chile), sliced into thin strips
-4 tomatoes cut in eighths
-2 Tbs chopped parsley
-2 Tbs soy sauce
-1 ¼ cups oil
-2 Tbs chopped cilantro
-½ Tsp lime juice
-2 cups cooked White Rice
1.) Heat ½ cup oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add beef and quickly sauté until the beef is seared and begins to brown. Remove the pan from heat and transfer beef to a plate. Save covered.
2.) Return pan to medium-high heat and add 1 ½ tablespoons oil. Add onions and sauté until edges are seared and they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add Red pepper and do the same.
3.) Add aji amarillo, tomatoes, parsley, salt, pepper, soy sauce and vinegar. Sauté until tomatoes have softened, about 2 minutes. Add beef and toss gently.
*In high end restaurants throughout Peru it is common at this point to pour about ¼ cup of Peruvian Pisco over the meat and to light. This tends to add a light, grapey aroma.
4.) Heat ¾ cups oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and sauté until browned and tender, about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towel.
5.) Plate rice in center of the serving dish. Add the beef, onions, peppers, and fries on and to each side of the rice. Garnish with fresh parsley and cilantro.
Makes 8 Servings.
*Note: The image above uses red and blue potatoes, though that was simply for effect. Cool, huh? Traditionally any white or yellow potato is used.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.