Tender Lomo Saltado Recipe

Peru is a particularly good example of a cultural melting pot, especially apparent in its cuisines. According to recipe developer Michelle McGlinn, lomo saltado is a perfect example of Peru's history and the Chinese-fusion Chifa cuisine. The Chinese immigrants transformed local ingredients like beef, potatoes, and a Peruvian pepper called aji amarillo into a traditional stir fry using soy sauce, vinegar, a hot wok, and white rice. It tastes distinctly Peruvian in the quiet spice of the peppers and sharp taste of red onion and tomatoes.

Lomo saltado is often confused as a stew, but by definition, it's quite the opposite. The ingredients are quickly seared on high heat, barely softening the vegetables in the 5-minute cook time. While all recipes differ, the technique is the same. It's saucy and tender, but not stewed, leading to bolder flavors and crunchier bites. In this recipe below, the beef is marinated in aji amarillo paste, soy sauce, and vinegar, then seared quickly with onions and tomatoes until just browned. It's tossed with french fries and served over rice for a filling meal bursting with flavor. If you haven't tried Peruvian food, this is the perfect place to start.

Gather the ingredients for lomo saltado

You will need beef for a traditional lomo saltado, though you can substitute mushrooms, tofu, or eggplant for a vegetarian version. Look for thin, tender cuts of beef that can be used for stir frying, like sirloin, strip, tri-tip, or even ribeye. If you're lucky, your grocery store might sell strips of beef labeled as "stir fry beef" – perfect for this recipe, and no slicing needed.

Next, you'll need rice vinegar, soy sauce, lime, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, and aji amarillo paste to season and marinate the beef. You can find aji amarillo paste in local Hispanic markets, most likely in the Peruvian aisle near canned and jarred peppers. If you can't find paste, you can also use whole peppers and brown them in the wok with the onions. If you're having trouble finding this particular pepper, just swap in bell peppers or habaneros for a little more heat.

You'll also need oil to coat the wok, red onion, tomatoes, French fries, and rice. The French fries and rice are both traditional for this recipe, but optional, and can be customized easily. You can use diced potatoes instead, potato wedges, or any cut of French fry, fresh or frozen. Want to make it even easier? Use leftover fries.

Marinate the beef

Marinating the beef is what is going to make this dish tender. The vinegar and lime juice tenderize the meat, and the soy sauce, peppers, garlic, and parsley will work to flavor the beef. The longer you marinate, the better, but you can also throw it together while you prep the other ingredients for a quick version, too. When cooking the beef, don't toss the marinade. Save all liquid for later, so the end result is juicy and saucy.

Stir frying lomo saltado

If you don't have a wok, you can use any heavy frying pan or cast-iron skillet. You'll be cooking on a pretty high heat, so use a pan that can handle it. Coat your wok or skillet in oil, then heat it up. It's important to use a neutral oil like canola here because olive oil will burn too quickly. You want it very hot — so hot that the oil will start smoking. Don't let the oil burn or smoke rapidly. Once you see wisps of smoke coming from the wok, add the beef.

Quickly push the beef around to sear, then remove it once it is just browned. Add the veggies and soften (the tomatoes will get mushy pretty fast, so add them last), then add the steak and any reserved liquids back in.

Toss in the fries and serve over rice

If you are using leftover french fries, toss them into the skillet cold and warm them through by mixing them into the stir fry. If you made french fries fresh and they are super-soft, you can also serve them alongside the beef without tossing. Serve the stir fry over sticky white rice and top with extra parsley and a squeeze of lime.

Lomo saltado is an easy win for weeknight dinners and a delicious introduction to Peruvian food. Want more Peruvian-inspired cuisine? Serve the beef with a Pisco sour, or try an easy shrimp ceviche. This dish is filling on its own (it has fries and rice, after all) but is also delicious paired with plantains and yuca fries. After all, who doesn't want to double up on the fries?

Tender Lomo Saltado Recipe
5 from 30 ratings
This tender lomo saltado will give you a flavorful taste of classic Peruvian cuisine.
Prep Time
Cook Time
lomo saltado on plate with rice
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 1 pound sirloin steak, cut into strips
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons aji amarillo paste
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 cups cooked french fries
Optional Ingredients
  • white rice, for serving
  • lime wedges, for serving
  1. Season the beef with salt and pepper.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, aji amarillo paste, lime juice, grated garlic, and 2 tablespoons of parsley. Once mixed, add the sirloin and massage into the beef until well coated. Marinate while preparing the other ingredients, or up to 8 hours.
  3. Once ready to cook, heat oil in a wok over medium high heat until wisps of smoke are visible. Remove the beef from the marinade using a slotted spoon, reserving any remaining marinade. Add the beef to the hot wok and sear until deeply browned, about 1 minute. Remove the beef using a slotted spoon.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion. Sear until slightly softened, tossing into the marinade left in the wok. Add the tomatoes and toss, cooking until soft. Add the steak and any remaining marinade back to the wok.
  5. Add the fries to the wok and toss to coat in sauce. Once vegetables are softened and fries are warm, remove from the heat.
  6. Serve over rice. Top with parsley and a squeeze of lime.
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