Peru Aji Chili

Lomo Saltado Recipe
(gringa version)

Your Guide: Catherine Criolla
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Lomo Saltado is a delicious and distinctively Peruvian dish with many variations. Peruvians generally have very strong feelings about how this dish should be prepared and about which ingredients should or should not be included.  That said, if cooked properly, many of the variations are very tasty. 

Lomo Saltado is basically a stir-fry that becomes a one-dish meal, although it requires separate cooking of rice, french fries, and the stir-fried meat and vegetables.  Many Americans, especially in the post-Atkins diet era, look askance at the inclusion of both rice and potatoes in one dish, but give it a chance, as it really is delicious.  The potatoes are for flavor (yes, flavor – Peruvian potatoes have real flavor!) while the rice is needed to soak up the juices. 

I’ve tried cooking Lomo Saltado from different recipes and my favorite is one that I’ve modified from the Spanish version of the Yanuq website (if you read Spanish, check out the range of comments at the bottom).  This serves 4 or 5 people. Preparation of the ingredients will take you 30-40 minutes, but the cooking time is quite short – maybe

The ingredients: 

  • 1 generous pound of beef tenderloin, sliced into strips about 1 ½ inches long (I like the cut sold as tenderloin tips or filet tips as it’s often available at a reasonable price)
  • 2 small or one large onion, peeled and cut into eighths or strips
  • 1 pound flavorful potatoes, peeled and cut for French fries or – and here’s where I really cheat in a way unimaginable to most Peruvians – 1 package frozen Yukon gold French fries.  I have also used a wonderful package of frozen French fries that included Yukon gold and Peruvian blue potatoes.
  • 1-2 fresh aji amarillo, (seeded, deviened, sliced into thin strips about 1 inch long or so) or ½ to 2 teaspoons aji puree from a jar.  The quantity of puree will depend on how spicy you like your lomo saltado.  Note that the puree seeps into the whole dish while the fresh chiles tend to have a more subtle effect.  This is an effect I love, but not everyone agrees, so be aware of this in case you’re feeding anyone that really doesn’t like food with any spice at all to it. When you use fresh chiles they can be eaten or not depending on whether people like them. 
  • 3-4 ripe Italian tomatoes, cut into eighths
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp balsamic (or other) vinegar
  • 2 tbsp mild soy sauce
  • juice of 1 Peruvian lemon (or key lime, or ½ a mild lemon such as a Meyer lemon)
  • salt to taste (careful, because soy sauce provides some)
  • pepper to taste
  • vegetable oil for stir-frying (I usually use canola oil)
  • good quality Peruvian pisco
  • 4 servings rice

Cooking Instructions:

As with any stir-fry recipe, the first key is to have all the ingredients ready — cut and measured out — before you start cooking.  I put the rice on when I start cutting up the meat, and then let it stand covered until everything is ready, cook the fries first and then do the stir-fry. 

Cook the rice (if using a rice cooker, set it to be ready as the whole dish is finished, if cooking in a pot, cook and then let stand while cooking the rest of the dish)

Cook french fries, salt them and set aside (I keep then in the oven on ‘warm’).  Note:  freshly made french fries cooked in oil are delicious here, but cook the frozen kind in the oven with some oil sprinkled on for flavor, and time it so that they are ready as the rest of the dish is ready.  This is quite sacrilegious to purists and it is this more than anything that makes this a gringa version of this recipe…

Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat.  Add the beef and stir-fry until beef is seared on all sides. Remove beef (and juices) from pan and set aside.

Lower heat to medium-high setting and add some fresh oil to the pan. Add onions and sauté until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes.

Add the aji, tomatoes, some of the parsley, soy sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper. Cook until tomatoes have softened, about 2 minutes, add the lemon juice. NOTE:  if I’m using pureed aji from a jar I start with a small amount at time I add the lemon juice and then adjust after adding the beef.

Add beef and toss gently.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Add french fries and toss gently.

Optional from Yanuq: “For a special taste pour ¼ cup Pisco over simmering food and ignite.”  This is kind of fun.

To serve: 
Place a serving of rice on one side of a plate, and place a serving of the Lomo mixture on the other side of the plate.  Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and serve. 


  1. For those that don’t like any spice to their food, try this without the aji.  You can also simplify by skipping the soy sauce, lemon, parsley, pisco (the pisco is rarely seen in most recipes) and use a simple wine or cider vinegar.  
  2. The soy sauce is sometimes omitted, and sometimes replaced with either more vinegar or red wine.  In many of these recipes, oregano and sometimes cumin are included (lemon, parsley, pisco are omitted)
  3. For a more recognizably oriental flavor, skip the tomatoes and parsley.  As you are cooking the onions, add some bell pepper (cut into short strips) and then add some finely chopped garlic.  Add some freshly grated ginger along with the soy sauce.  You can also add some chopped green onions (and even a bit of sugar and/or some sesame oil).  
  4. Add other vegetables that you find compatible with the flavors.  Green beans can work well, for example.
  5. Other variations (especially those calling for less tender beef) sometimes call for marinating the beef for some time before cooking it (you can do this in a soy sauce mixed with some of the other ingredients; or, in vinegar with cumin and garlic).   


  1. If you don’t follow the recipe exactly, make sure you use combinations of ingredients that you know go well together  - experiment if you like
  2. You will find that many of the recipes for Lomo Saltado published in English in both cookbooks and on the web call for jalepeño peppers.  Please note jalepeños have a completely different flavor than aji amarillo and I do not recommend using them.  If you do use them, be sure to omit the soy sauce and to use a plain vinegar.

Links to other Lomo Saltado Recipes with pictures:

  • Lomo Saltado showing the dish with rice on on side
  • Lomo Saltado showing the dish over rice
  • Click on the camera icon of the Yanuq Lomo Saltado page to see the dish presented with rice in the center and potatoes kept separate.
  • Video of Chef Lucho Flores making “Lomo Saltado Especial” on youtube

Contact me or leave a message on the “blather” page if you have any questions or comments. Buen provecho! (enjoy)

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