International travel is slowly reopening as vaccination rates around the world begin to rise and the chances of vaccinated travelers inadvertently infecting someone with the Covid virus. To inspire your planning for a trip to Peru, try this beloved Peruvian dish. The recipe is adapted from one of Cusco’s best hotels, The JW Marriott El Convento Cusco.
Peru’s most famous dishes are ceviche and pisco sour, which are found all over the world. But if you have not yet been to Peru, it is unlikely that you have tried Peruvian lomo saltado. Peru has long been known for its fusion cuisine, and lomo saltado is another delicious example.
In short, lomo saltado is a Cantonese roast beef with a Peruvian twist. According to Peruvian chef Gaston Acurió, “It represents a fusion of three cultures: Inca, Asian and European.” Made with Asian techniques and with beef originally brought to Peru by the Spanish, it has Peruvian ingredients like aji amarillo (yellow-orange chili pepper) and adaptations to Peruvian flavor (such as adding tomato and serving with yellow potatoes that are resident in Peru).
“Lomo” refers to tenderloin-cut beef, though this dish can be made with any kind of steak. “Saltado” is an adaptation of “salteado” meaning “to jump” in Spanish (just as “sauté” is adapted from the French “sauter” meaning “to jump”). On a translated menu in Peru, you may see “salted dishes” – it refers to stir-fries rather than to dishes with added salt.
A more traditional Cantonese version of lomo saltado first appeared in a Peruvian cookbook in 1903. Peruvian chefs like those at JW Marriott El Convento Cusco have added their twist on it ever since.
Peru Tourism Website, www.peru.travel, has all the information that can help you plan your trip. Highlights not to be missed are exploring Lima on the coast and then going to the Andes to see the UNESCO ruins of Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, the city of Cusco and the highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca.
Once you have been to Machu Picchu and then accustomed to higher altitudes in the Sacred Valley, it is ideal to explore Cusco for a few days (especially to acclimatize further before heading to the high Lake Titicaca). Cusco has several historic sites and ruins, lots of cobbled streets to walk, lots of restaurants and cafes plus the excellent San Pedro market for local delicacies and crafts. Cusco is also a great place to base yourself on day trips to Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain), several nearby ruins, the circular terraces at Moray and the Mara salt mines.
Staying with JW Marriott El Convento Cusco is in a restored 16th-century convent centrally located near Cusco’s main square. If you are in a hurry with your altitude acclimatization, request one of the hotel’s oxygen – enriched rooms for a light sleep. Try the lomo saltado and other Peruvian dishes at the hotel Qespi Restaurant & Bar, which sources local ingredients from the San Pedro Market. Do not miss El Convento’s beautiful indoor pool and spaand save time for a cooking class too.
JW Marriott El Convento Cuscos lomo saltado
This recipe is adapted from JW Marriott El Convento Cusco. Ingredients for four servings:
- 12 ounces of beef (preferably tenderloin), cut into pieces
- garlic and cumin to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in two portions
- 5 oz purple onion, chopped
- 1-1 / 3 tablespoons chili pepper, preferably Peruvian aji amarillo, chopped (replace any hot chili pepper)
- 5 oz tomato, chopped
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2-1 / 2 tbsp Sillao (light soy sauce)
- 2-1 / 2 tablespoons dark beer
- 3 tablespoons diced butter
- 4 eggs (optional)
- Fresh coriander leaves, trimmed by stems
- Seasonal beef fillet to taste with garlic and cumin. In a hot wok or frying pan, add half of the oil and then seasoned beef. Let the meat brown on all sides. Then add vegetables (onion, chili, tomato) and stir the roast over high heat to smoke them a little.
- Add red wine vinegar to the beef mixture and stir. Mix soy sauce and black beer together, then stir the liquid into the beef mixture. Stir in cubes with butter.
- At the same time as the liquids are added to the beef, a separate pan is heated and the remaining oil is added. Fry four eggs, sun side up.
- Serve beef topped with a fried egg and sprinkled with coriander leaves. Traditional sides are boiled or fried yellow potatoes, rice mixed with white corn kernels and sliced banana fried with garlic.
- Note: As with most roasting recipes, you can customize this to your taste and available ingredients. For example, you can add peppers or snow peas or replace beer with oyster sauce. For a real taste of Peru, stir in a splash of Peru’s national drink – pisco – just before serving.