Ni chi fan (“Have you eaten yet?”). A uniquely Peruvian cuisine, chifa is a culinary tradition based on Cantonese elements fused with Peruvian ingredients and traditions. Chinese immigrants flocked to Peru, mostly from Guangdong (Canton) in the late 1800s and early 1900s. As the Chinese residents of Peru, mainly in the capital city of Lima, began to progress economically, they started to import a limited amount of ingredients and seeds to grow the vegetables of their homeland. Even with that, a lack of ingredients kept them from preparing dishes they craved.
By 1920, the first of many Chinese restaurants, called chifas, opened in Lima. This fusion of Peruvian and Chinese ingredients, opened the eyes of Lima residents and they fell in love with the bittersweet sauces, chaufa rice (fried rice), soups, and other dishes from this ancient cuisine. Today, there is something like 6,000 chifa restaurants in the city of Lima alone.
Lomo Saltado – Peruvian Beef Stir-Fry With French Fries
- Wok or heavy bottomed skillet
- Rice maker or Instant Pot
- 1 lb Beef tenderloin, skirt or another tender, quick cooking steak.
- ¼ cup Peanut or vegetable oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 medium Red onion, cut into ½-inch slices
- 4 Scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1 Aji amarillo or jalapeno chili pepper, seeded, stemmed, and sliced lengthwise into strips
- 2 medium Plum tomatoes, seeded & cut into 6 wedges each
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 inch Ginger root, peeled and minced
- 1½ tbsp Soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp Fresh cilantro, minced
- Ground black pepper
- 2 cups White rice, cooked
- 1 lb Frozen French fries, baked
- Prepare Ingredients – Cut beef across grain into ½-inch slices and season all over with salt. Make individual small bowls (or partition on a plate) for scallions, red onion, peppers, tomatoes, garlic and ginger, soy sauce and vinegar combined. Cook rice and French fries.
- Cook Meat – Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok or skillet over high heat until heavily smoking. Spread ⅓ of the meat slices across bottom so they are evenly spaced. Cook about 1 minute on 1 side to sear. Flip meat and cook 30 seconds more. Remove to a plate and let wok get hot again, adding a little oil if necessary. Repeat process 2 more times. Wipe wok clean with paper towels.
- Cook Dish – Return wok to high heat and add 1 tbsp oil. Add onion in 2 batches and brown on 1 side for 30 seconds and then toss a few times and remove to bowl with cooked meat. Add 1 tbsp oil and then scallion. Cook 30 seconds without turning. Move to the side. Add peppers for 30 seconds and move to side with scallions. Add tomatoes and let the sear on 1 side for 30 seconds. Mix vegetables in pan together and add garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds, then add soy sauce and vinegar and toss to combine. Return meat, juices, and onions to pan. Toss in cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.
- Serve – Toss fries in wok or serve separately. Spoon onto plates with a mound of rice and serve hot.
- It’s important not to crowd individual ingredients in pan so that they sear and not steam.
- A small slivered red or yellow bell pepper may be added at the same time as the chili pepper.