Right now, my boyfriend is dividing his time between Southern California and Nevada while building up his law practice. As a result, I find myself in Los Angeles pretty frequently, and we almost always try a new restaurant when I’m in town. One of the restaurants we keep going back to, though, is Inka Wasi, a little Peruvian joint up the hill in Palos Verdes. We often stop there for lunch after hiking around PV or visiting one of the museums.
One of the dishes I enjoy at Inka Wasi is Lomo Saltado — a stir fry with meat, veggies, and French fries. My sister is the taste-tester for about 90 percent of the dishes I make for this blog, and I knew she would like the combination of meat and her favorite fried potato dish.
I searched a bunch of different recipes and ended up merging two of the recipes I found that I thought might approximate what I eat in LA. (Edible Sarasota and Immaculate Bites). According to Wikipedia (which may or may not be accurate), lomo saltado was the result of Chinese influence on Peruvian cuisine, hence the use of soy sauce in the ingredients.
Two of the more unique ingredients in this dish were aji amarillo and pisco brandy. I already happened to have some pisco brandy on hand, due to my boyfriend’s love of pisco sours. If you don’t have any lying around your liquor cabinet, I haven’t had any trouble finding it at a larger liquor store. There’s enough hipsters around now to find unique alcohol ingredients in most cities.
The aji amarillo, I ordered from Amazon rather than try to find some around town. I sampled a bit, and found it to be only mildly spicy. I actually used a bit more than the suggested tablespoon because I like my food hot!
I’m not sure if it’s cheating, but I opted for frozen French fries rather than chopping up some potatoes. I chose Alexia because the ingredient list was short and identifiable (potatoes, oil, sea salt, apple juice for browning).
This is a truly colorful dish, with red onions, green peppers, and bright red tomatoes. I was anxious to see how it would turn out.
I served the lomo saltado with rice. As expected, my sister did like the French fry and meat combination. While I did enjoy this recipe, it still seemed like there was a missing flavor. I’ll have to revisit Inka Wasi next time in LA and try to figure it out. Until then, this was a worthy substitute.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more if needed
- 5 ounces beef tenderloin, sliced
- cumin, to taste
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons pisco brandy
- ½ large red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon yellow chili paste (aji amarillo), or to taste (I definitely did more)
- ½ large tomato, seeded, halved, and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tsp fish or oyster sauce
- 1 pound bag frozen French fries
- Cilantro, if you don’t think it’s disgusting like I do
- Green onions
Preheat oven and bake fries according to packaging instructions. Prepare and gather all ingredients needed. Combine the ingredients for sauce: oyster or fish sauce, soy sauce, lemon, and aji amarillo paste. Set aside. Heat canola oil in skillet or wok over medium to high heat. Season the beef strips with salt and saute the beef in skillet with the pisco until the meat is browned and the juices release. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. Next, add the onions and green pepper. Once soft, add the tomatoes, and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Finally, add the cooked fries and the sauce and cook until the flavors combine. Remove from the heat and mix in the green onion and cilantro (if using… gross). Serve with white rice.