Lomo Saltado

I first encountered Lomo Saltado in Cuzco in Peru. In the fantastic food market there are stalls set out like a food court- what seems like several hundred school kitchen cooks all selling exactly the same thing for exactly the same price. I think you choose by finding the one that has space on the bench in front of the stall. Not knowing any better that is pretty much what we did. Some people might go for ceviche, many do, and I am assured it is amazing, but I don’t like fish. At all. So for me it was all about Lomo Saltado- Peruvian beef stir fry topped with your choice of avocado or a fried egg, plus rice and salad for the bargain price of about 90p. You will only need to eat once on Lomo Saltado day. Perfect carb loading for the Inca trail- that was my excuse anyway! Usually my food philosophy is quite anti-carb- no pasta, no rice, no bread, no potato.Whatever the reason, I find they make me feel bloated and a bit rubbish, although my body seems happy with carbs in vegetable forms such as cauliflower. This philosophy is impossible in Peru, the country that grows over 1000 types of potato and wants to include most of them in every meal plus sides of rice and plantains. I digress. Lomo Saltado! While searching through various paleo blog sites (useful because of the anti-grain arguments which means lots of none of the things I try to avoid) I found a recipe for Lomo Saltado on paleOMG (a website full of lovely and lively recipes that I will be using again and again, so take a look- for this one search under beef) and I immediately went to the supermarket to purchase all the ingredients. My version wasn’t totally paleo (from what I understand) because my local supermarket fails to stock coconut aminos for some reason. Fortunately, after a good google, I found out that coconut aminos are a paleo substitute for soy sauce. Next time I go to Waitrose I have no doubt I will find coconut aminos in their essential range, but until then soy sauce will have to do. I didn’t have garlic powder either, but I did have actual garlic, so I figured I would be ok. I didn’t make the aji either. There is a magimix food blender in the flat, but it is still in the box which is currently acting as a table and unpacking it seemed much more of an arse than just buying an avocado. I also don’t know what flank steak is (America?) so I used cheap as chips sandwich steak which added an authentic chewiness to the finished dish. If you like rice, have it with rice. If you are like me, try cauliflower rice. I missed out the sweet potato too because I forgot to buy one. Despite these bastardisations, it was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend it (and the original version). In fact, sod it. Don’t cook it. Go to Peru, hike the Inca trail (book months in advance, this is not for the impulsive) go to the market in Cuzco and sit on a massively uncomfortable wooden bench and get the school dinner lady of your choice to cook it for you. And celebrate your achievements with pisco sours- lots and lots of pisco sours. They help with the altitude…sort of.

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