My Life in Peru

An Expat Mom Shares Her Experiences with Peruvian Life, Travel and Food

Tallarin Saltado

Posted on | April 27, 2010 | 8 Comments

Tallarin Saltado
Image by Postlatino via Flickr

I”m used to eating US style – take for example, meat loaf.  When I cook meat loaf, one night I might make it with mashed potatoes and green beans.  Another time, I might make it with baked potato and carrots – or mac n cheese and broccoli.  It’s not usually the same meal every time.

But in Peru, it seems that when you cook a meal, it has certain side dishes that go with it.  The whole meal is sort of planned – and if you go to one restaurant and have seco de pollo, it’s gonna be the same in the restaurant next door.  There are occasional differences, but the lack of vegetable side dishes tends to limit the variety of meals that get served.  Despite the fact that Peru has hundreds of national dishes – more than just about any other country, in fact – I often feel like I’m eating the same meal over and over.

Because almost all of them come with a half a plate of rice.

I mean – a TON of rice.  With a chicken leg on top of it, and a couple slices of potato or sweet potato.  And maybe a little salad.  And despite having hundreds of main dishes,  each meal starts feeling the same.

So, when I first had tallarin saltado, I was thrilled.  A nice pasta dish, sauteed together with onions and tomatoes in soy sauce.  It’s a ‘fusion’ dish, created in the end of the 19th century by mixing Peruvian ingredients with the spices and cooking style of the Chinese immigrants who were flooding the country at the time.


  • 16 oz spaghetti noodles – boiled and drained (toss with a little oil to prevent sticking)
  • half pound of beef or chicken, cut into bite size cubes
  • 1 large red onion, cut in half then cut lengthwise in 1/4″  strips
  • 2 tomatoes,  cut in half, then each half cut in thin wedges
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 5 green onions – cut in half inch pieces
  • oil for stir-frying
  • about a teaspoon of thin strips of ginger – optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

This is a stir fry dish – salteado or saltado is equivalent to sauteed in English, and is used for dishes that are stir-fried.

  1. In a large frying pan or wok, stir-fry the meat or chicken in the oil for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the onion and tomato, and stir fry another minute.
  3. Add the vinegar, soy sauce and ginger – stir fry together 1 minute.
  4. Now put in the noodles and chopped chives, and mix everything together well, stir fry 1 or 2 minutes more.

Serve on large plates, garnish with a bit of parsley or a little more chopped chive.  If you like more spice, you can garnish with a bit of aji rocoto (as shown in this video).  I LOVE how this guy cooks – I wish I had his big old wok.

One other thing – you can switch this recipe up quite a bit – truth is, my kids won’t eat cooked onions OR tomatoes, so I make this with carrots and broccoli, more like a traditional stir fry.  It’s super good!

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8 Responses to “Tallarin Saltado”

  1. Dandelion
    April 29th, 2010 @ 12:20

    Hello Kelly :) I’m glad you like tallarín saltado!! .. because I’m Peruvian and I loove Peruvian cuisine 😉 Does your blog have an option to become a “follower”? It’s interesting for me to know how people from another countries see mine :)
    .-= Dandelion´s last blog ..Bad job =-.

  2. Kelly
    April 29th, 2010 @ 18:41

    Hi Dandelion –
    I’m glad you like my blog. 😀 I LOVE tallerines, saltado, verde o rojo!

    Up on the top right, there’s a link to click for the RSS feed. I’m going to be adding a newsletter sort of thing soon, so that people can get an email update, if they’d like, but I just haven’t gotten to it yet.

  3. Mariela
    June 14th, 2012 @ 16:10

    This is great!! Making it tonight!

  4. tim ramicone
    June 16th, 2012 @ 19:16

    I’M OLD NOW. I got to spend time in Lima 40 yrs.
    ago. As a GRINGO in Mexico, the time to re-embrace Peru tugs at my heart strings mightily.
    If not now,when?

  5. Kelly
    June 16th, 2012 @ 20:46

    “If not now, when?”


  6. Empire of Confusing Words and Cuisine in Cuzco - Cuzco Eats
    October 16th, 2012 @ 10:56

    […] cuisine has developed which includes the following main dishes: lomo saltado, pollo saltado, tallarín saltado, tallarines verdes, jalea, sudado, arroz chaufa, ceviche, and pollo a la […]

  7. Karina
    May 29th, 2013 @ 16:50

    Your assessment is completely wrong. But your not Peruvian and would not understand the culture and meaning of Peruvian food. Your biggest argument is what vegetable to add as a side. If you were not aware potatoes are a vegetables. American food does not begin to compare to Peruvian so perhaps you should stick to what you know and focus on your daily side vegetables.

  8. Kelly
    May 30th, 2013 @ 01:11

    It seems that you’ve misunderstood me entirely. There is no ‘biggest argument’ because I’m not arguing for or against anything, just stating what I miss in the food. I’ve not said anything against Peruvian food. I’m saying that as someone from a different culture, I’m accustomed to having different choices in my meals. I’m quite aware that the potato is a vegetable, but I’m accustomed to having a much larger variety of vegetables cooked in many different ways served with my food.

    Does that mean I think Peruvian food is bad? Nope, I love it and cook it and eat it all the time – I live in Peru, I’ve not got much of a choice. :) But sometimes, I like a little variety from the standard potato and rice, which is why I enjoy tallarin saltado so much (as well as tallarines verdes, another favorite of mine).

    Many Peruvian dishes are delicious, with complex flavors, but they aren’t any better or any worse than say, a jambalaya with andouille sausage or chicken fried steak with country gravy or even Chicago-style deep dish pizza.

    If you’re a Peruvian living in the US (or anywhere else outside of Peru), I’m sure there are Peruvian foods that you miss. I don’t understand at all why you would be angry at me because I sometimes miss foods I grew up with.

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    I got tired of life happening while I made other plans, so I quit my job and came to Peru. I live here with my Peruvian husband, two sons, three dogs and various other family members, depending on the weather.

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