Posted on | April 27, 2010 | 8 Comments
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.
- In a large frying pan or wok, stir-fry the meat or chicken in the oil for about 2 minutes.
- Add the onion and tomato, and stir fry another minute.
- Add the vinegar, soy sauce and ginger – stir fry together 1 minute.
- 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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