What Are Lomo Saltado Drunken Noodles?
At the intersection of meat, carbs and salt is the lomo saltado drunken noodles (extremely healthy for you btw). Tender ribeye steak is marinated in Asian-Peruvian spices and flash wok fried with homemade french fries, tomatoes, red onions, thai basil leaves and wide rice noodles – culminating in a sweet, salty and wildly flavorful dish.
Where’d it come from?
This dish is where Peru meets Thailand. Two of my favorite Thai and Peruvian restaurants are both located in my current city of Fountain Valley. Though a quiet and small suburban area, Fountain Valley is home to a number of great restaurants with new ones opening every day.
Thai by Sushi on Fire is where I discovered drunken noodles. I wasn’t in the mood for pad thai or pad see ew so I took a slight detour and ordered the drunken noodles. Here they make the dish with extra wide noodles (about 1” wide) and include some of my favorite things such spicy chili sauce and Thai basil leaves. I became addicted.
About 7 minutes away is a restaurant called Casa Inka. It was the first place I had Peruvian food and I’ve yet to find a better spot for lomo saltado – tender beef flambéed and served over a bed of rice. Sometimes I’ll even opt for the seafood saltado which subs out the beef for squid, mussels and baby scallops. Pair that with some bread dipped in aji verde sauce and a pisco sour and you’ve got yourself a grand old time.
Origins of the Lomo Saltado
The Lomo Saltado is a fusion dish in and of itself. Originally termed as lomito de vaca, lomito de chorrillana or lomito saltado, the name literally translates to “jumping beef” in reference to the meat jumping while being stir-fried. Most accounts credit the origin of the dish to Chinese-Cantonese influences as a result of the Chinese migration to Peru as indentured servants in the mid 19th century. You can now find the lomo saltado on nearly every menu in national restaurants in Peru.
Origins of Drunken Noodles
Drunken Noodles (or “Pad Kee Mao”) is a dish native to central Thailand. Similar to lomo saltado, the dish was influenced by the Chinese who lived in Thailand and Laos. According to the very reliable Wikipedia, there are three theories of how the dish got its name. The first theory is based on the Chinese addition of rice wine as an ingredient, which was not previously used in the original Thai recipe. The second pays tribute to the inebriated inventor by suggesting that the dish was a product of a drunken culinary creation. Making a slight variation to the second theory, a final theory credits the dish to a side dish that was cooked specifically to complement alcohol drinking. Whatever the case, I can assure you getting drunk will only make this dish taste better.
How’s it made?
Considering the Asian influences in both the lomo saltado and drunken noodles, the flavors in this dish blended beautifully. You get the salty, sweet and tangy flavors from the oyster sauce, fish sauce, sweet and regular soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sriracha. The cumin and jalapenos add a nice latin touch – and the Thai basil creates a lovely aroma that makes the noodles that much more delicious. After making this dish, my boyfriend and I both came back for seconds...and I came back for fifths.
Makes: 6 servings | Passive prep time: 1 hour | Active prep/cook time: 30 minutes
1.5 lbs of ribeye (or any cut of your choosing) - cut into strips
32 oz of fresh rice noodles (or dry noodles)
1 cup of sliced red onions
2 tomatoes - cut into wedges
1 jalapeno - cut into strips
2 russet potatoes
⅓ cup beef broth
3 tbs of crushed garlic
1 tsp of salt
4 tbs rice wine vinegar
4 tbs sweet soy sauce
4 tbs soy sauce
4 tbs canola oil
1.5 tsp cumin
2 tbs oyster sauce
3 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp sriracha
16 Thai basil leaves
Peel and cut potatoes into french fry shape. Place in a bowl with room temperature water for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, combine garlic and salt in a bowl and crush it into a paste-like texture. Combine with remaining marinade ingredients. Place onions in small ziploc bag with 3 tbs of marinade. Place steak in a large ziploc bag with half of the remaining marinade (set the rest of the marinade aside). Refrigerate the bags for 1 hour.
If you purchased dry noodles, be sure you make them according to the instructions on the packaging before moving forward. If you purchased fresh noodles, pull them apart so the noodles are separated.
Heat a pan or pot with ¼ inch of oil on high. Strain water from potatoes and pat completely dry. Shallow fry and flip as needed until fries are browned and crispy. Set aside.
Heat wok with oil on medium heat. Pull steak from marinade and cook until browned. Add 2 scrambled eggs until they are barely set. Add tomatoes and simmer for 2 minutes. Set steak mix aside.
Heat more oil in the wok and add noodles, onions with the marinade, and remaining marinade and mix together carefully for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned / crisp (try not to break the noodles).
Add steak mix back into the wok and combine with noodles. Then stir in beef broth and cook for 1.5 minutes.
Add french fries and heat for 1 minute and serve.