Pollo Saltado is a quick chicken stir fry with familiar Asian flavors, along with a unique South American twist.
This tasty Peruvian dish features tender chicken, crisp peppers and onions, and a stir fry sauce enhanced by Aji Amarillo pepper paste. Oh, did I mention you eat it with French fries?
We’ve noticed a lot more Peruvian restaurants popping up lately. Why not? The food is absolutely amazing!
But have you tried their stir fry? If not, now is the time!
Why You’ll Love this Stir Fry Dish
- It’s Quick and Easy: As with just about all stir fry recipes, this one comes together in a flash.
- Explosion of Flavors: Along with your stir fry basics, this Peruvian dish includes some unique ingredients that take it to top notch.
- Vibrant Colors: With a trio of different colored bell peppers, this dish is as pretty as it is tasty.
- Plenty of Nutrition: With protein from lean chicken breast and an array of vitamins and minerals from peppers and tomatoes, it’s a meal you can feel good about eating.
- Customizable: Whether you like your dish spicier or prefer more veggies, this recipe is easily customizable to suit your taste preferences.
What Makes Peruvian Stir Fry Different?
Peruvian stir fry stands out due to its unique fusion of Peruvian and Asian culinary traditions. This fusion, known as Chifa cuisine in Peru, combines traditional South American ingredients, such as Aji Amarillo (a spicy and fruity Peruvian chili pepper) and potatoes (often served as French fries), with Asian cooking techniques and flavors, especially the use of soy sauce and vinegar.
The cooking style in Peruvian stir fry also differs slightly. While it employs the Asian stir-fry technique, the meat is often marinated in local spices and herbs, a practice more common in South American cooking.
The serving style is distinctive too, with the dish often presented with both rice and French fries, a combination that’s rare in other cuisines but standard in Peruvian stir fry.
For a complete list, along with exact measurements, see the recipe card at the end of the post. Here are the main things you’re going to need to make Pollo Saltado:
- Chicken – Typically our preferred cut is thigh, but for this quick stir fry boneless skinless breast works great. Thinly slice it against the grain.
- Aji Amarillo Paste – This is a crucial ingredient for authentic Peruvian flavor. Aji Amarillo is a yellow Peruvian chili with a unique, fruity flavor and medium heat. If it’s not available locally (check specialty grocery stores), you can order it online.
- Soy Sauce – Used in both the marinade and sauce. It’s a nod to the Asian influence in Peruvian cuisine.
- Vinegar – A splash of vinegar adds acidity.
- Bell Peppers and Red Onion – For the veggie factor. The traditional use of red onion is for its sharper, more intense flavor compared to other varieties. We like a mix of different colored bell peppers.
- Garlic and Ginger – Aromatics standard in any stir fry.
- Cumin and Oregano – These spices are key to marinating the chicken, and help set it apart from conventional Asian stir fry.
- French Fries – A unique element in Pollo Saltado. Adding fries directly into the stir fry is common, but we prefer to keep them separate to maintain the crispiness.
- Rice – Served as a base, it soaks up the flavorful sauce.
How to Make Pollo Saltado
1. Marinate the Chicken: Toss chicken slices with soy sauce, cumin, oregano and pepper. Allow to marinate while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
2. Make the Stir Fry Sauce: Combine Aji Amarillo paste, soy sauce, vinegar, and a dash of salt in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Brown the Chicken: Give the chicken a quick, high-heat, sear until browned on both sides. Work in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Remove to a plate.
4. Stir Fry Veggies: Add the peppers and onion and give a quick stir fry, just until they start to soften just a bit. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 30 seconds.
5. Finish the Stir Fry: Return the chicken back into the pan along with tomatoes.
Stir in the stir fry sauce and mix everything well for a minute.
6. Serve: Garnish with cilantro and serve with fresh white rice and French fries.
- Different Proteins: You can follow the same recipe with beef (Lomo Saltado), or you can also try it with other proteins like pork, shrimp, or even tofu for a vegetarian option.
- Vary the Vegetables: Experiment with different vegetables like zucchini, mushrooms, or broccoli. This not only adds nutritional variety but also different textures and flavors.
- Spice Level Adjustments: Adjust the heat by varying the amount of Aji Amarillo paste.
- Quinoa Instead of Rice: For a healthier twist, serve the stir fry over quinoa instead of rice. Quinoa is a staple in Peruvian cuisine and adds a nutty flavor to the dish.
- Sweet Potato Fries: Replace traditional French fries with Sweet Potato Fries for a sweeter, more nutritious alternative.
Leftovers and Storage
The leftover stir fry can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat it in the microwave, or on stovetop in a lightly greased skillet over medium-high heat.
We recommend making the fries fresh. Leftover fries are no fun at all.
Tips for the BEST Peruvian Chicken Stir Fry
- Proper Cutting Technique: Slice the chicken and vegetables uniformly to ensure even cooking. Thin, even slices of chicken are particularly important for stir fry.
- Marinate the Chicken: Allow sufficient time for the chicken to marinate. This not only tenderizes the meat but also infuses it with the rich flavors of soy sauce, cumin, and other spices.
- High Heat Cooking: Stir-frying requires cooking at high heat to sear the meat and vegetables quickly. This retains their texture and flavor. Ensure your pan is hot before adding the ingredients.
- Cook in Batches: To avoid overcrowding the pan and steaming the ingredients instead of searing them, cook the chicken in batches. This ensures each piece is perfectly browned and not overcooked.
- Serve Immediately: Stir-fries are best served hot, right off the stove. The textures and flavors are most vibrant when fresh.
Pollo Saltado, a stir fry that’s both familiar and all new at the same time. If you try this recipe, we’d love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a review and share your experience.
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Pollo Saltado, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced against the grain
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp black pepper
Pollo Saltado Sauce
- 1.5 Tbsp Aji Amarillo paste
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp vinegar
- dash of salt
- 3-4 Tbsp oil, divided
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- ½ red bell pepper, sliced into strips
- ½ green bell pepper, sliced into strips
- ½ yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp ginger, finely chopped
- 1.5 medium tomatoes, sliced
- fried or baked French fries
- cooked rice
- cilantro for garnish
- Marinate the chicken with soy sauce, cumin, oregano and pepper in a bowl while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Make the stir fry sauce by mixing Aji Amarillo paste, 3 Tbsp soy sauce, vinegar and a dash of salt. Set aside.
- Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a large skillet or a wok over high heat. Add the chicken strips and cook, stir frying until browned and seared, 3-4 minutes. Do not overcrowd pan and if needed sear the chicken in batches. Remove onto a plate and set aside.
- In the same pan, (add more oil if needed) stir fry sliced onions and bell peppers for a couple of minutes or until they start turning just a little soft. Add in ginger and garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds.
- Return the chicken back into the pan along with tomato slices. Stir in the stir fry sauce and mix everything well for a minute.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve immediately over rice and French fries. (Alternately, you can mix the French fries into the stir fry)
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 464Total Fat 32gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 27gCholesterol 96mgSodium 764mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 37g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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