As last week’s waffalosa turned out well, I thought that I would use the waffle iron for one more experimental twist on a classic recipe. One of my favorite dishes from Peru is Lomo Saltado, a meal that blends two cultures in one pot.
Lomo saltado is a stir-fry dish created by Chinese immigrants in Peru, combining sliced beef and soy sauce with Peruvian ingredients such as hot aji and sweet bell peppers. The sauce and juices from the meat seep into the fries and the steaming cup of rice that usually accompany the meal. Replacing the fries with quinoa “fries” keeps both traditional ingredients and the intent of the original dish intact. The accompaniments are meant to soak up the sauce, and the quinoa version accomplishes this just as well. Additionally, making the quinoa “fries” in a waffle iron is a healthier alternative to frying, while still retaining the crisp and crunch of regular fries.
Quinoa flour is the base for the waffle batter. As I couldn’t find quinoa flour in the large grocery stores, I ended up buying whole quinoa in the bulk produce section. I dry-toasted the grain first, following steps that I had learned from my mother, before blending small batches in the blender. Dry-toasting whole seeds removes the grain’s moisture and keeps the milled or blended flour fresh for longer. It also prevents pesky bugs from settling into the ground flour.
Quinoa – 2 cups
Eggs – 2, lightly beaten
Milk – 1 cup, warmed
Butter – 1 ½ tbsp, room temperature
Baking powder – 1 ½ tsp
- Heat a wok or pan to high heat. Add the whole quinoa and dry-toast it, tossing lightly with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring, until the quinoa seeds are hot to the touch. Remove and let the quinoa grains cool.
- In a blender, add ¾ cup of the toasted quinoa. Blend, intermittently tapping the sides of the blender, so that all the grains are mixed equally for fine flour. Remove and add a new batch, and repeat until all the quinoa grain is ground into flour.
- Keep aside until it is cool. Sieve the flour.
- Add baking powder to the flour and mix together.
- Mix the eggs, milk, and butter together.
- Combine the egg mixture with the flour. Add water to get to a pouring consistency.
- Heat the waffle iron according to the instructions.
- When the waffle iron is ready, pour the batter over the pan, until is completely covered.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove and let the quinoa waffle cool. Cut the quinoa waffle along the lines into three strips. Make as many waffles for the “fries” as needed. Keep aside.
Beef tenderloin – 1 lb, cut into thin strips
Oil – 2 tbsp
Red onion – 1 medium, cut finely lengthwise
Garlic cloves – 5, finely chopped
Chili – 3, sliced lengthwise (de-seeded if you don’t want the chili heat)
Red bell pepper – 1, cut into thin strips
Oregano – 1 ½ tsp
Tomato – 1 medium, cut into chunks
Soy sauce (light) – 2-2½ tbsp
White wine vinegar – 1 tbsp
Parsley – 2 sprigs
Salt and pepper – to taste
- Heat the oil in a wok
- Add the beef strips and stir-fry for a minute, until browned all over. Remove and keep aside in a bowl.
- In the same oil, add the onion slices and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until they are transparent.
- Add the garlic, half the red bell pepper strips, oregano, chili pepper, and tomatoes.
- Add the soy sauce and white vinegar, and mix.
- Sauté for about 3 minutes, until the bell peppers lose their crunch.
- Add back the meat and the juice from the pan and heat through.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with parsley and remaining red pepper strips.
- Tuck the quinoa “fries” under the meat and vegetables. Serve immediately.