Food is nourishing for the soul! Expanding your palate and trying new cuisines is exciting for many of us.
Waiting for that dish to come out from the kitchen, new smells wafting towards your nose and ingredients you’ve never heard of before. There is nothing better.
As much as a trip to Peru sounds perfect right about now, not everyone can just drop their responsibilities and go on a food tour of Latin America.
Sometimes we have to settle for recreating these delicious dishes from our own homes instead.
In this article, learn how to make the popular Peruvian dish marisco saltado.
What Is Marisco Saltado?
Marisco saltado is also known as saltado de mariscos. ‘Marisco’ means shellfish in Spanish and ‘saltado’ translates to salted, so the meal is essentially a salted shellfish dish.
This is a popular Peruvian dish that consists of seafood such as scallops, shrimp, and squid as well as vegetables and french fries. The dish can also come with rice instead of french fries.
The Origins Of The Dish
If you’ve heard of ‘lomo saltado’ then you probably have a good idea of what to expect from a marisco saltado.
For those that don’t know, lomo saltado translates as ‘stir-fried beef’ and is another popular dish found throughout South America.
The dish was thought to have appeared in the first half of the twentieth century, created by Chinese chefs living in Peru.
Chinese immigrants began their journeys to Latin America in the 1800s to work on plantations and railways.
Naturally, Chinese restaurants began to appear as workers were missing the food of their homelands.
Using the ingredients available in Peru, the chefs began to fuse the flavors together with their traditional cooking techniques.
The popularity of the dish took Peru by storm and even spread to neighboring countries such as Ecuador and Bolivia.
Today, both of these dishes can be found in almost any Peruvian restaurant and across Latin America.
How To Make A Peruvian Seafood Stir Fry (Marisco Saltado)
Here is our guide on how to make the most authentic and delicious marisco saltado in the comfort of your own home. As with any dish, the ingredients are the most important part, so let’s start there.
The classic seafood ingredients included in the dish are scallops, octopus, and shrimp. As the name suggests, the main components are supposed to be shellfish.
Therefore, any combination of shellfish can be used to cater to your own tastes.
Sourcing the freshest possible seafood is vital in making a great meal. If you live near the coastline then you’ll probably know exactly where to go to find this.
Visiting your local fishmonger or counter in the grocery store is a good alternative.
Other seafood ideas include:
French Fries Or Rice
French fries or rice can be used to mix in with the seafood stir fry depending on what the individual would prefer.
Frozen french fries can be used as these are quick and easy to cook in the oven.
Making your own french fries from potatoes rather than frozen will allow you to get an even crispier and more delicious accompaniment to the meal.
It may seem daunting to make these from scratch but it’s actually super easy! It’s a bonus if you have a potato fry cutter.
Typical vegetables found in this type of dish include onions and tomatoes, which help to create a nice tomato-based flavor with the help of the hot sauce.
Any combination of vegetables can be added to the dish, but those that can cook quickly in a wok.
Vegetables that are associated with stir-fries are great as you know they’ll cook quickly and usually compliment seafood.
Other vegetables to use in the stir fry:
- Baby corn
- Sugar Snap peas
- Red bell peppers
- Shredded carrot
Apart from a dash of salt and pepper, there is one key seasoning used in this dish that adds heat.
Aji amarillo is a Peruvian yellow chili pepper that is grown all over the country. The chilis are ground into a bright yellow paste that is known for its fruit flavors and aromatics.
In terms of heat, the paste is considered as quite hot, rating between 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville Heat unit scale. The fruit flavors help to balance out the intensity of the chili.
Fresh chili or chili paste can be used to make this dish. A less spicy chili can be substituted for a milder and less intense flavor.
Red wine vinegar and soy sauce are added to the seafood mixture before serving. Soy sauce is a common ingredient to add to seafood dishes to add to the savory flavors of the dish and contribute to umami.
Here is our quick guide on how to prepare this delicious dish:
Step One: Put your fries in the oven or peel and chop potatoes to turn into french fries. Season with salt and pepper before baking in the oven for around 25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Step Two: Combine all the seafood and any fish you want to use with some salt and pepper in a bowl.
Step Three: Add some oil to a wok over a very high heat to saute the seafood. They can be split into sections to allow even cooking, which should take no more than 4 minutes.
Step Four: Add the vegetables and hot chili paste (or fresh chili peppers) to the wok and stir everything together with some garlic.
Step Five: Pour in the soy sauce and red wine vinegar before mixing everything together. Taste, and adjust the flavors to suit your own tastes.
Step Six: Take the wok off the heat, combine the seafood mixture with the fries (or rice if using) and sprinkle some freshly chopped cilantro over the top before serving.
It’s really that simple! Add as much or as little of each ingredient to adjust the recipe to your own tastes. Serve with freshly made guacamole or sour cream to combat the heat and finish off the dish nicely.
To cook this dish, we suggest using a wok to flash-cook everything. As woks are traditionally used to cook stir-fries, why change that now?
The shape of the wok enables everything to cook quickly and thoroughly using minimal oil which generally makes the dishes healthier.
Variations include ‘lomo saltado’ which is a beef version of the dish, any lean cut of beef will work well here. Other options include chicken or pork. Thinly slice the meat as much as possible for best results.
Using an authentic aji amarillo paste will give you the best results in terms of flavor. These can be found easily online and the label should indicate whether or not it is an authentic Peruvian-made paste.
The Bottom Line
Marisco saltado is a popular Peruvian dish that has an interesting history. There are a number of different versions of the dish, all which use various protein sources.
This fresh and spicy dish is the perfect quick meal to serve on any day of the week.