Saturday, June 06, 2009
I have been craving Saltado de Pollo from Inka Mama's recently so I made it at home several times now and love the recipes I've found. If you've never had Peruvian food this is one of my favorite dishes. Saltado is a Peruvian stir fry with a spicy kick to it. It's so good, but it's all in the Aji sauce (the green sauce usually found in the sqeeze bottles).
I've pieced several together to make it work. One of my biggest frustrations with stir frying chicken is my chicken tends to turn out dry so it finally dawned on me to brine the chicken breast. I've brined turkeys and chicken (with bones), but never breast meat. Duh! OMG, I will never make chicken again without brining it. The chicken came out so tender and moist and was a beautiful color (bizarre, I know, but apparently the sugars help to carmelize the surface giving it a nice golden brown color).
Brining Chicken Breast
Enough for four chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 8 cups water
- Pound the chicken breast to even it out (I put the chicken between layers of wax paper to eliminate a mess and use a large rolling pin)
- Dissolve the sugar and salt in hot water (I usually boil a few cups of water to dissolve. Once dissolved I put the salt/sugar water in a new bowl and add tons of ice to cool it down. The water must be cool before adding the chicken)
- Cover the bowl or transfer to a large ziplock bag and brine for 30 minutes (Time it well so you're ready to cook the chicken after the 30 minutes. You don't want to over brine the chicken)
Saltado de Pollo
- 1 lb of chicken breasts, sliced into strips about 1 1/2 inches long
- 1 large red onion, peeled and cut into eighths or wedges (separate the layers)
- 1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut for French fries or 1 package of frozen Yukon gold French fries (Regular size fries, not shoestring)
- 2 tsp Aji sauce (see recipe below)
- 3-4 firm tomatoes, cut into eighths (I've tried both Roma and beefsteak and I prefer the way beefsteak holds up)
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp balsalmic vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- juice of half a lemon
- salt to taste (I don't add any because the aji sauce and soy sauce have plenty, not to mention I use brined chicken)
- pepper to taste
- vegetable oil for stir-frying
- 4 servings rice
- The key with stir-fry is to start with all ingredients ready - cut and measured out - before you start cooking.
- Start the rice when you starting cutting up the chicken and let it stand covered until everything is ready. Cook the fries first and then do the stir-fry. I usually pop frozen fries in the oven while I'm stir-frying the chicken.
- Cook the rice
- Cook the french fries and set aside
- Heal the oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add chicken and stir-fry until chicken is cooked on all sides. Remove chicken and set aside. (The chicken cooks better when I stir-fry in small batches at a time. My pan turns into a black mess so I'll clean up or use another pan before I move on to the veggies)
- Lower heat to medium-high setting and add some oil to the pan. Add onions and saute until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes
- Add the aji, tomatoes, some of the parsley, soy sauce, balsalmic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook until tomatoes have softened, about 2 minutes. Then add the lemon juice.
- Add chicken and toss gently. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Add french fries and toss gently.
- Serve over rice and sprinkle with parlsey. I put the aji sauce in to a squeeze bottle and add more to my liking.
This stuff is delicious with bread or pretty much anything. It's so yummy
- 1/4 head of lettuce, torn into pieces (I've only used iceberg, but romaine is another choice. Iceberg will mellow out the spice)
- 3 jalapeno chiles, seeds and veins removed
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 5 green onions
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 5 garlic cloves or 1 tsp garlic (I prefer fresh garlic, but I love garlic so adjust to your taste)
- Put all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Add a little chicken broth (about 1/4 cup to get the ingredients to blend well).
I hope you make it because it is absolutely delicious and really easy to make.