This iconic Peruvian dish is a childhood favorite of Chef Erik Ramirez. Chunks of beef tenderloin are stir-fried with fresh veggies in a satiny sauce, then drizzled with red pepper crema. Top it the traditional way, with French fries!
Crema de Rocoto: Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Peel and slice onion in half horizontally, then slice into strips. Slice garlic and add to the hot oil, along with the onions and a pinch of salt. Turn heat to high, stir to combine, and cook until caramelized, 5–8 minutes. Then remove from heat and let cool, 15 minutes.
Add cooled onion-garlic mixture to a blender; add evaporated milk, egg yolk, rocoto paste, and red pepper purée. Cover blender and blend on medium to combine, then increase to high and purée, 30 seconds. Taste for seasoning, and add salt to taste. Add optional huacatay leaves and purée again. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Makes about 1½ cups Crema de Rocoto. (Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.)
Slurry: In a small bowl, mix together 2 teaspoons water and cornstarch to make a slurry. In a small saucepan, add water and beef stock. Stir in the slurry and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling and thickened, cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Lomo Sauce: In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, red wine vinegar, beef stock, and oyster sauce. Set aside. Makes 1 cup Lomo Sauce. (Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week.)
Beef Tenderloin: Slice tenderloin into 1-inch chunks. Sprinkle with salt all over and set aside to rest, 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and slice red onion in half horizontally; then cut each half again vertically. Remove the center (save for another use), leaving the outer 3 or 4 layers. Cut each piece into three slices, separate the slices, and set aside in a bowl. Slice cherry tomatoes in half, and set aside in another bowl.Put on plastic gloves (optional), then discard seeds and stem of habanero. Julienne into very thin strips and add to the red onions. (If you're not wearing gloves, wash your hands after handling habanero.) Separate the white and light green parts of the scallions from the green tops. Trim away the roots and discard outer layer of scallion bottoms; cut into batons, and add to the onions. Thinly slice green tops and set aside to use as garnish. Peel and thinly slice garlic, and add to the onions.
Heat a wok or skillet over high heat and add oil. When smoking, add beef in an even layer. Sear on both sides, about 30 seconds per side. To the beef, add garlic, scallions, habanero, and onions. Add a splash of water, then shake and tilt the pan away from you, tossing the contents within the wok. (Optional: While tossing, allow the open flame to sear the contents. The flames give the dish a smoky char, but use caution, as cooking with an open flame can be dangerous in a home kitchen). Use a wooden spoon and continue tossing to stir-fry the beef until the onions are no longer raw but not fully cooked, 4–5 minutes. Add tomatoes, then stir and shake the wok. Then add ½ cup of Lomo Sauce and 2 tablespoons of the slurry. Stir in cilantro and continue cooking until the sauce has the consistency of a thin gravy, 2–3 minutes.
Assembly: Spoon stir-fry into a serving bowl. Drizzle a few tablespoons (or more!) of Crema de Rocoto on top and garnish with remaining scallions. Serve with optional French fries and white rice on the side.