Grace Young’s Chinese Trinidadian Stir-Fried Shrimp with Rum

published Aug 6, 2020
Chinese Trinidadian Stir-Fried Shrimp with Rum
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Chinese Trinidadian Stir-Fried Shrimp with Rum
Credit: Steven Mark Needham

When I was in Trinidad, Winnie Lee Lum showed me how to make this superb dish, which beautifully demonstrates the convergence of Chinese and Trinidadian cooking traditions. Of course, the taste was extraordinary because Lee Lum only cooks with fresh local shrimp that her husband, Tony, purchases for her. Before cooking, she rinses the shrimp in lime juice, a Trinidadian cooking practice said to remove the “fishy” taste. She prefers the Chinese custom of cooking the shrimp in the shell to protect the shrimp’s succulence and flavor. Rather than rice wine, Lee Lum insists on using dark Jamaican-style rum; according to her, white rum is too harsh for cooking. This is one of the easiest dishes to stir-fry, and it is guaranteed to satisfy.

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Chinese Trinidadian Stir-Fried Shrimp with Rum

Serves 2 to 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1 pound

    large shrimp

  • Juice of 1/2 lime

  • 3 tablespoons


  • 3 tablespoons

    dark Jamaican rum

  • 2 teaspoons

    soy sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground white pepper

  • 2 tablespoons

    peanut or vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon

    minced garlic

  • 1 tablespoon

    minced ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon


  • 1

    medium ripe tomato, cut into thin wedges

  • 1

    large green bell pepper, cut into thin strips

  • 1

    small onion, cut into thin wedges

  • 1 tablespoon

    finely chopped cilantro


  1. Using kitchen shears, cut through the shrimp shells two-thirds of the length down the back of the shrimp. Remove the legs and devein the shrimp, leaving the shells and tails on. In a medium bowl toss the shrimp with the lime juice for a few seconds. Rinse the shrimp, drain, and set on a plate lined with paper towels. With more paper towels pat the shrimp dry. In a small bowl combine the ketchup, rum, soy sauce, and ground white pepper.

  2. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the oil, add the garlic and ginger, then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry 10 seconds or until the aromatics are fragrant. Push the aromatics to the sides of the wok, carefully add the shrimp and spread them evenly in one layer in the wok. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the shrimp begin to sear. Sprinkle on the salt and stir-fry 30 seconds or until the shrimp begin to turn orange. Add the tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions and stir-fry 1 minute or until the shrimp have turned almost totally orange. Swirl the ketchup mixture into the wok and stir-fry 1 minute or until the shrimp are just cooked through and the sauce coats the shrimp. Stir in the cilantro.

Recipe Notes

From Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories by Grace Young. Copyright © 2010 by Grace Young. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Credit: Courtesy of Simon & Schuster