Wok Wednesdays: Chinese Trinidadian Stir-Fried Shrimp with Rum Recipe

The reigning question of this quest? To peel the shrimp or not. The recipe calls for keeping the shell on the shrimp to protect their succulence and juices in the high heat of  wok cooking. Matt even posed the question on the WW site. Rob and I as well DM’d back and forth our thoughts of “getting it” but thought it best with little kids to peel the shrimp or it would be a huge mess.  Then I thought back to my childhood of having the honor of my family being invited to many of my Daddy’s co-workers’ Chinese homes for huge feasts of authentic Asian dishes, many of them with shellfish- all in the shell. How we sat for long hours, peeling and eating shrimp. Licking our fingers. Wiping our lips before the juices dripped down our necks.  Then later as I pulled my bed covers up snug under my chin, the lingering aromas of ginger and garlic on my fingers whispered  I was full, life was full.  I am on this Wok Wednesday’s journey for the cultural experience of learning the art of cooking and consuming stir-fried dishes from the wok.  As I put my American ways behind- the shells remained.

After writing the recipe in my own “JARgon” of which ingredients go in which jar, and in what order, I prepared my Mason Jar Mise En Place…

Lined up like culinary soldiers, my jars kept everything in order for fast and organized stir-frying action.

I even followed a cheat-sheet like Laura of Mother Would Know  did in the last WW recipe challenge. Woked like a charm and kept me on track.   The cheat-sheet, written on a post-it note will go back in my book for future use, and it was a great way to keep my book away from my messy woking.  Thanks Laura!

Paleo Notes:
1. Ketchup- please see my Paleo Ketchup to sub in place of regular ketchup.
2. Rum- Can’t really make paleo friendly rum here in BRK. I added it. If you are strict, do not add it.
3. Soy Sauce- You may use Coconut Aminos which is a soy sauce substitute for the paleo lifestyle. I have a coconut allergy kid, so I used San-J brand Organic, Gluten-free reduced sodium soy sauce. Much saltier than coconut aminos, but in my situation worked well. It can be found at Whole Foods or Asian Markets. It will say Tamari.
4. I use avocado oil, it is paleo friendly and high-heat wok friendly.
5. I served this stir-fry over Cilantro Lime Cauliflower “Rice”.

Lessons Learned:
1. How to peel ginger using a spoon and how to properly store it for stir-frying. There is a good conversation about this- Read here. Many folks are freezing their ginger, and my Ma taught me to store it in sherry.  Grace Young states that storing ginger in the freezer or in sherry is NOT good for stir-frying as it causes spattering. Use the “wet” ginger for braising, but never stir-frying.  Stir-fry ingredients must be dry. Grace explains to store ginger in a paper bag in your refrigerator and purchase smaller amounts when little is needed.  Thank you Grace for clarifying and teaching us!
2. Making a cheat-sheet.
3. How nicely leaving the shells on the shrimp really did prevent them from over-cooking.
4. When it was time to eat the shrimp, I helped my daughter peel them for her dinner. Before storing the leftovers in a jar, I peeled the shrimp so that my hubby could easily eat these at work without messing up his suit.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Wok Wednesdays: Chinese Trinidadian Stir-Fried Shrimp with Rum Recipe
Recipe type: Seafook, Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
Shrimp stir-fried with onions, tomatoes, and peppers in a deeply rich rum sauce.
  • 1 pound large shrimp
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 3 Tbs. Ketchup
  • 3 Tbs. dark Jamaican rum
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp. ground white pepper
  • 2 Tbs. peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbs. minced ginger
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 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 Tbs. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. In a small bowl combine the ketchup, rum, soy sauce, and white pepper.
  4. 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, stri-fry 10 seconds or until the aromatics are fragrant.
  5. 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.
  6. Add the tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions and stir-fry 1 minute or until the shrimp have turned almost totally orange.
  7. 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.
  8. Stir in cilantro.

I created a Wok Wednesdays Pinterest Page to keep track of all the things I am learning on this journey. I am looking forward to the next “lesson”!

If you would like to join Wok Wednesdays, please go to the WW Site  for the 411.   Or like us on FaceBook!  Those who have participated in this recipe will leave their links in the comments below. Visit as many as possible to get everyone’s interpretation of the dish.


  1. Posted June 12, 2012 at 8:20 PM | Permalink

    What a beautiful dish! Sounds incredible.

  2. Posted June 13, 2012 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    Great pics, as always! It looks really nice with the yellow peppers.

  3. Posted June 13, 2012 at 1:11 PM | Permalink

    Love how the yellow peppers look in this dish. Cilantro Lime Rice is one of my favorite side dishes! Yum!

  4. Posted June 13, 2012 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

    Love your post and all your helpful explanations. I can’t wait to try your Paleo ketchup (subbing for the commercial stuff) and I’m honored that you have adopted my cheat sheet trick.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 13, 2012 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

      Cheat sheets save stir-fries!

  5. Jannette Parent
    Posted June 13, 2012 at 10:27 PM | Permalink

    This was soooooo delicious! Excellent instructions. I can’t eat peppers, so I substituted soybeans. It worked fine. I’m now officially hooked on Wok Wednesdays! This will certainly be on my list of regular monthly rotations. Thank you!

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 14, 2012 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

      Good substitute! This dish cooks so fast- dinner in five minutes- love it!!
      Robin Sue

5 Trackbacks

  1. […] Today’s recipe is Chinese Trinidadian Stir-Fried Shrimp with Rum.  It can be found on page 180 of Grace Young’s Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge.  To see the other blogger’s posts on this recipe, click here.  To get the recipe, see Robin’s blog. […]

  2. […] love the stir-fry management techniques dreamed up by two of my fellow bloggers. Big Red Kitchen sets out her mise-en-place (chop/prep/measure-steps) in jars, and Mother Would Know notes steps on […]

  3. […] Link to recipe: https://bigredkitchen.com/2012/06/wok-wednesdays-chinese-trinidadian-stir-fried-shrimp-with-rum-r… […]

  4. […] love the stir-fry management techniques dreamed up by two of my fellow bloggers. Big Red Kitchen sets out her mise-en-place (chop/prep/measure-steps) in jars, and Mother Would Know notes steps on […]

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