Chow Har Look

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:


Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

Chinese food is as much a part of Trinidadian culture as East Indian or African dishes, though Trinidadians of Chinese descent are today relatively few in number and are largely mixed with the rest of the population. Like American Chinese food, many Trinidadian Chinese dishes, such as Chow Har Look (shrimp in tomato sauce), don’t exist back in China, but are hybrids of local taste and Chinese cooking methods.


  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped, or 1 small bunch of chives, chopped
  • 2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste


  1. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water (the mixture should resemble milk). Set aside.
  2. Heat the canola oil in a deep frying pan or, preferably, a wok. Add the ginger, garlic, and scallions and fry for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp, and sauté, stirring constantly, until they just turn pink. Add the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, sugar, rum, and black pepper.
  3. Add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add the hot pepper sauce and adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve with rice.