Chicken/ Dinner/ International Recipes

Halal cart style chicken and rice

Halal cart style chicken and rice is an iconic New York street food comprising of shawarma style sliced chicken piled on top of spiced yellow rice served with salad and pita bread. This is then drizzled with a tangy white sauce and a spicy hot sauce.

Halal cart style chicken and rice is an iconic New York street food comprising of shawarma style sliced chicken piled on top of spiced yellow rice served with salad and pita bread. This is then drizzled with a tangy white sauce and a spicy hot sauce.

If you have been to New York you would have seen the food carts with halal signs at pretty much every street corner, more so in Manhattan but pretty popular in the other boroughs as well. They sell chicken and rice or halal chicken and rice which has now become an iconic New York street food. It consists of shawarma style sliced chicken or lamb piled on top of spiced yellow rice served with salad and pita bread. It’s then drizzled with a secret and super addictive white sauce along with a dash of (or as much as you can handle) hot sauce.

The creator of this meal and the first, or at least the most popular one has to be the Halal Guys who opened a cart at the corner of 53rd St. and 6th Ave, walking distance from Times Square & Central Park and right in the middle of one of Manhattan’s busiest streets. They had started selling hot dogs but realised that there was a demand for halal food among the Muslim cabbie population, and they needed food that was filling and could be eaten on the go. That’s where chicken and rice was born.  From a corner food cart, The Halal Guys are now present in multiple locations including a brick-and-mortar restaurant near 14th Street in New York with franchise locations across the United States and abroad.

The chicken and rice bowl with extra falafel from the Halal Guys in New York

The chicken and rice bowl with extra falafel from the Halal Guys in New York

Every vendor has their own style of making this meat and rice combination, with their secret recipes for marination and sauces. But wherever you buy it from it’s comforting, filling and affordable. Plus Halal! Perfect for tourists like me.

The first time I tried out a recipe for this dish it was from Serious Eats and though it turned out quite similar to the original, it was time consuming. I then saw a pretty similar recipe from Buzzfeed which had almost the same ingredients but utilising a one pot method that was just easier to make and required far less clean-up. The recipe below is a combination of both of these recipe.

Try out the recipe, rate it, and let me know how it was in the comments below! 

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Halal cart style chicken and rice

Halal cart style chicken and rice is an iconic New York street food comprising of shawarma style sliced chicken piled on top of spiced yellow rice served with salad and pita bread. This is then drizzled with a tangy white sauce and a spicy hot sauce.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 3009 kcal

Ingredients

For the white sauce:

  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon oregano

For the salad:

  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1 small cucumber diced
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • salt to taste

For the chicken:

  • ½ kg boneless skinless chicken thighs or boneless chicken breast
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves sliced
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

For the rice:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 2 cups basmati rice soaked for 10 minutes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Toppings:

  • Sriracha, chili garlic sauce or your favorite hot sauce
  • Fresh coriander for garnish

Instructions

For the white sauce:

  1. Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl.
  2. Whisk together. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the salad:

  1. Place the tomato, cucumber, onion, vinegar and salt in a bowl. Mix and let sit together for at least 15 – 20 minutes to let the flavours combine together.

For the chicken:

  1. Place the boneless chicken thighs or chicken breast in a bowl. Make sure the chicken is of an even thickness so that it will cook properly. If necessary, slice in half.
  2. Add lemon juice, oregano, turmeric, coriander powder, red chili powder, black pepper, salt, garlic cloves and olive. Mix together and let marinate for at least an hour.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot and add chicken pieces. Cook the chicken in batches making sure not to over-crowd the pan. Once the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, remove and set aside on a plate. 

For the rice:

  1. In the same pot that the chicken was cooked in, heat butter. Add turmeric powder and coriander and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the rice and then stir to coat with the spices. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, and then add chicken stock and salt.

  2. Bring to a boil, and turn heat down to low. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Once the rice is done, let them sit for about 5 minutes and then serve. 

Assembly:

  1. Once all the steps are complete, slice the chicken.
  2. Start assembling the recipe by putting the spiced rice in a bowl. Top with chicken and vegetables. Drizzle with white sauce and your preferred hot sauce. Garnish with coriander, mix it all up and enjoy.

Halal cart style chicken and rice is an iconic New York street food comprising of shawarma style sliced chicken piled on top of spiced yellow rice served with salad and pita bread. This is then drizzled with a tangy white sauce and a spicy hot sauce.

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