Halal Cart Chicken and Rice (Copycat)

Halal Cart Chicken is boldy spiced and served with fragrant Turmeric Rice and spicy yogurt sauce. The perfect copycat of NY cart food.

Halal Cart Chicken is boldy spiced and served with fragrant Turmeric Rice and spicy yogurt sauce. The perfect copycat of NY cart food.

Halal Cart Chicken and Rice is a hugely popular dish in New York City. Along populated corners you can walk past and smell the amazing warm spices of the chicken and rice and find yourself standing in the long lines before you even realize what happened.

The Halal Guys are as much a reason to visit the city as any other food you’ve decided to put on your short list during a visit. This Halal Cart Chicken and Rice is served up to a long line of fans for good reason. The seasonings are bold and delicious, crispy cooked chicken and seasoned rice.

I mixed up the sauce a bit adding Sriracha and when it came time to dinner, there was a long period of silence as we all stuffed our faces as quickly as we could! This dish is fantastic and isn’t too spicy for even the youngsters to enjoy (minus the sauce).

Give it a shot, it may seem intimidating because of the number of ingredients, but it is really just a slightly long list of really easy steps and the end results more than makes up for it!

This Halal Cart Chicken and Rice comes from one of my favorite sources for dinner inspiration and kitchen wizardry, the Serious Eats Food Lab rock star Kenji.

If he gives you advice you know it is because he has tried it 15 different ways to find the best one. You can go into the recipe and know, with no hesitation, you are in for some really delicious food. He hasn’t let me down yet and I’ve been making his recipes for years.  They do normally have a few more steps than most, but look at what it gets you…

Halal Cart Chicken is boldy spiced and served with fragrant Turmeric Rice and spicy yogurt sauce. The perfect copycat of NY cart food. To marinade the chicken: Combine the lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic, and olive oil in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Place the chicken in a ziploc bag. Marinade for 3-4 hours.
Take out of the bag and pat dry with paper towels. Cook on medium-high in a pan, skin side down for 4-5 minutes, or until well browned. Turn over and cook for another 4-5 minutes until cooked completely through. Let the chicken cool for 5-10 minutes, then chop into rough chunks.
For the rice: Melt the butter over medium heat in a large Dutch oven then add the spices.Halal Cart Chicken is boldy spiced and served with fragrant Turmeric Rice and spicy yogurt sauce. The perfect copycat of NY cart food.


Cook until you can smell them, stirring into the butter. Halal Cart Chicken is boldy spiced and served with fragrant Turmeric Rice and spicy yogurt sauce. The perfect copycat of NY cart food.Add the rice and stir to coat. Halal Cart Chicken is boldy spiced and served with fragrant Turmeric Rice and spicy yogurt sauce. The perfect copycat of NY cart food.

Cook, stirring frequently for 4 minutes until the rice is toasted. Halal Cart Chicken is boldy spiced and served with fragrant Turmeric Rice and spicy yogurt sauce. The perfect copycat of NY cart food.
Add the chicken broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes without disturbing. Remove from the heat and rest without opening the lid for 15 minutes. Halal Cart Chicken is boldy spiced and served with fragrant Turmeric Rice and spicy yogurt sauce. The perfect copycat of NY cart food.

Once fluffed you can use it as the base to the meal and top with chopped chicken. Halal Cart Chicken is boldy spiced and served with fragrant Turmeric Rice and spicy yogurt sauce. The perfect copycat of NY cart food.To make the sauce: Combine yogurt, garlic, salt, pepper and Sriracha and let sit for an hour in the fridge. Halal Cart Chicken is boldy spiced and served with fragrant Turmeric Rice and spicy yogurt sauce. The perfect copycat of NY cart food.

Dinner then Dessert TIPSNote from Kenji: “Do not marinate the chicken longer than 4 hours or it’ll get a mushy texture. If you must delay cooking the chicken for any reason, remove it from the marinade, pat it dry with paper towels, and refrigerate until ready to cook.”

You can also serve the chicken without chopping and it is still a gorgeous meal. Halal Cart Chicken is boldy spiced and served with fragrant Turmeric Rice and spicy yogurt sauce. The perfect copycat of NY cart food.

Tools used in the making of Halal Cart Chicken and Rice:
Pig Tail Flipper – I use this *almost* more than I use tongs in the kitchen. Flipping is so quick and doesn’t smash foods.
Extra Long Grain Rice – You can use regular rice, but the dish is extra special with either extra long grain rice or Basmati rice.
Dutch Oven – Back around the time of our wedding All-Clad had this amazing gift with purchases and we ended up with THREE of these. I use them for almost everything and sometimes even all three at once.
Turmeric – Not a spice that gets a lot of use in every day cooking, this is really the secret in the dish along with the coriander.
Spice Rack – I listed the spices above as a reference point for what turmeric and what coriander are, but I buy spices in bulk from local grocers and from Penzey’s. It’s less expensive and significantly higher quality than buying the jars individually but I ended up being left with tons of little bags of spices. Enter the spice rack. Everything is clean and organized and I love it so much it is actually going to be in the Holiday gift roundup coming up next month! I <3 this spice rack that AllSpice sent me. 🙂

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Halal Cart Chicken and Rice (Copycat)

Halal Cart Chicken is boldy spiced and served with fragrant Turmeric Rice and spicy yogurt sauce. The perfect copycat of NY cart food.
Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

For the Chicken:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 garlic cloves , roughly chopped (about 1 ½ tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless , skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (6 to 8 thighs)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

For the Rice:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups extra long-grain or Basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • To marinade the chicken: Combine the lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic, and olive oil in a blender until smooth.
  • Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Place the chicken in a ziploc bag.
  • Marinade for 3-4 hours.
  • Take out of the bag and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Cook on medium-high in a pan, skin side down for 4-5 minutes, or until well browned.
  • Turn over and cook for another 4-5 minutes until cooked completely through.
  • Let the chicken cool for 5-10 minutes, then chop into rough chunks.
  • For the rice: Melt the butter over medium heat in a large Dutch oven then add the spices and cook until you can smell them, stirring into the butter.
  • Add the rice and stir to coat.
  • Cook, stirring frequently for 4 minutes until the rice is toasted.
  • Add the chicken broth and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Bring mixture to a boil.
  • Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes without disturbing.
  • Remove from the heat and rest without opening the lid for 15 minutes.
  • To make the sauce: Combine yogurt and Sriracha and let sit for an hour in the fridge.
  • Note from Kenji: "Do not marinate the chicken longer than 4 hours or it’ll get a mushy texture. If you must delay cooking the chicken for any reason, remove it from the marinade, pat it dry with paper towels, and refrigerate until ready to cook."

Notes

Adapted from Kenji Alt's Halal Chicken on Serious Eats.

Nutrition

Calories: 507kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 606mg | Potassium: 754mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 1.6mg
Keyword: Halal Cart Chicken and Rice (Copycat)

 

Halal Cart's Middle Eastern Chicken is boldy spiced and served with fragrant Turmeric Rice and spicy yogurt sauce. The perfect copycat of NY cart food.
Halal Cart's Middle Eastern Chicken is boldy spiced and served with fragrant Turmeric Rice and spicy yogurt sauce. The perfect copycat of NY cart food.

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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Comments

  1. Our kids made a similar dish. We froze the extra chicken so today I thought I would use it. I didn’t have the recipe they used and I only needed the rice and sauce. I found your recipe and tried it. It was really good! Basmati is now my favorite rice! Next time I’ll try the chicken marinade. Thanks.

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