Entree/ Poultry

Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Yellow Rice

This recipe is a keeper!

When you look at this recipe and all the steps DO NOT, I repeat, do not click “back” and leave page. This recipe is worth all the effort and a few steps could be done ahead.

My son, Scott, is always sending me new and different recipes he’s found. Sometimes I say no to brownies made with soy sauce or tahini cookies but this one was different and it turns out I had all the ingredients and we both ended up making it on the same night. See both our pictures below.

Other than cooking at the brewery, what else do I have to do with my time right now; so I’m up for a challenge for any recipe I come across that sounds interesting. If anyone is ever interested in learning how to cook anything new,  just come on over and help me cook.

So, you wanna know what halal cart-style chicken is? Well it is Mediterranean cuisine sold from a food cart (or truck) and usually consist of chicken or lamb gyro, yellow rice and salad the red or white sauce on top is optional. In NYC back in the early 2000’s these carts started replacing the hot dogs carts as the city’s dominant form of street food (so says Wikipedia). Authentic halal chicken must be prepared according to Islamic law. No, I did not slaughter the chicken myself this is  a recipe recreating the NYC halal-cart classic.

This was a fun meal to eat. I happened to have some naan in my freezer and I shredded the salad and we used the naan to scoop up the chicken layer with a little rice and salad and chow away. Hope you will give this a try. This recipe adapted from Seriouseats.com recipe.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Pork Fries ??? Looks like over 2,000 people clicked to see “what’s up”. We had these on a trip to Nashville several years ago. Yummy and not your usual “fry”.

Mix the marinade in blender and then add chicken to marinade in a zip lock bag.

Put the chicken in the bag with half of the marinade and refrigerate 1-4 hours.

White sauce ingredients. Mix and refrigerate until ready to serve.

I added in a little harissa for spice.

Brown the chicken in a skillet until it reaches internal temperature of 165°.

This was my sons plate. We both prepared this dish on the same night.

I served mine with some extra hot sauce drizzled over top and a yellow tomato salad. Yummly delicious.

Just happened to have some fresh asparagus in the refrigerator so I did a quick saute and threw that in the mix.


Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Yellow Rice


  • For the marinade:
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano 1 tsp. dried
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander seed
  • 3-4 cloves garlic roughly chopped (1 1/2 Tbsp.) or more
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
  • 1 tsp. paprika optional
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice optional
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric optional
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric I will use 3/4 tsp. next tie
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 c. long-grain or basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • SAUCE:
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c. sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. Harissa or some other hot sauce
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • shredded lettuce I used leaf lettuce
  • 2 c. halved cherry tomatoes
  • warm naan or pita pockets
  • Harissa-style hot sauce


  1. For the chicken marinade: Put the lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, coriander, and garlic and (optional spices) in a blender and blend until smooth. Season this with salt and pepper to taste. Place the chicken thigh pieces in a zip lock bag and add HALF of the marinade. Save the remaining marinade to add back later after chicken is cooked. Turn the chicken to coat in the bag and refrigerate for 1-4 hours

  2. Remove chicken from bag and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper, heavy on the pepper. Heat about 2-3 Tbsp. oil in 12" cast iron skillet (or stainless steel) over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add about half the chicken pieces (do not stack up) and cook without stirring for about 4 minutes. Flip the chicken and reduce the heat to medium and cook until chicken is cooked through and center is 165°; this will take about another 6 minutes. Transfer to cutting board, cool then chop into 1/2-1" pieces. Now, add in the remaining reserved marinade and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

  3. Sauce: This could be made earlier in the day or even day before. In small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, Harissa (if using) and 2 teaspoons of black pepper. Whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. For the rice: Melt the butter over medium heat in 4 qt. saucepan. Add the turmeric and cumin and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook, stirring often, until rice is light toasted, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or all water is absorbed and the rice is tender; about 15-20 minutes.
  5. To serve: Return the chopped cooked chicken in the marinade to the skillet. Reheat this until heated through. To serve, divide the rice, lettuce, tomato and toasted pita among four to six plates. I put the chicken in one spot with the other ingredients around it. The original recipe said put the chicken on top of the rice. Drizzle plate with the sauce and another drizzle of Harissa or other hot sauce.

Recipe Notes

Note: Do not marinade longer than 4 hours. Some reviews of "serious eats.com" recipe says to double the marinade and if you don't need all in the second "adding of the marinade" then you can dispose of the extra.
I was looking at another recipe for this style chicken dish and found one that also adds paprika, allspice and turmeric to the chicken marinade so I added those spices on as optional. When I make this again I will be adding those extra spices.

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating