hit counter html code Bring NYC to your table when you make this halal cart-style chicken

Bring NYC to your table when you make this halal cart-style chicken over rice

In the bustling streets of New York City, where diverse cultures intersect and culinary experiences abound, few things capture the essence of the city’s vibrancy like a heaping plate of halal cart-style chicken over rice. This iconic dish, which has become a hallmark of the city’s street food scene, offers a tantalizing fusion of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors that transport your taste buds to the heart of the Big Apple. In this article, we’ll guide you through recreating this beloved classic at home, bringing the quintessential NYC experience to your table.

Unveiling the Essentials: The Ingredients

The key to crafting an authentic halal cart-style chicken over rice lies in selecting the right ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Chicken: Opt for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which promise succulence and flavor. You can also use chicken breasts if preferred.
  2. Rice: Long-grain basmati rice offers the perfect texture and aroma for this dish.
  3. Spices and Marinade: Create a flavorful marinade using a blend of cumin, paprika, turmeric, garlic, and ground coriander. Greek yogurt adds creaminess and tenderizes the chicken.
  4. White Sauce: The quintessential white sauce is a tangy and creamy concoction made from mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, vinegar, and a touch of lemon juice.
  5. Hot Sauce: A drizzle of hot sauce, often referred to as “red sauce” in NYC, adds a fiery kick to balance the flavors.
  6. Salad: Prepare a simple cucumber and tomato salad with red onion and parsley for a refreshing contrast.
  7. Pita Bread: Warm pita bread serves as the perfect vessel for your chicken over rice.

 Bowl of Halal Cart-Style Chicken Over Rice Next to an Orange Kitchen Linen

Marinating and Grilling the Chicken

Begin by marinating the chicken. In a bowl, mix together the spices, Greek yogurt, and lemon juice to create a thick marinade. Coat the chicken thoroughly and allow it to marinate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight, in the refrigerator.

When you’re ready to cook, grill the marinated chicken on medium-high heat until it’s perfectly charred and cooked through. The aroma of the spices mingling with the sizzling chicken will instantly transport you to the vibrant streets of NYC.

The Rice: A Flavorful Bed for the Chicken

While the chicken is grilling, cook the basmati rice according to the package instructions, adding a pinch of saffron for an authentic touch. Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and keep it warm until serving.

Crafting the Iconic NYC Experience

Now comes the fun part – assembling your halal cart-style chicken over rice, just like you’d find it on the streets of NYC:

  1. Rice Base: Start with a generous portion of saffron-infused rice as the base of your dish.
  2. Grilled Chicken: Place a mound of perfectly grilled chicken over the rice.
  3. Crispy Lettuce and Salad: Add a handful of crispy lettuce and a scoop of the refreshing cucumber-tomato salad alongside the chicken.
  4. White and Red Sauces: Drizzle the tangy white sauce and a hint of red hot sauce over the chicken and salad. The balance of flavors is key to replicating the authentic experience.
  5. Pita Bread: Warm the pita bread and serve it on the side, ready to scoop up all the deliciousness.

A Culinary Journey to Remember

As you take your first bite, the medley of spices, creamy sauces, and tender grilled chicken will transport you to the bustling streets of NYC. With each mouthful, you’ll savor the fusion of cultures and flavors that define the city’s food scene. This halal cart-style chicken over rice isn’t just a dish; it’s a culinary journey that captures the spirit of New York and brings it to your table, wherever you may be. So, gather your ingredients, channel your inner NYC foodie, and embark on a flavorful adventure that celebrates the heart and soul of the city that never sleeps.

Like so many memorable New York City adventures, my first foray into the city’s famous street food, chicken and rice, began early in the morning, with a 2 a.m. stop at a friend’s in Columbia.

Don’t be drawn to us by the bright lights of an unmistakable street cart on an otherwise dark street. We had a plate of chutney chicken and golden rice.

After leaving New York, eager to make a version to enjoy in style at home. And while many of us may have eaten it for breakfast late, it’s just as delicious to enjoy during the week.

A city full of street carts

Between the late 1980s and early 1990s, the city began to revolve around the Halal York car. Now, 40+ years later, he’s a cultural icon.

Street carts have been a part of the city’s culture long before the 80s, food historians believe, the arrival of immigrants, especially Muslim immigrants from Egypt and Bangladesh, for the first time. Initiating demand for Halal dishes.

A bowl of halal karst chachilan over rice with orange kitchen linen
Simple Recipes / Karisma Pradhan

The origin of more halal cart style chicken than rice

Although Halal Boys are the most well-known buyers of chicken and rice, the origins of the dish are more elusive. One deep diver argues, “There is no clear ‘first’ in the history of the halal cart (although many have claimed for themselves).”

However, Gurbet’s oral history points to the first number of trainee Paki Boys from Australia participating. Fatima Khan, co-owner of Trini Paki Boys, said, “My husband and I both grew up with chicken and rice, and we both love spicy food, him from Pakistan and me from Trinidad. Rice with my curry chicken. When When my husband and I come to the city, there is no halal car exchange, we decide for ourselves.

Whatever the origin, the resulting dish is extremely flavorful and deeply appetizing.

Note: After some research it appears that Traini Paki Boys has been discontinued.

Chicken ingredients over rice

I worked with several models to develop this version, from various food publications, food blogs, and halal g. The result is a more spicy chicken, seared until golden brown, served with turmeric rice with lots of sauce and fresh vegetables.

Spicy Chicken:

Chicken marinates in a flavorful combination of ground spices, garlic and lemon juice. And if you’re missing a spice or two, it’s very forgiving.
Yellow rice: Instead of plain boiled rice, opt for the halal brown (and some vehicles have orange) version. Turmeric provides color, peels and butter offer extra richness.

White Chutney:

According to Halal Boys, their classic White Chutney has no yogurt. That said, I love the combination of yogurt and mayonnaise as a creamy-tangy hybrid.
Red Hot Sauce: Hot sauces are usually quite spicy, recommend harissa, sriracha, or tabasco. You only need a few drops to work.

Halal Cart-Style Chicken Over Rice

40 mins
100 mins
60 mins
3 hrs 20 mins
4 to 6 servings


For the spiced chicken:

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from about 1 lemon
1/4 cup neutral oil, such as canola oil or grapeseed oil, plus more for cooking
2 tablespoons freshly grated garlic
2 teaspoons Diamond-Crystal Kosher Salt (or 1 teaspoon Morton Kosher Salt or fine sea salt)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin powder
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

For the white sauce:

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, grated
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 to 3 tablespoons water
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, optional

For the rice:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 whole green cardamom pods
2 shallots, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 cups long-grain basmati rice, preferably aged
3 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons Diamond-Crystal Kosher Salt (or 1 teaspoon Morton Kosher Salt or fine sea salt)

For serving:

Diced tomato
Shredded lettuce
Hot sauce, such as harissa or Sriracha
Warm pita

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