Halal Chicken & “Rice”

Halal Chicken & “Rice”

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I know I’ve shared about this dish on social media before but I realized that I’ve never shared the recipe for it here on the blog! I first had Halal in NYC several years ago and fell in love. It was flavorful, the chicken was moist and tender, and I found a new love in Harissa! And best of all, it was cheap! If you’ve ever been to NYC, you know that’s hard to come by in Manhattan! 

Ever since that trip in 2012, I’ve been experimenting with different recipes, trying to replicate this classic street cart food. I’ve tried probably a dozen different recipes and none of them quite lived up to what I remembered this dish being. So, I kind of mashed several recipes together, threw in some different combinations that I thought would work and have finally came up with a recipe that I think is pretty darn close! My mom and I went back to NYC last month where we tried Halal from a couple of different street carts during the week we were there and I have to say, my final recipe is just as good! They use two different sauces, a red sauce (which is Harissa based) and a white sauce (which is yogurt based). My “red sauce” is just thinned-out Harissa and not as spicy as the sauce they use. My mom is a spicy lightweight but even I, who LOVES spicy food, thought the carts in NYC were borderline too spicy. I use Mina’s brand of Harissa. You can find it on Amazon HERE or I’ve seen it at Whole Foods as well. I also like Trader Joe’s brand of Harissa. 

In NYC, Halal is served on a bed of yellow rice. I can’t eat rice at the moment so I served mine on top of salad greens. You could also serve it on cauliflower rice if you’d like! I would have, but I’m out of cauliflower at the moment! LOL 🙂 

NYC street-cart style "Chicken and Rice"
Serves 4
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
  1. For the chicken
  2. 2 T olive oil
  3. 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  4. 1 yellow onion, diced
  5. 1 cup yogurt (I used Kite Hill's almond yogurt to stay dairy-free)
  6. 3/4 tsp turmeric
  7. 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  8. 2 tsp cumin
  9. 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  10. 1 tsp paprika
  11. 1/2 tsp cloves
  12. 1/2 tsp curry powder
  13. 2 T lemon juice
  14. Salt and pepper, to taste
  16. 1 cup yogurt (again, I used Kite Hill)
  17. 1 cup mayonnaise (I used Sir Kensington)
  18. 1 T ranch mix (You can make your own if Paleo or I've also used 1/4 cup Primal Kitchen ranch dressing instead)
  19. 1 T horseradish
  20. 2 T white vinegar
  21. 1 T coconut sugar
  22. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  23. 3 tsp dried dill
  24. 2 T water
  26. 3 T Harissa
  27. 3 T water
  29. Diced Cucumber
  30. Diced Roma Tomatoes
  31. Yellow Rice
  32. Diced sweet onion
  33. Shredded lettuce
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine onions, spices and yogurt together. Add chicken thighs and stir to coat chicken. Refrigerate overnight or at least a couple of hours (overnight is best).
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add marinated chicken to pan and fry till thoroughly cooked through and chicken has a nice, crunchy outside.
  3. Remove from pan and dice into 1-inch chunks. Sometimes I've had to return chicken to the pan to finish cooking through after dicing. Just depends on how thick your thighs are!
  4. While chicken is cooking, combine all white sauce ingredients together in a small mixing bowl and refrigerate while chicken continues to cook.
  5. Stir harissa and water together to thin out and set aside. This will be drizzled over the top of your bowl once ready to serve.
  6. Chop all topping ingredients and cook rice if desired.
  7. To assemble, serve chicken a top rice (or cauliflower or lettuce, what you desire). Drizzle white and red sauce over the top and add cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions as desired. Enjoy!
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