How to Make Halal Cart Chicken

Food trucks and carts have become increasingly popular around the country with large cities boasting cuisines such as Korean, Mexican, Asian, and Middle Eastern, among the more traditional American fare. New York City may once have been famous for its hot dog carts but, increasingly, the lunch crowd heads to the halal carts for the popular lunch-favorite, halal chicken, roasting on the grill. The aroma of the spices and seared meat is hard to resist. And when you order it, you're handed a large aluminum container filled with a generous amount of yellow rice, the heavily spiced chicken, tomatoes, and greens all drizzled with a white sauce. Fortunately, those flavors are not hard to recreate at home, so you can have halal cart-style chicken even when there are no carts around.


  • For the Chicken:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil (for cooking)

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cut into 1/2-inch chunks)

  • For the Rice:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 cup basmati rice

  • 2 1/4 cups water or chicken stock

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

  • For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup sesame paste

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • Salt (to taste)

  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, ground cumin, ground coriander, garlic, salt, and pepper.

  3. Stir nd pepper until smooth.

  4. Serve the chicken on a bed of the turmeric rice along with chopped tomatoes, lettuce or baby spinach, warm pita bread, and a drizzle of the sauce.

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