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Halal Chicken Over Rice

If you’ve visited New York, you know all about the Halal Guys Chicken and Rice. My homemade halal chicken over rice recipe has the perfect blend of flavor and spice. Tender and juicy chicken pieces marinate in yogurt and warm spices, and we serve it over a bed of aromatic rice with homemade red and white sauce. Plus, chicken and rice are perfect for those who meal prep!

Halal Chicken Over Rice in a serving bowl.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Behind the Recipe

Halal cart chicken might be the best thing about New York City, at least for my family! Believe me when I say that we have explored and tried them all (chicken and rice are all my son asks for when we’re in the city) – each cart putting its own spin on the dish.

By far, my favorite food cart is on 6th and 44th. It may not be The Halal Guys, but it’s called Royal Grill Halal Food. Some of the friendliest guys were running the cart, and they gave our son a treat and talked to us despite the line forming. We found out about the specific address from Mark Wiens, and since he recommended it in one of his videos, we knew we just had to stop by.

I tried to squeeze the secret recipe out of them, but they weren’t telling me anything. Even though I don’t have the exact recipe, I think this Halal chicken over rice copycat comes close to getting it right!

What is Halal Guys Chicken and Rice?

Halal Guys is a popular street food chain that serves different rice plates. Their signature dish features seasoned chicken and rice, topped with lettuce and served with their famous sauces. The chicken marinates in a combination of Middle Eastern spices before grilling to perfection.

The rice is aromatic basmati rice that soaks up the rich flavors of the sauce. The white sauce is a creamy, garlic and yogurt-based sauce that provides a cooling contrast to the spicy red sauce. They serve Halal chicken over rice as a platter with pita bread on the side. Known for its long lines in New York City, chicken carts are a must-see when you visit the city. 

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Chicken Marinade: Marinate the chicken in full-fat Greek yogurt, fresh lemon juice, coriander, paprika, salt, black pepper, ground cumin, turmeric, and smashed garlic cloves for a full-bodied flavor. 
  • Chicken: I thread boneless skinless chicken thighs onto wide skewers for this recipe, as they do at the halal food carts. You can also use chicken breasts if you prefer. 
  • Yellow Rice: Prepare the yellow rice with long-grained basmati rice, chicken stock, salt, green cardamom pods, and ground turmeric, which gives the rice its signature color.
  • Sauces: Halal carts serve Halal chicken over rice with two delicious sauces.
    • Red Sauce: If you enjoy spicy food, you will want to make homemade red sauce. Rehydrate the arbol chilies and puree the chiles with fresh garlic, cayenne powder, paprika, ground coriander, ground caraway, ground cumin, salt, and apple cider vinegar.
    • The Famous White Sauce: The signature creamy white sauce combines mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, dried oregano, sugar, coarse ground black pepper, and garlic powder.

Additions and Substitutions

  • If you don’t like basmati rice (GASP), use brown rice or jasmine rice. Or you can make Persian saffron rice if you want even more flavor. 
  • Replace the tangy white sauce with toumsos czosnkowy, or sour cream if you want something quick and easy. 
  • Use your favorite hot sauce instead of making the red sauce from scratch.
  • Include sumac onions or biwaz for a tangy addition to the meal.

How to Make Halal Chicken Over Rice

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

For the Chicken:

Step 1: Trim the chicken, cut it into 1½-inch pieces, and add it to a large bowl. Then, combine olive oil, lemon juice, and spices for the chicken in a small bowl.

Step 2: Pour it over the chicken, add the crushed garlic, and toss to combine. Cover and marinate for 6 hours (at least 30 minutes).

Chicken Marinating in a bowl.

Step 3: Preheat the oven to 400℉ (204℃). Remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you cook, and let it come to room temperature.

Step 4: Hold a wide metal skewer with one hand and slide the chicken pieces onto it. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until all the skewers are loaded. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place the chicken skewers onto it, about 1 inch apart.

Chicken on skewers.

Step 5: Bake for 10-15 minutes, flipping the skewers halfway through. Then, broil on high for 4 minutes per side until the chicken turns golden brown. Let the chicken rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken baking on skewers in the oven.

For the Rice:

Step 1: Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Add the rice to a bowl and cover it with water to soak for at least 30 minutes.

Water pouring over basmati rice.

Step 2: Drain the soaking water and add the rice to a medium saucepan with one cup of water. Stir in the salt, turmeric, and green cardamom pods. Bring the pan to a boil over medium heat.

Yellow rice boiling in a saucepan.

Step 3: Reduce the heat, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender for 10-15 minutes.

Chicken steaming in a saucepan.

Step 4: Remove the rice from heat and fluff it with a fork. Cover with the lid and set it aside to steam for 10 minutes before serving.

Rice in a pan.

Expert Tips

  • For the best results, marinate the chicken for 6 hours (at least 30 minutes). Use the marinade suggested in this recipe – it’s delicious!
  • Remove the chicken from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before preparing it.
  • Rinse the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear; this helps to remove excess starch and prevent the rice from sticking.
  • Soak the rice in cold water for at least 30 minutes to an hour to soften the rice and reduce the cooking time.

If you enjoy this meal, try one of these copycat recipes!  

Halal chicken with rice and a salad.

Serving Suggestions

If you’re looking for the best way to serve chicken over rice, make it halal cart-style in a bowl with yellow rice, lettuce, tomato, and chicken, and top it with the red and white sauce. You can also serve it with a pita or tortilla, depending on what you have. Pair the chicken with a salad and grilled or roasted vegetables if you want a meal that’s a little lighter.

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate: Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: Let the dish cool and transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Halal chicken over rice freezes for 2-3 months.
  • Thaw: Defrost the chicken and rice in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Repurpose: Warm a single serving in the microwave, or add it to a saute pan for a quick and easy meal the whole family will enjoy.
  • Storing the Extras: Store the red and white sauce in an airtight container like mason jars or a squeeze bottle in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is halal food?

Halal food is any food deemed permissible under Islamic law, as defined in the Quran. The method of slaughtering animals for meat in Islam is known as Zabihah. Muslims consider this method the most humane and purest for butchering. 

Where can I find halal chicken?

Depending on where you live, you can visit local halal butchers, grocery stores, or meat markets in your area. These specialized shops often carry a variety of halal meats, including chicken.

More Middle Eastern Recipes:

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Halal Chicken Over Rice in a serving bowl.

Halal Chicken Over Rice

Tressa Jamil
My homemade recipe for tender and juicy halal chicken over rice has the perfect balance of heat and flavor, just like the Halal carts in New York.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 771 kcal
Ingredients
  
For the Chicken:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • cup Greek yogurt, full-fat
  • lemon juice, 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
For the Rice:
For the White Sauce:
  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • lemon juice, 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
For the Red Sauce:
  • 1 cup arbol chilies, deseed
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground caraway
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • cup water
For Assembly:
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 1-2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2-4 pitas, quartered
Instructions
 

For the Chicken:

  • Trim the chicken, cut it into 1½-inch pieces, and add it to a large bowl. Then, combine olive oil, lemon juice, and spices for the chicken in a small bowl.
  • Pour it over the chicken, add the crushed garlic, and toss to combine. Cover and marinate for 6 hours (at least 30 minutes).
  • Preheat the oven to 400℉ (204℃). Remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you cook, and let it come to room temperature.
  • Hold a wide metal skewer with one hand and slide the chicken pieces onto it. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until all the skewers are loaded. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place the chicken skewers onto it, about 1 inch apart.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes, flipping the skewers halfway through. Then, broil on high for 4 minutes per side until the chicken turns golden brown. Let the chicken rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes before serving.

For the Rice:

  • Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Add the rice to a bowl and cover it with water to soak for at least 30 minutes.
  • Drain the soaking water and add the rice to a medium saucepan with one cup of water. Stir in the salt, turmeric, and green cardamom pods. Bring the pan to a boil over medium heat.
  • Reduce the heat, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove the rice from heat and fluff it with a fork. Cover with the lid and set it aside to steam for 10 minutes before serving.

For the Assembly:

  • Whisk the ingredients for the white sauce in a small bowl and set it aside.
  • Soak the deseeded chiles in the boiling water for 30 minutes (do this while the chicken is cooking). Then, transfer the chiles to a food processor or blender and process with the other sauce ingredients: garlic, cayenne powder, paprika, ground coriander, ground caraway, ground cumin, and salt until smooth. Stir in the apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
  • Remove the chicken from a skewer and add it to a plate with a scoop of rice, chopped lettuce, and tomatoes, and drizzle with red and white sauce to serve. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, and enjoy! 
Notes
Expert Tips: 
  • For the best results, marinate the chicken for 6 hours (at least 30 minutes). Use the marinade suggested in this recipe – it’s delicious!
  • Remove the chicken from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before preparing it.
  • Rinse the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear; this helps to remove excess starch and prevent the rice from sticking.
  • Soak the rice in cold water for at least 30 minutes to an hour to soften the rice and reduce the cooking time.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 771 kcal | Carbohydrates: 55 g | Protein: 32 g | Fat: 47 g | Saturated Fat: 10 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20 g | Cholesterol: 138 mg | Sodium: 1723 mg | Potassium: 869 mg | Fiber: 6 g | Sugar: 8 g | Vitamin A: 3727 IU | Vitamin C: 12 mg | Calcium: 125 mg | Iron: 4 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating