Halal Cart Style Chicken and Rice

Halal cart style chicken and rice with chopped red tomato, shredded green lettuce, white yogurt sauce, and red hot sauce

Have you ever been to New York City and seen those chicken and rice halal carts? They’re everywhere and are a great place to stop by for a quick bite. The first time I ever stopped at one of them, I was blown away by how good it was! My favorite one is the The Halal Guys. They’ve even opened up some brick and mortar locations, with one of them being in Boston, MA. With that being said, it is not always convenient for me to go into Boston to get some. Therefore, I knew that I needed to recreate this myself. Let me tell you guys – this is as close to the real thing as you can get!

Before we get started, I have one disclaimer that I would like to get out of the way. This recipe is NOT a Halal recipe. I am only trying to replicate the taste from the halal food carts/trucks that are found in New York City. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get started!

Four components in one recipe!

Does that sound a little overwhelming or intimidating? If it does, I am here to break it down for you and show you that it’s truly not! The four components are as follows:

  • Chicken
  • Rice
  • Hot Sauce
  • White Sauce

It’s absolutely worth making all of this and a lot easier than you’d think. Most of this can be done ahead of time too. I am going to walk you through each component so that you’ll never have to wait for a trip to New York City to get this delicious dish.

The Chicken:

The key to the chicken is marinating it the night before you plan on eating it. My marinade includes the following ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Coriander
  • Oregano
  • Turmeric
  • Saffron Threads (optional but recommended)
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

All that you need to do is mix these ingredients in a bowl (full recipe below), dice your chicken into bite sized pieces, mix together, and refrigerate overnight. When it’s time to cook the chicken, add it to a pan over medium heat and cook until there is no pink left. That’s it – the chicken is done!

The Rice:

The rice is super easy to make. First off – make sure to wash your rice! Put your rice into a bowl and add running water. Dump the water out and repeat 2-3 times (until the rice water is clear). Next up – if you don’t have a multicooker or rice cooker, get one! Here is the one that I have and it’s made cooking rice foolproof. If you don’t have some sort of rice cooker, just follow the instructions of the rice packaging but use these ingredients:

  • Rice
  • Chicken broth (instead of using water)
  • Salt
  • Turmeric
  • Paprika
  • Cardamom
  • Cumin

This combination gives the rice the perfect color and flavor that you would expect from one of the halal carts.

The Hot Sauce:

The spicy red hot sauce is something I love to douse all over my chicken and rice. As someone that really enjoys their hot sauce, I’ve got to give it to The Halal Guys as their hot sauce does pack a punch. In order to make my own version, you’ll need the following:

  • Chiles de Arbol soaked in boiling water
  • Reserved water from the soaked chiles
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Chili Powder
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Salt

The trick to this hot sauce recipe is that you’ll need to rehydrate the dried chiles. Boil some water in a small pot, add the dried chiles, remove from the heat, and let the chiles soak for about 20 minutes. After that, add your rehydrated chiles, 1/3 cup of the chile water, and the remaining ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. And just like that…we have our hot sauce!

The White Sauce:

Our last component of this dish is the signature white sauce. I love covering my chicken and rice with this sauce as well. The combination of the white sauce and hot sauce gives so much flavor! This one is even easier to make too. All that you’ll need is:

  • Yogurt
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Garlic Powder
  • Sumac
  • Lemon juice
  • Parsley
  • White Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper

All that you need to do is mix these ingredients together in a container. That’s it – your white sauce is done. It’s really that simple.

Chicken and rice mixed together with red hot sauce, white sauce, chopped red tomato, and shredded lettuce
Halal cart style chicken and rice with hot sauce & white sauce doused all over!

One last thing:

To really give this dish that Halal cart style feel to it, there is one last thing that you must do. Chop up a tomato and shred some iceberg lettuce to serve with it. I’m telling you that this small detail makes a HUGE difference. Mixing all of this together will really make you feel as though you just bought it from a food truck in New York City! It is definitely worth doing all of the steps in this recipe. The taste, look, and feel of this dish is exactly what you would expect when you go to The Halal Guys. Try this one out guys – you’ll never have to wait again for a trip to New York City for that delicious chicken and rice!

Halal cart style chicken and rice with chopped red tomato, shredded green lettuce, white yogurt sauce, and red hot sauce

Halal Cart Style Chicken and Rice

Are you ever in the mood for some Halal Cart Style Chicken and Rice that you can find at food trucks around New York City? With this recipe, you can now make it at home whenever you crave it. Extremely flavorful chicken that's marinated overnight, perfectly seasoned rice, homemade hot sauce, and the signature white sauce is always a crowd pleaser. Easy to do during the week but also great for parties, this recipe is sure to impress everyone!


Chicken Marinade

  • 1-2 lbs Chicken Breast or Thighs diced into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 pinch Saffron Threads optional
  • Black Pepper to taste


  • 1.5 cups Rice
  • 3 cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin

Hot Sauce

  • 20-30 Chiles de Arbol the more you add, the spicier it will be
  • 1/3 cup Reserved Chile Water
  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin

White Sauce

  • 1.5 cups Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Sumac
  • 1/2 Lemon juiced
  • 1/2 tsp Parsley
  • 1 tsp White Vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste

To Serve With

  • 1 Tomato chopped
  • Iceberg Lettuce shredded


  • Dice up the chicken into bite sized pieces. Mix all of the chicken marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the diced chicken and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • For the hot sauce: fill a small pot with water about 3/4 full. Boil the water and add 20-30 dried chiles de arbol. Remove the water from the heat and let the chiles soak for about 20 minutes. Add the rehydrated chiles to a blender with 1/3 cup of the reserved chile water and the remaining hot sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • For the white sauce: combine all white sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • For the rice: wash your rice by putting it in a bowl and covering with water. Move the rice around and discard the water. Repeat 2-3 times or until the rice water is clear. Add all of the rice and rice ingredients together and cook using a rice cooker or by following the instructions on the rice package (use chicken broth instead of water per the recipe above).
  • When it is time to cook the chicken, remove from the refrigerator and heat a pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until cooked all the way through – there should be no pink pieces left. Since these are bite sized pieces, it is tough to check with a meat thermometer. When in doubt, cut a few larger pieces in half and check to make sure there is no pink in the middle. Remove from heat once done.
  • Serve the chicken immediately with the rice, hot sauce, white sauce, chopped tomato, and shredded lettuce.
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