Cart-Style Halal Chicken Rice Bowls
Learn how to make halal cart style chicken rice bowls at home! The chicken is seasoned with tons of spices and the rice is simmered in turmeric chicken broth for the best yellow rice! Serve with lots of white sauce and sriracha – it tastes just like Halal Guys!
Okay, you’ve had halal chicken rice bowls, but have you had halal cart chicken made in one pan?
I didn’t think so. And yes! You read that correctly. This is a one-pot chicken over rice recipe. Not only does my homemade version of chicken over rice taste like Halal Guys, but it is also an easy recipe that doesn’t require a ton of clean-up. Marinate the chicken thighs, with coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, allspice, sumac, and hot paprika with lemon juice and olive oil. Pan-sear the chicken over medium-high heat before you remove it to a plate. Then add a knob of butter to the same skillet and saute the rice with onions and peppers before simmering it in chicken broth. Cooking the rice in the same pot as the chicken gives the rice soo much more flavor!
When the rice is fluffy and cooked through, serve the chicken sliced or diced on top with lots of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and an abundance of white sauce and red sauce. I’m telling you, with these flavors you’ll bring that famous NYC food cart right into your own home!
Ingredients for Halal Chicken Rice Bowls:
- Seasonings! seasonings are the heart and soul of this recipe. You’ll need ground cardamom, allspice, cumin, coriander, hot paprika, turmeric, dried oregano, sumac, adobo seasoning, and kosher salt. The good news is that most of these ingredients are pretty simple to find in most grocery stores. The only one you may have a little trouble with is sumac, which is available online here or at your nearest Middle Eastern grocery store. Sumac powder is a dry red berry that is ground into a coarse powder.
- Boneless, skinless chicken: You can use chicken thighs, tenders, or breasts for this dish. If you use chicken breasts, I do suggest chopping them up a bit before marinating so that all the chicken absorbs the flavor.
- Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed works best.
- Olive oil: Is an ingredient added to the chicken marinade. You won’t need to add any more when you’re searing the chicken.
- Fresh garlic: I use my favorite garlic press to press a few cloves right into the marinade for this chicken.
- Butter: saute the rice, onions, and peppers in butter to create the famous new york city yellow rice.
- Basmati Rice: use good-quality long-grain basmati rice for this recipe. Keep in mind that you want to rinse the rice under cold running water and drain it before you toast the rice for the yellow rice pilaf.
- Minced Onions: saute the onions in butter along with the rice and minced peppers for more flavor.
- Minced peppers: I like to use a serrano pepper with the ribs and seeds removed. Feel free to use a jalapeño pepper instead. You can also omit this entirely, although, rest assured, with the ribs and seeds removed, the rice isn’t spicy.
- Chicken Broth: I suggest using a low sodium chicken broth for this recipe. Since we’re seasoning the rice with adobo seasoning (which contains salt, black pepper, added turmeric, etc) low sodium broth works best.
- Prepared White sauce and hot sauce: I make my own white sauce using ingredients like sour cream, mayo, white vinegar, parsley, and black pepper. The full recipe can be found here. For the hot sauce, I typically like to use a squeeze of sriracha or a dollop of this chili garlic sauce.
How to make the best halal chicken rice bowls:
- Make the seasoning. Start by adding the cardamom, allspice, cumin, coriander, paprika, and turmeric to a bowl. You want to set aside one teaspoon of this seasoning to use in the rice, the rest goes into the chicken.
- Marinate the chicken. Add the chicken to a large bowl, toss with the remaining seasoning (everything other than the 1 tsp) add pressed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, dried oregano (tip: crush this between your fingers before adding) ground sumac, and salt. Toss the chicken until it’s evenly coated and set the chicken aside for at least 20 minutes to marinate.
- Cook the chicken. When the 20 minutes are up, heat a 3-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook for 6-12 minutes, flipping as needed until the chicken cooks all the way through. While the chicken is sizzling, rinse the rice under cold running water. Transfer the chicken to a clean platter and keep warm while you cook the rice.
- Cook the rice. Once you’ve rinsed the rice, add a knob of butter to saute pan and allow it to melt. Then add the rice, onions, and minced peppers to the pan and saute for 2 minutes. Season the rice with the remaining teaspoon of homemade seasoning, along with the adobo seasoning, and saute for 15 seconds. Then pour in the chicken broth and allow the rice to reach a simmer before you cover and cook the rice over low heat. When the rice is done, allow it to sit for 5 minutes before fluffing it with a fork.
- Serve it up! I like to add the rice to the bowls, and top with sliced chicken with tons of diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, diced cucumbers, and warm pita bread wedges. Drizzle the whole thing with white sauce and red sauce and enjoy!
FAQs about halal cart bowls:
The white sauce is a sauce that food trucks commonly use on these types of chicken over rice or lamb over rice bowls. The sauce is made with mayo, sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, and a few seasoning.
Yes, with the ingredients listed you can marinate the chicken for longer than 20 minutes. I typically let it go for up to 60 minutes, however, you could even let it go for a little longer (6 hours) if necessary. Any longer and I’m afraid the acid from the lemon juice will give the chicken an unpleasant texture.
I don’t! I usually don’t eat overly spicy food, so making a large batch of red sauce just wouldn’t make sense for me. However, I genuinely love a good squeeze of sriracha or chili garlic sauce on these and highly recommend you try it with those!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Lebanese Fattoush Salad
- Lebanese Meat Stuffed Pita
- Most Delicious Homemade Shawarma Seasoning
- Beef Shawarma (2 Ways!)
- Shirazi Salad (Salad-e Shirazi)
- ½ teaspoon EACH: ground cardamom AND all spice
- ½ teaspoon EACH: ground cumin AND ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Chicken Over Rice:
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (trim excess fat)
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 tablespoon EACH: lemon juice AND olive oil
- 1 teaspoon EACH: dried oregano AND sumac
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup minced onions
- 1 serrano or jalapeno, minced (or use ¼ green bell pepper)
- 2 ¼ cups low sodium chicken broth
- White sauce, red sauce, Tomatoes + cucumbers + lettuce, pita wedges, for serving
- SEASONING: Combine the seasonings listed under the seasoning section in a bowl. Set aside one teaspoon of this seasoning for the rice; the rest is used to marinate the chicken.
- CHICKEN: Add the chicken to a large bowl, and toss with the seasoning blend, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, sumac, and salt. Set this aside for 20-60 minutes to marinate.
- COOK: Heat a 3-quart deep saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add the chicken in a single layer and cook for 6-12 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165ºF. Remove the chicken to a plate; keep warm.
- RICE: Rinse the rice in a sieve under cold running water while the chicken cooks until the water runs clear and isn’t cloudy; set aside. In the same saute pan, add the butter and allow it to melt, then add the drained rice, onions, and peppers, and saute for 2 minutes. Season with the remaining teaspoon of homemade seasoning, and adobo. Saute for 15 seconds. Add the chicken broth and allow it to come up to a boil, then cover with a tight-fitting lid, turn the heat to low, and let cook for 15 minutes.
- SERVE: Let the rice sit for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Then place desired amount in bowls. Slice the chicken and serve in bowls topped with white sauce, red sauce, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and pita wedges.
- cilantro: I topped my bowl for pictures with some chopped cilantro for a bit more color!