March 25, 2011

Chicken & Rice {inspired by 53rd & 6th Halal Cart, NYC}

Who wakes up at 7:00 AM on a Saturday morning to intense cravings for chicken & rice?
And not any type of chicken & rice, mind you.
The best chicken & rice street food ever, a la 53rd & 6th Halal Cart.

The inspiration.

These sudden cravings are not uncommon. Unfortunately, I don't have the option of jumping onto the next metro train to 7th (or the next flight to NYC for that matter) to inhale eat my delicious bowl of chicken, rice, and crack-laced white sauce. But rather than sulking in my misery, I decided to do the next best thing: re-create the deliciousness in my very own kitchen. (For the record, 53rd & 6th Halal Cart needs to: (1) turn into a truck and (2) trek out to LA because that is evidently the "in" thing to do these days. I hope you get this message, thanks).

Yet the million dollar question remains. Everyone who had the "privilege" of tasting this fine creation knows that while there's nothing extraordinary about the chicken, lamb and rice, the mysterious, trade-secret white sauce they use to top your meal, like perfect icing on a cake, transforms the meal into something else*. Whatta doozy. Thanks to Batter Licker, I got a little help.

*While it may be true I only consumed this meal well past midnight, I assure you, this is the best food offered on the City's streets. (Can I get an amen?)

Chicken recipe 
  • 4 chicken breasts (or lamb)
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp. cumin
  • 3 tbsp. paprika
  • 3 tbsp. poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut up chicken breast into thin chunks.  Add chicken, 3 tbsp. olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, cumin, paprika, poultry seasoning in a large Zip-loc bag and marinate for as long as overnight and short as 20 min.  

2. Heat remaining olive oil in large pan and add marinated meat.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Set aside.

Yellow Rice recipe
  • 2 cups white basmati rice
  • 4 cups water (or chicken broth)
  • 2 tbsp. tumeric
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning

1. Heat oil in large pot.  Add onions and cook until translucent (about 3 min). 

2. Add rice, Italian seasoning, and tumeric and stir, coating rice evenly.

3. Stir in water or chicken broth, bring to a boil, and cover pot.

4. Simmer until rice is tender (about 15-20 min).

A mystery, indeed.

Special Red Sauce - aka - Sriracha sauce. Yes, I may have cheated a little.
Special White Sauce 
This is where I disappoint you all.  While I can tell you what ingredients I used, I will not be able to tell you how much.  For those of you who know exactly what the sauce tastes like, I suggest you do what I did and experiment with different flavors.  Good luck!

  • Greek yogurt
    • I used TJ's Organic Low-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • Light mayo 
    • I used Smart Balance
  • Cucumber juice
    • I put two Persian cucumbers in a food processor until it became liquid form, added salt, and strained it through a paper towel just to keep the juice.
  • Ranch dressing
    • Good ol' Hidden Valley
  •  1/2 lemon (for juice)
  • white wine vinegar
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • tahini 
  • salt
  • sugar
  • water
Suffice it to say, the sauce came out amazingly! I was really impressed with the final result, although it did take me a ridiculously long time to concoct.

*EDIT* White sauce recipe here!

Final step: Plate a few spoonfuls of rice, top with cooked chicken, drizzle on the special white sauce, and red sauce, toss some chopped iceberg lettuce on the side for good measure and serve!

** For those of you who want a better recipe for the white sauce, I'll give it another try and re-post the recipe... OR you can just come over and watch me attempt magic with your very own eyes. :) Bon appetit!


  1. i love you dohs. so proud you recreated the mystery sauce :) i admire your passion & patience to do that (as i forever store the containers of the sauce from NY trips because they're too precious to throw away). maybe YOU can start the first c&r cart in LA. lines down the block at 3am. inhaling the crack laced sauce. telling me to chew before i swallow :) oh our NY street memories. miss you dearly :) -shirbs

  2. oh PS not sure how much sauce you made, but there isn't NEARLY enough sauce on that chicken!! :) -Shibs

  3. Thanks, Shirbs! :)

    I was conservative with the sauce for the photo, but you gotta believe me that I piled it on when I actually ate the food.

  4. that looks delicious.. its 9:30pm and i'm seriously tempted to drive out to ny (i'm in jersey) to pick some up now

  5. Did you ever try to repost with the amounts of ingredients for the white sauce? If so, how can I find it?

  6. I haven't tried the recipe again - I'll try to do it again sometime soon. Thanks for following up on this! And thanks for reading! :)

  7. Thanks for writing and exploring amazing recipes :D

  8. Did you use chicken broth or water to cook the rice? Which one would you recommend?

  9. I just used water, but I bet using chicken broth would make the rice more flavorful!

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