NYC Style Street Cart Chicken and Rice Recipe

New York City is the city that never sleeps, and luckily for me, is the city that never stops eating. No matter who you are, or what you want, you can definitely find it in NYC.  I remember randomly going through a shrimp cocktail phase. I loved the fact that I could come home after a night out,  order it from our neighborhood diner, and have it promptly delivered in the middle of the night. No questions asked.

We always had our “go to” places for our after-hours cravings. Some of our faves were our favorite Margarita slice in the East Village, or falafels from Mamoun’s, but the meal that always hit the spot was the halal street cart chicken and rice. Warm buttery rice with grilled spicy chicken and the famous white sauce doused on top, accompanied by an unassuming iceberg lettuce salad on the side, was the perfect end to a perfect night.

After moving across the country, I did manage to find the street cart chicken in downtown San Francisco, and we also got the Halal Guys in the bay area (yay!). Ironically it wasn’t difficult to find my chicken and rice dish, but the most elusive element was finding the time to go! Luckily I found this recipe that inspired me to make my own version at home. Remember, similar to how each cart has their own flavor and personalization of their spice mix to their dish, feel free to adjust the spices to your own taste!

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NYC Style Street Cart Chicken and Rice Recipe

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1- 1.5 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (6 to 8 thighs)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil (for frying)

For the rice:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups Basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or less)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2  teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve (optional):

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
  • Fluffy pocketless pita bread, brushed in butter, lightly toasted, and cut into 1 × 3-inch strips
  • Harissa-style hot sauce
  • chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Method:

1.  Marinate the chicken: Combine the lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic, and olive oil in a blender. Blend until smooth. Season the marinade to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the chicken and marinade in a bowl and mix, making sure chicken is coated.  Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the oil in a 12-inch heavy-bottomed cast iron or stainless-steel skillet over medium-high heat until it is lightly smoking. Add the chicken pieces and cook without disturbing until they are lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes per side.  Transfer the chicken to a casserole dish. Cover and cook in oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, take out and put on counter to cool, keeping lid on.

3. Make the rice:  Melt the butter over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the turmeric and cumin and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Add the water (or chicken broth if using). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes without disturbing. Remove from the heat and allow to rest until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

4. While rice and chicken are cooking, make the sauce. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, and black pepper. Whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.

5. To serve: Place chicken on cutting board and cut into small pieces. Take rice and arrange on plate. Top with chicken, white sauce, hot sauce, and chopped cilantro (if desired).  Serve with  chopped iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and pita on the side if desired.

Enjoy!

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Spiced Roasted Chicken with Garbanzo Beans and Cherry Tomatoes with Yoghurt Sauce

Have you ever noticed how certain things can trigger different emotions? Maybe you have an outfit that makes you feel amazing so you can walk into a meeting with confidence and authority. Or perhaps you hear an old song on the radio and it brings back fond memories of your first school dance. For me, all my emotions revolve around food. If I’m happy, I eat, if I’m sad, I eat. Even if I’m happy for someone, I make something and go eat with them.  

I have a recipe that brings me utter joy, and a recipe everyone will thank me for. It is a recipe that will save you on a weekday when you don’t have time to cook. It is a recipe that you can cook and take to a potluck or bring to a friend. It is a recipe that the whole family will enjoy.  It is delicious, nutritious and has minimal preparation and cook time. I will not say much more about this recipe but will only relay my emotions about it:  I feel  love that I have found it, joy when eating it, and now happiness that I can pass it along.

Spiced Roasted Chicken with Garbanzo Beans and Cherry Tomatoes with Yoghurt Sauce



Inspired by a recipe from Epicurious

INGREDIENTS:
3-4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1-2 teaspoon ground cumin
cayenne powder to taste
½-1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lowfat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
4 chicken breast halves with bones or 12 drumsticks (I like to use drumsticks because easier for kids to grab and eat)
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 12-ounce container cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh coriander, divided
Cous Cous, Rice, or Pita to serve with, if desired

PREPARATION:
1. Preheat oven to 450°. Put olive oil, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne and salt in large bowl and mix. Place chicken inside bowl and mix so it is covered with the mixture. Take out spice covered chicken and place in  roasting tray.
2. Pour chickpeas in same large bowl chicken was in. Put ½ cup coriander in as well and mix around. There should still be a bit of spice inside the bowl to coat the chickpeas. Pour the chickpeas over the chicken in the roasting pan.
3. Put the tomatoes on the chicken and chickpeas in the roasting pan and put in oven at 450F for 30 minutes or until done.
4. While chicken is in oven, put yoghurt in a small bowl and add a ½ – 1 teaspoon of cumin, and cayenne and salt to taste. Add water to thin yogurt to desired consistency. Set aside.
5. If desired, make rice or cous cous or salad to serve with chicken.
6. Take chicken out of oven when done, and sprinkle with remaining coriander. Serve with rice or cous cous or pita and yogurt sauce.