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This Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Yogurt Sauce was created in partnership with the dairy farm families of New England. All opinions are 100% ours.

Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce


If you’ve ever been to New York City, chances are you’ve seen people waiting in long lines stretching almost an entire city block – just to buy lunch at one of The Halal Guys food trucks. The Halal Guys are best known for their platters and gyros filled with tender, grilled Halal chicken and seasoned rice, served with a creamy white sauce.

The good news is that you won’t need to make a special trip to NYC to enjoy all of the fantastic flavors in our Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Yogurt Sauce! While the original food truck recipe is a closely guarded secret – I think our recipe today is a very close copycat.

Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are marinated overnight in Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon zest and spices including oregano, cumin and coriander. The yogurt really helps tenderize the poultry, and the chicken gets completely infused with all of the wonderful, spicy flavors! This grilled chicken is so delicious – even if you aren’t making the full cart-style meal – this is a chicken marinade you’ll want to make again and again!

Halal Chicken Marinade

The cooked Halal Cart-Style Chicken is served alongside a flavorful seasoned rice, chopped lettuce and tomatoes – then slathered with a wonderful creamy white sauce made with yogurt, cucumber, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic and dill. We also drizzled on a red and spicy Harissa sauce for a little extra heat.


Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce

We even took some inspiration from the original food trucks by serving our Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Yogurt Sauce in a round, aluminum pan – similar to how you’d be served in New York City. This meal is so incredibly delicious, after one taste, I think you’ll understand why this dish has such a following!

Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce


Cooking with Dairy

We’re so thrilled to be partnering again with the dairy farm families of New England in 2018. We eat and cook with all types of dairy because it is delicious and nutritious, and we can’t wait to share some of our favorite recipes made with dairy.

Our daughter absolutely loves drinking milk!  And as a parent, I feel good about serving milk and other dairy products to my family because it is farm-fresh, and a natural source of high-quality protein and other nutrients.

We also enjoy supporting local farm families with our dairy purchases. The local New England dairy farmers are hard working families who have a positive impact on our local communities.

For more information about the dairy farm families of New England, school nutrition, and health and wellness topics, please visit New England Dairy & Food Council and Must Be the Milk.

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Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce

Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Yogurt Sauce

  • Prep Time: 8 hours 90 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings


Although this recipe does take some time to prepare, it is well worth the effort! Much of the prep for this Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Yogurt Sauce can be done a day ahead of time, including cooking the rice and making the sauce – so when you are ready to eat, all you’ll need to do is grill the chicken, reheat the rice, and assemble your plate.



pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

1½ cups full-fat Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon finely ground fresh garlic

Zest of one lemon (but not the juice), see note below*

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

White Yogurt Sauce

2 small mini cucumbers

2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt

¼ cup mayonnaise

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons finely ground fresh garlic

½ teaspoon dried dill

½ teaspoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup Jasmine rice

1 teaspoon ground curry powder

½ teaspoon white pepper

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1½ cups homemade chicken stock

Kosher salt to taste

For Serving

Pita bread

Shredded iceberg lettuce

Fresh tomatoes, diced or cut into wedges

Harissa sauce, jarred or see our homemade recipe here

4 tablespoons olive oil, to cook chicken


Remove all visible fat from thighs and cut into one-inch pieces.

In a large bowl, mix all marinade ingredients and add chicken and stir with a wooden spoon or tongs to make sure all pieces are covered.

Spoon into a gallon zip lock bag and marinate overnight up to 24 hours.

The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated.

Grate the cucumbers on the large holes on a box grater and squeeze out all liquid and discard the liquid. You should be left with ½ cup of cuccumber. Add this to a food processor along with all other sauce ingredients and blend until the cucumber pieces are finely incorporated into the sauce. Refrigerate until needed.

If you are following our Harissa recipe, make that now or use store bought.

The following day, about 45 minutes before serving, cook the rice and chicken.

In a medium sauce pan with a tight-fitting lid, add olive oil and heat to medium heat. Add rice and cook for five minutes stirring often with a wooden spoon. Add spices and cook one minute then carefully add stock. (Mixture will bubble up so be careful). Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat to low and cook for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered for five minutes then fluff with a fork.

While rice is cooking, in a large heavy bottomed skillet with high sides, heat one tablespoon of oil over high heat. Remove marinating chicken to a bowl to make it easier to use and cook one quarter of the chicken by placing one piece at a time into the hot oil and cook for a minute or two on each side, keeping marinade stuck onto the chicken (do not rinse off). Do not crowd pan or they will steam and not brown.

As each batch is done, start another batch with additional oil and chicken until all of the chicken is cooked. I had to stop half way through to wipe the pan clean of burned bits.

To serve, in a traditional aluminum to-go container or on a dinner plate, partition cooked chicken, cooked rice, lettuce and tomato and pita bread. Drizzle the white sauce over the chicken, lettuce and tomato and drizzle the Harissa over the chicken and the rice.


*The chicken needs to marinate overnight. Do not put any acid such as lemon juice in the marinade or the chicken will be mushy and opaque when cooked. (If using lemon juice, the longest you should marinate any meat is three hours.) Using yogurt instead of lemon juice allows the mixture to sit for 24 hours and really absorb all of the spice flavors.

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Halal Cart-Style Chicken with White Yogurt Sauce - A delicious copycat recipe that tastes just like the popular New York City food trucks.


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  • Reuben B Alejandro wrote:

    Made it for my family. They loved it. Great work!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks so much Reuben – so glad the recipe was a hit!

  • Shaun Mathews wrote:

    This is a great recipe. Just did this recipe over the weekend. Prep was not that long and the marinade on the chicken really made this recipe work. It may not be halal chicken and rice you get from carts but it is similar

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Shaun – glad you enjoyed the recipe.

  • Elisa Sciaroni – Huebner wrote:

    So you do not publish my comments but you don’t allow to modify for further clarification.????

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Elisa – We do moderate comments due to spam issues and I just responded to your initial feedback (however, I just noticed that you typed your email as – rather than – so it’s probable that you didn’t receive the notification. If you’d like to share further feedback, please let us know.

  • Elisa wrote:

    I am sorry doll, but your method to cook the chicken in large heavy bottomed skillet with high sides was a complete failure. Chicken stuck and yes was using good quality oil and le creuset.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback Elisa – sorry you weren’t happy with the recipe.

  • Brian wrote:

    I honestly don’t know if this person has ever had real Halal before. For the record, I’m a good cook and can follow any recipe and I’m sad I followed this one.
    The recipe for the rice was awful. Nothing remotely like what you get with Halal. I had to throw it out. Disgusting. Terrible flavor palette.
    The chicken was salvageable. Nice flavor but why the yogurt? It made it unnecessarily messy. I’ve never seen a cart or restaurant put yogurt covered chicken on the griddle, so why suggest that?
    I’d correct this recipe thusly:
    1) replace yogurt with olive oil and marinate with lemon juice, kinda like real Halal places do.
    2) cook chicken whole and dice then return to pan like real Halal places do. Stop making it harder than it has to be.
    3) just make jasmine rice. Don’t get fancy.
    4) enjoy or put in a wrap or pita.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for feedback Brian!

  • Neha Dahiya wrote:

    Looks really delicious and would love to try it. I noticed that the recipe says to cook the marinated chicken in hot oil on high heat for a minute or two on both sides.
    I had a question for clarification. Is this adequate time to fully cook the chicken?
    Thanks much

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Neha – The chicken is cut into bite-sized pieces so over very high heat, that should be sufficient. But of course, if you need to cook it longer, please do so. Hope that helps!

  • Andrew wrote:

    I have to say that I worked for 3 years in the building where the “Halal guys” carts set up, and I have often tried to imitate their creation with little success. This is by far the closest I have come, and it’s really delicious. The rice I think is actually better than what they have on the cart.
    My only addition was I chopped an onion, a few bell peppers and some carrot and let them cook in a little oil for about half an hour over low heat and mixed that in with the final product. Most of the carts offer the veggies as well now.

    Truly terrific recipe though. I have bookmarked the link and this will be my absolute go to for this.

    Great job!

    • Martha wrote:

      Wow – Thank you so much Andrew! We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe. And – we’ll have to try the vegetables the next time ourselves – it sounds delicious! Thanks again and have a great weekend!

  • Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes wrote:

    This looks utterly delicious! I love the way you recreated these well-loved flavors at home. No trip to NYC required, lol!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Katie! (No road trip to NYC required…unless you want to of course!)

  • Becky wrote:

    Sounds really good, can’t wait until grilling season. One question, can you substitute chicken breasts or tenderloins instead?

    • Martha wrote:

      Absolutely Becky!

  • Kristy wrote:

    Oooh yum! Thank you for this, I’ve been looking for some new recipes to expand my repertoire and this looks amazing. I miss Indian and Greek food so much since we’ve moved to the country, going to have to learn to make my favorite dishes myself and instead of being intimidating, this looks pretty straightforward.

    • Martha wrote:

      We hope you love the recipe Kristy!

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