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Halal-Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce

December 14, 2011

Atlanta doesn’t have a lot of street food.  That is changing, but it’s more of the food truck fusion

halal chicken and rice

variety right now, not like the street food in bigger cities that have roots from around the world.  This recipe is one of those street foods and it’s a Halal-style chicken and rice mixture served with toasty pita and lettuce, tomato and a creamy sauce.  You can make a sandwich or piece together bites from all the toppings.  Despite what looks like a long ingredient list, this is pretty simple to make and only takes basic ingredients and seasonings.  It’s a really hearty dinner that makes great leftovers.  This recipe comes from Serious Eats and serves 4-6.

For the chicken:

2 T lemon juice

1 T chopped fresh oregano

1/2 t ground coriander

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)

1/4 c olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (6 to 8 thighs)

1 T vegetable or canola oil

 

For the rice:

2 T unsalted butter

1/2 t turmeric

1/4 t ground cumin

1 1/2 c Basmati rice

2 1/2 c chicken broth (or a mixture of broth and water)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:

1/2 c mayonnaise

1/2 c Greek yogurt

1 T sugar  (I used more like 1 teaspoon and felt it was plenty sweet.  Skip it if you’re unsure)

2 T white vinegar

1 t lemon juice

1/4 c chopped fresh parsley

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded

1 large tomato, cut into wedges

Fluffy pocketless pita bread, brushed in butter, lightly toasted

Harissa-style hot sauce (I used sriracha in a pinch)

Directions:

For the chicken:  Combine the lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic, and olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth.  Season the marinade to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Place the chicken in a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag and add half of the marinade (reserve the remaining marinade in the refrigerator).  Turn the chicken to coat, seal the bag, and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours, turning occasionally to redistribute the marinade.  Marinade for at least 1 hour and no longer than 4.

Remove the chicken from the bag and season with kosher salt and pepper, going heavy on the pepper.  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 on the first side, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 6 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Roughly chop the chicken into 1/2- to 1/4-inch chunks. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the remaining marinade, cover loosely with plastic, and set aside.

For the rice: Meanwhile, 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 chicken broth. 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.

For the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, and 2 teaspoons black pepper. Whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt.

To serve: Return the entire contents of the chicken bowl (chicken, marinade, and all juices) to the skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. To serve, divide the rice, lettuce, tomato, and toasted pita bread evenly among four to six plates. Pile the chicken on top of the rice. Top with the white sauce and hot sauce. Serve immediately, passing extra sauce at the table.

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