Have you ever been to New York? Have you had some of the awesome food from the Halal Guys? They started out with a food cart on 53rd and 6th in NYC and has since added more carts and some restaurants. They are even franchising and opening some restaurants in California, Chicago, and a few other cities.
The main dish they serve is a plate of chicken and lamb with rice. Throw on some lettuce, flat bread, and white sauce and you have a thing of beauty. It is some of the best food you will ever eat and you get a ton of food for just a few bucks. There is usually a line waiting for their food but it is well worth the wait.
Over the last few years I have taken it upon myself to recreate the recipe and I get closer and closer every time. I am always tweaking the recipe a bit but for the most part what I am about to share is pretty close to the real thing. Tweak the recipe as you see fit. If you like more garlic, add more garlic. If you like more ginger add more ginger. But this tastes pretty close to what you will get in NYC.
For the chicken:
12 chicken thighs trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (or smaller). You can add some chopped up lamb too for added flavor.
1 tsp turmeric
4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3 garlic cloves, crushed/chopped
2 tsp crushed ginger
1/2 tsp onion powder
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup greek-style yogurt
freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil
Cut the chicken into small pieces, mix everything together and let it sit overnight. To cook just heat up your cast iron skillet on medium high heat, add some oil to cover the pan, add the meat, and cook. And yes, I use a drywall knife. It works great for scraping all the goodness off the pan and is awesome for chopping the meat into smaller pieces as you cook. You might have to cook it in a couple batches but you can just cook it until it is done. You don’t need it to get super browned or anything, just cooked through. It should take about 10-15 minutes depending on how much you put in your pan and how hot your pan is. Keep the first batch warm in the oven while you cook the second batch. Or you can just start eating if you are hungry.
For the rice:
I always cook too much rice but it is great to have around for leftovers. I use basmati rice for this recipe but I am sure jasmine would work just as well. Instead of water I use chicken broth to add more flavor to the rice. Add 2 TBSP of butter, about 1/4 tsp turmeric, and if you like it nice and yellow you can add a sprinkle or two of annatto powder. And of course you want to salt your rice. Cook until done.
Halal Guys white sauce recipe:
This is something that has been highly debated for years. Many people claim there is yogurt or sour cream or cucumber or something else like that in the sauce. But they are wrong. Don’t believe me? Halal Guys started packaging their sauce and they needed to list the ingredients on the package: soybean and/or canola oil, egg yolk, vinegar, water, salt, sugar, natural flavors, black pepper, disodium EDTA, xantham gum and sodium benzoate.
The first ingredients? Oil and egg. AKA mayonnaise. Of course I don’t have disodium EDTA or xanthan gum or sodium benzoate. And I don’t know what the natural flavors are. But here is what I do:
2 cups mayonnaise
2 TBSP white vinegar
1/4 cup water (basically to thin it down a bit)
If you like a bit more tang add more vinegar. If you want it thicker add less water. Just mix it all together and you are good to go.
To serve just dish up some of the meat and rice. Add in some iceberg lettuce and flatbread and cover with white sauce. They also serve it with some red sauce that will melt your face off but I never use it. And don’t skip the lettuce!!! It is amazing how much it adds to the dish.
That’s it. Nice and simple and one of the best meat dishes you will ever eat.