Homemade Halal Guys

Four years ago, I visited New York City with some friends I met during my freshman year of college. The experience was amazing and my love for the city grew stronger. Although I am not really friends with the people I traveled with anymore, I have to thank them for introducing me to Halal Guys. I remember my first bite like it was yesterday. The chicken, the lamb, the rice, the lettuce, and best of all… THE SAUCE. On the corner of 53rd and 6th, for a small amount of money, you can indulge in some of the tastiest Middle Eastern food I have ever eaten. My friends from Jersey call it “platters,” but I simply call it “Halal.” 

My poor parents have heard me speak of the Halal Guys for years and have yet to try it. I was watching my favorite YouTube couple, Judy and Benji from itsjudyslife, when I noticed Benji making chicken and rice – Halal style! I was SO excited because I do not frequent NYC, nor did I plan to start, simply for platters. If I could… I would. So, the next best thing is making Halal myself! Obviously, I knew that it would not taste nearly as wonderful as Halal Guys, but I had to give it a shot. Yesterday, my mom and I set out to the grocery for all of the necessary ingredients. I decided to add a side dish that normally does not come with the platters. I know I said I would post recipes on Monday… but it was the holiday and I wanted to spend that time with my family. Below is a list of ingredients and steps that I found on Serious Eats. Thank you to Judy and Benji for posting this recipe on their blog! I will give my review at the end of this post.

For the chicken:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 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 the rice:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups long-grain or Basmati rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce (the best part):
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the curry chickpeas (I added this side dish):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
Pinch of ground cloves
2 cans (15 ounces each) no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons ketchup
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Chopped cilantro and lemon wedges (optional), for serving

For the instructions, please reference the Serious Eats article. Below are pictures from most the steps (I will label each picture that coordinates with a specific step). I did not take these pictures with my professional camera, I took these with my phone camera. Please forgive the poor quality compared to most pictures I post on my blog! As for the curry chickpeas, I use Martha Stewart’s recipe, because I LOVE it. I think it pairs well with the Halal-style chicken and rice.

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Chicken marinade (Step 1 for chicken)
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Chicken cooking on cast iron skillet after marinating for four hours (step 5/6 for chicken)
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While chicken was cooking, I began making the rice. In this photo you can see the rice toasting before adding chicken broth. (Step 3 for rice)

 

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After chicken is cooked, place on a cutting board to rest before cutting into chunks (Step 7 for chicken)
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While rice is cooking and chicken is resting, I began to cook the curry chickpeas. To begin, sweat diced onions and add spices until you can smell the amazing scent! (Steps 1 and 2 for chickpeas)

 

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Add chickpeas, ketchup, and water to pan. Bring to boil and reduce to let the mixture simmer (Steps 3-6 for chickpeas)

 

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While the chickpeas simmer, cut the chicken into small/medium chunks (Second to last step for chicken)

 

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The end result of the white sauce (mixed)
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The final product! Chicken, Rice, Chickpeas, and White Sauce

I am so pleased with the end result of this meal. It was outstanding. The taste (from what I remember) is very similar to Halal Guys. I am sure they would approve of this recipe. My parents LOVED it, too. The meal was a nice change of pace from our typical Italian meals. Thanks to Serious Eats and Martha Stewart for the scrumptious recipes. Please let me know if you choose to make this version of Halal. I would love to hear your reviews.

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