Halal Chicken and Rice

Halal Chicken and Rice

Reading Time: 3 minutes

There aren’t a lot of recipes that are extremely involved that I’m willing to cook. But this recipe, also known as Halal-style chicken, is worth the time and effort. Plus, it’s not difficult at all.  

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. Get the marinade ingredients ready for the chicken and, while it’s marinating in the refrigerator (one to four hours), concentrate on the rest of the recipe.  

Not only is this recipe healthy, it’s a good looker on the plate. Yes, there are a lot of flavors going on, but they meld together seamlessly. I have served this crave-worthy dish to my family for supper. It transitions well into easy entertaining for friends, too. Do yourself a “flavor” and try it, won’t you? 

STREET CART-STYLE CHICKEN AND RICE WITH YOGURT LEMON SAUCE 

This recipe is my adaptation of one shared by a colleague.  

INGREDIENTS 

For the chicken: 

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs and breasts, or either one 


Marinade: 

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice 
  • Palmful of chopped fresh oregano  
  • Generous ½ teaspoon ground coriander 
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons) 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper  


For the rice: 

  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric 
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 and ½ cups jasmine, basmati, or long-grain rice 
  • 2 and ½ cups low sodium, fat-free chicken broth 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 


 For the yogurt lemon sauce: 

Go to taste on the ingredients. Add a bit less mayonnaise for a tangier flavor, or up the lemon juice, etc.  

  • ½ cup real mayonnaise 
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons clear vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more  
  • Handful of chopped fresh parsley 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 


Add-ins to finish the dish: 

  • Iceberg lettuce, shredded 
  • Tomatoes, cut up 
  • Fluffy pita bread 
  • Hot sauce — I use Sambal Oelek but your favorite will work nicely. 


 
INSTRUCTIONS 

For the chicken:  

  • Combine lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic, and olive oil in a blender. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.  
  • Place chicken in a baggie and add half of marinade (reserve remaining marinade in the refrigerator). Turn the chicken to coat, seal bag, and marinate in refrigerator for at least one hour and up to four hours, turning occasionally.  
  • (Important: Don’t marinate chicken longer than four hours or it’ll get a mushy texture. If necessary, remove it from marinade, pat dry, and refrigerate until ready to cook). 
    Remove chicken from bag. Let excess marinade drip off. 
  • Pour a little oil in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned on first side.  
  • Turn over, reduce heat to medium, and cook about 6 minutes, or until done. Don’t overcook or chicken will be dry. Season with more salt and pepper.  
  • Transfer to cutting board to cool. Chop into ½-inch chunks.  
  • Transfer to bowl, add remaining marinade, cover loosely with plastic, and refrigerate while you cook rice and prepare sauce. 
      

For the rice:  

  • Melt butter over medium heat in a pan. Add turmeric and cumin and cook until fragrant but not brown, about one minute.  
  • Add rice and stir to coat. Cook, stirring, until rice is lightly toasted, about four minutes.  
  • Add broth. Season with salt and pepper. Raise heat to high and bring to boil. Cover, reduce to simmer, and cook 15 minutes.  
  • Remove from heat and allow to rest until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes. 
     

For the yogurt lemon sauce:  

Do this a day ahead if you want, and add the parsley right before serving. 

  • Whisk sauce ingredients together. 


HOW TO SERVE CHICKEN 

  • Return chicken and juices to skillet. Cook until heated through.  
  • Divide rice, lettuce and tomato between plates.  
  • Pile chicken on top. Drizzle with sauces. Serve with bread. Serves 4-6. 

GILDING THE LILY: 

Want to add even more “pop” to this dish? Serve with a dollop of roasted red pepper sauce, a quick version of the classic Muhammara dip.  

No real recipe — just put ¼ cup roasted almonds or walnuts into a food processor with one roasted red pepper, a teaspoon or so each of red wine vinegar and finely minced onion, and a drizzle or so of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Basmati vs. jasmine vs. long grain: What’s the difference? 

  • Jasmine rice is originally from Thailand, and this long grain has a floral aroma. It cooks up soft and slightly sticky. 
  • Basmati is nutty-tasting long-grain rice from the Himalayas and Pakistan. It cooks up soft and slightly sticky. 
  • Long grain cooks up drier and more separate. I grew up eating converted long-grain rice, which is steam-pressured before milling. It cooks up fluffy and separate.  


From top to bottom: long-grain converted rice, basmati, and jasmine rice.

Originally published in the April/May 2020 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.

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