As a native New Yorker, I grew up eating food from the halal carts that are on every corner in the city. This summery coriander and cumin chicken pita with cucumber salad is inspired by the flavors from these carts, using a few techniques that make it easy for an outdoor get-together. Everything can be prepared beforehand, with the marinated chicken, cucumber salad and white sauce coming together quickly the day of for a flavorful dish minus all the hassle.
For the chicken pita: Combine the oil, cumin, oregano, coriander, cayenne, ginger, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon salt in a medium bowl. Add the chicken thighs and rub with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and ideally 24 hours.
For the cucumber salad: Add the dill, white vinegar, cucumber, tomato and onion to a small bowl and stir until the cucumber and tomato are evenly coated in the vinegar and dill. Season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
For the white sauce: Combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, white vinegar, garlic powder and onion powder to a small bowl and mix until combined.
Prepare a grill for medium heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting excess drip off, and drizzle with canola oil before placing on the grill. Cook for 6 minutes on one side, then flip and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 degrees F, about 4 minutes. Slice the chicken about 1/2 inch thick.
Toast the pita on the grill for about 1 minute per side and assemble the pita with the chicken, cucumber salad and white sauce on top.
If you don’t have access to a grill, you can roast the chicken in the oven with canola oil at 400 degrees F until fully cooked, 15 to 20 minutes.
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