If you’ve been to New York City, you’ve definitely come across food carts selling “chicken over rice.” These food carts, also known as halal carts, were originally run by Egyptian immigrants, and their food quickly became a New York classic. The term halal refers to the methods used to prepare the meat in accordance with Islamic law. The chicken is marinated in a combination of spices and olive oil, then seared in a cast-iron skillet until golden and crispy on all sides. Paired with yellow rice, salad and the famous white sauce, this is street food at its finest.
Put the lemon juice, olive oil, paprika, cumin, coriander, allspice, turmeric, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the chicken and give it a good stir to make sure all the pieces are coated with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate, refrigerated, for at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the skillet. Spread the chicken in a single layer and cook, without stirring, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir the chicken, then continue to cook until the chicken is fully cooked, golden and caramelized on all sides, another 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Serve with yellow rice, white sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and pita.
The chicken will release its juices during cooking and there will be liquid in the skillet. Keep cooking over medium-high heat until the liquid has cooked off. The chicken will be tender on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside.
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