I remember hearing about Halal Carts when they entered the New York scene a few years ago. Some people I knew went bonkers for it and I never understood why or what was so special about a chicken rice plate with white sauce. When I went to visit New York last year, friends recommended I visit the famous Halal Cart but I couldn't make time for it. Looking back, I really wish I went.
My recent trip to the Halal Cart located in FiDi, SF has got me wanting more. The chicken rice plate with white sauce was very memorable and is now one of my ultimate comfort foods. I have no idea how it compares to New York but friends tell me it's comparable.
I knew I had to try to re-create this dish at home, so with a simple Google search pops up Serious Eats' Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce recipe.
I made the following modifications to the recipe:  using white wine vinegar instead of normal white vinegar,  omitted parsley for the white sauce,  used only olive oil,  did not butter the pita bread, and  adding the roasted chicken oil drippings into the rice, which gave it a great boost of richness in flavor - I would highly recommend this. We also mixed in some sorrel with the iceberg to give it a nice lemony kick.
The dish turned out absolutely delicious and is now one of our favorite recipes! It is incredibly satisfying and the flavors just dance in your mouth. You get the nicely seasoned chicken and buttery rice, then the sweet, tangy & creamy white sauce, heat from the harissa and the cool from the iceberg lettuce.
I like this almost as equally as the Halal Cart I visited. I like our homemade version a bit more because I'm using high quality ingredients and can make it cater to our tastes. We'll be making this often for dinner.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!