If you’ve visited Midtown Manhattan, you must have seen the food carts featuring Halal-style chicken and rice. Moist, savory chicken pieces are cooked right on the cart griddle, deftly chopped with the side edge of the long, wide metal spatula. The edges of the chicken near that crunchy-crispy-fried stage and then tossed with a white, tangy sauce. This is served over golden-colored and cumin-spiced rice with a side of salad and wedge of flatbread.

The lines at lunch can be excruciatingly long, as the delicious smell of the chicken being grilled can travel far and wide.

This recipe for Halal Chicken and Rice with White Sauce comes from Serious Eats’ brand new book, Serious Eats: A Comprehensive Guide to Making & Eating Delicious Food Wherever You Are. (whew… that was a long title)

I’ve hacked their recipe to use your leftover Thanksgiving turkey – because we all know that next week you’ll quickly tire of turkey sandwiches.

Halal Cart Style Turkey and Rice with White Sauce Recipe

-If turkey's not your thing, try this with cooked rotisserie style chicken.
-If you can't find Harissa-style hot sauce, regular ol' Tabasco will sub just fine. Serious Eats suggests to toaste the pita or flatbread, but I prefer my flatbread soft and warmed through via the microwave instead. To keep the bread steaming hot (i.e. not dried out), I wrap them in a barely damp towel and then put them in the microwave.
-For Gluten-Free, substitute with GF flatbread of your choice.
-For a healthier version, substitute light olive oil for the butter and use non-fat Greek yogurt and low-fat mayonnaise (or skip the mayo altogether and use Greek yogurt only)
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 - 6



  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain or Basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper


  • 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
  • salt and pepper


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup turkey drippings (or chicken broth)
  • 2 pounds cooked, leftover turkey, shredded


  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • flatbread or pita bread, cut into wedges
  • Harissa-style hot sauce (or hot sauce of your choice, like Tabasco)


  • To cook the Rice: Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pot. Add the turmeric and cumin and cook 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook, stirring freqently, until the rice is lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth, season to taste with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring to boil. Cover, reduce to simmer and cook for 15 minutes without disturbing. Remove from heat, keeping the cover on, and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • For the White Sauce: Combine all the ingredients together.
  • For the Turkey: Heat a large saute pan or frying pan over medium-high heat with the butter. When bubbling, add in the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the turkey drippings (or chicken broth) and bring to simmer. Add in the leftover turkey and cook for 1 minute just to warm through. Remove from heat, stir in 1/2 of the White Sauce.
  • Wrap the stack of pita bread or flatbread in damp towel. Microwave on medium for 60 seconds to soften and heat through
  • To serve, divide the lettice, tomato and red onion amongst each plate. Spoon rice onto each plate and top with the turkey. Add a spoonful of the remaining White Sauce onto each plate (you can use this as salad dressing for the salad or just spoon on top of the turkey). Serve with Harissa-style hot sauce.


Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About Serious Eats book:

(from back cover)

“Ed Levine and the editors of food blog SeriousEats.com bring you the first Serious Eats book, a celebration of America’s favorite foods, from pizza to barbecue, tacos to sliders, doughnuts to egg sandwiches, and much more. Serious Eats crackles with the energy and conviction that has made the website the passionate, discerning authority on all things delicious since its inception in 2006.

Are you a Serious Eater?

1. Do you plan your day around what you might eat?
2. When you are heading somewhere, anywhere, will you go out of your way to eat something delicious?
3. When you daydream, do you often find yourself thinking about food?
4. Do you live to eat, rather than eat to live?
5. Have you strained relationships with friends or family by dictating the food itinerary—changing everyone’s plans to try a potentially special burger or piece of pie?

Ed Levine, whom Ruth Reichl calls the “missionary of the delicious,” and his SeriousEats.com editors present their unique take on iconic foods made and served around the country. From house-cured, hand-cut corned beef sandwiches at Jake’s in Milwaukee to fried-to-order doughnuts at Shipley’s Do-Nuts in Houston; from fresh clam pizza at Zuppardi’s Pizzeria in West Haven, Connecticut, to Green Eggs and Ham at Huckleberry Bakery and Café in Los Angeles, Serious Eats is a veritable map of some of the best food they have eaten nationwide.

Covering fast food, family-run restaurants, food trucks, and four-star dining establishments, all with zero snobbery, there is plenty here for every food lover, from coast to coast and everywhere in between. Featuring 400 of the Serious Eats team’s greatest food finds and 50 all-new recipes, this is your must-read manual for the pursuit of a tasty life.

You’ll learn not only where to go for the best grub, but also how to make the food you crave right in your own kitchen, with original recipes including Neapolitan Pizza (and dough), the Ultimate Sliders (which were invented in Kansas), Caramel Sticky Buns, Southern Fried Chicken, the classic Reuben, and Triple-Chocolate Adult Brownies. You’ll also hone your Serious Eater skills with tips that include signs of deliciousness, regional style guides (think pizza or barbecue), and Ed’s hypotheses—ranging from the Cuban sandwich theory to the Pizza Cognition Theory—on what makes a perfect bite.”

Buy Serious Eats book on Amazon for $18.15