Egypt: Halal Guys Chicken and Rice

halal guys chicken and rice

My Version: Halal Guys Chicken and Rice

halal guys chicken and rice

The Original

Most of you who know me also know I have a passion for NYC.  The first time I visited wasn’t until I was about 35 years old, but since then I’ve been there at least a dozen or more times.  I love the energy, the culture, and especially the food.   I could spend all day going from eatery to eatery stuffing my face.

The thing about New York City is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get incredible food (more on my favorite Frugal New York Eats).  Food bargains are everywhere.  Some of the best offerings are under $10.  In fact, one of our favorites is the Halal Guys Food Cart on 53rd and 6th.   Their chicken and rice plate is only around $6, and it’s worth the long wait in line.   Every once in a while, I crave it and nothing Mankato comes close.

Their fare is billed as “Middle Eastern” so I tweeted them to see which nationality, specifically, to assign to their yummy food.  I felt really special when they responded to my tweet.  The answer?  Egyptian.  So with that, I cross the first African dish off my checklist.

Egypt: Halal Guys Chicken and Rice
Cuisine: Egyptian
For the Chicken: 2 Tbsp. lemon juice 1 tsp. dried oregano ½ tsp. ground coriander ½ tsp. cumin 3 garlic cloves, minced ¼ C. olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (the kind in the bag work well) For the Rice: 2 Tbsp. butter ½ tsp. turmeric ¼ tsp. cumin 1½ C. Basmati or Texmati rice 2½ C. chicken broth Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper For the Sauce: 1 C. mayo 2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish ½ tsp. salt ½ tsp. cracked black pepper 1 Tbsp. lemon juice ¼ C. white vinegar 1 C. Ranch dressing ⅓ C. Greek yogurt ⅓ C. sour cream 2 Tbsp. white sugar 3 tsp. dry dill weed
  • For the chicken, whisk together the lemon juice, oregano, coriander, cumin, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Place inside a crock pot and pour sauce over it. Cover and cook until chicken is done (4 hours on high, 6-8 hours on low).
  • For the rice, heat butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Saute the rice for a couple minutes together with the tumeric and cumin, until it begins to brown slightly. Add the chicken broth, cover and reduce heat. Cook 20-25 minutes until liquid has been absorbed.
  • Serve with shredded lettuce, tomato wedges, and pita.


Notes:  The Halal Guys sauce is SO yummy.  It’s a great dip or salad dressing too.  The above recipe makes a whole quart.  Cut it in half if you don’t think you’ll be using it for anything else.  Otherwise, it does keep in the refrigerator for a couple weeks.

halal guys chicken and rice

Thanks to The Gothamist for the sauce recipe

I first posted the Halal Guys Chicken and Rice recipe on


Last night I was one hot mess. Literally.

one hot mess

Last night I was one hot mess.  Literally.  Trying a dish from Burkina Faso* called “Riz Gras” had me in the kitchen with bags of ice on my face while Scott googled “what to do when you eat a habanero pepper.”   It wasn’t pretty, and it certainly didn’t feel good.

What I assume happened was that I used my hands to remove the seeds from the peppers.  The oils from the pepper spread to my face and neck as well before the burning action started.  At first it wasn’t so bad, then the pain started building and building.  Once it did, there was no turning back.

We found out that the only thing that works to neutralize the oil are dairy products like milk, yogurt, and sour cream.  Oh yeah, and waiting it out while you’re left feeling like your face is going to burn off.  Scott wanted to take a picture of me with Yoplait Light Red Velvet Cupcake yogurt smeared all over my face but I wouldn’t let him.  I’ll show you my cooking failures, but I won’t let you see me like that.  Call me vain if you wish.

I knew when I started this project that not every dish would turn out the way I wanted it to, but I never imagined a failure like this.  I swore off this crazy project for a couple of hours while I was in a pepper spray-like pain.  Yes, it took at least that long for the pain to subside.  What the hell was I thinking?  Who is stupid enough to work with peppers without checking their rating on the Scoville scale?  That would be me (just in case you’re wondering, a habanero ranks nearly as high as pepper of death, the ghost pepper, as well U.S.-Grade Pepper Spray).   Who knew?!  Silly me for not doing my homework.  NOW I know.

The upside?  Between the capsaicin in the pepper and all the dairy products I smeared in my face to neutralize the oil I think I may have just discovered an inexpensive way to give myself a chemical peel at home.  I should have a fresh glow for quite a while now.  If you see me, let me know how great I look.  I paid dearly for it.

Burkina Faso I will come back to you.  I may be one hot mess, but it’s not your fault. I’ll make a dish that does your country justice.  I don’t want this to be my only memory of you.  But I’ll never touch a habanero pepper again.


*My friend Amy inspired me to try a recipe from Burkina Faso this week.  To celebrate her site’s tenth birthday, she opted to run an online fundraiser to purchase wells in Burkina Faso for clean drinking water.  That’s just one example of how big her heart is.  I want to be like her when I grow up. (I donated a small amount to the cause and you can too: Well of Hope).

chile temperature chart_04

Kim Cooks the World


I’m Kim.  I’m 43 years old, have a husband and two kids, and live in the midwest.  I’m like your average mother and wife, but I have an above average desire to try new and exotic foods.

My first trip to Europe was at age 17, when I visited Spain for two weeks.  At that time I had never been overseas before, and coming from small-town Minnesota my exposure to different foods and cultures was pretty limited.  The town in which I lived had just a handful of restaurants with virtually no variety.  There was a drive-in, a Dairy Queen, a Hardee’s, a restaurant by the lake where you could order a “nicer” meal like chicken or steak, and a couple greasy-spoon cafes where retired old men drank coffee and gossiped over breakfast.   The farthest I had been from home was a trip to Disneyworld with my family.  That trip forever changed my outlook on life.  I discovered how much fun it was to break out of my comfort zone and see how others live.  To challenge myself to do things I normally wouldn’t and try new things.  Ever since then I’ve had the itch to travel, learn more about people and their cultures, and of course– taste new foods.

Since I’m a now busy mom of two, time and money make it hard to get away as often as I’d like.  Plus, I still live in a small Midwestern city. That makes it difficult to find restaurants that offer more than just a burger and wings on a regular basis.  However, that’s no excuse.  I can still explore the foods of the world… all without leaving my own kitchen.  Better than that, I can expose my kids to the world beyond that in which they live.  While I’ve sampled some pretty exotic foods, most of them have been in restaurants.  I want to learn to these cooking techniques into my own kitchen and share family -friendly recipes with all of you.

Come with me as I go beyond spaghetti and tacos and sample some more exotic foods and recipes from the countries around the world.  I’ll be trying one from each country.

My goals with this project are to:

  • Try foods that are new to me and my family
  • Expose my kids to different flavors and cuisines
  • Learn about other countries and cultures
  • Experiment with new cooking methods

I started with a Guide to officially recognized countries.  Some of these countries I’ve never heard of before, and there is no “official” list of countries as not every country recognizes one another.   As I cook, I don’t want to always rely on internet research.  Whever possible, I want to find recipes straight from their sources and to meet new people and try new ingredients.