Halal Guys Copycat Chicken and Turmeric Rice w/ Red Chili Sauce and White Sauce

Yes, yes, yes, I know.  A LOT going on in this post.  But HEY when you’re going to do a copycat recipe, I think you should do it right, and regardless of how many recipes I tried to find, no post included every recipe to make this taste just like Halal Guys, Gyro King, etc.  And that was what I wanted!  This is literally one of my favorite dishes in the whole world (literally with all my travels!).  If I’m ever in NYC, you better believe I’m lined up waiting for my aluminum take out bowl loaded with all the fixings!  There is a Gyro King about an hour away from my house, and I have 100% made the drive just for my chicken and turmeric rice bowl and sauces. If there was one down the road from me, I’m sure I’d be there every day!  But hey, no one has time to be driving for hours to get their favorite dish, so after MANY trial and errors I think I’ve created as close as I’ll come to my favorite dish.  Only change is probably that I add more garlic to everything, but hey, my blog and I do what I want lol! And honestly, all these recipes can stand on their own.  You just want chicken, this is a great grilling or oven recipe.  Rice side?  This nails it.  Sauces for really any dinner? Yep!

I’ve broken this down into four different recipes within this post and photos for each recipe prep to make everything easier!  This makes a lot because frankly, it’s all a lot of work and if I’m making it, I want to eat it for a few days. The meat and rice also freeze real well too, so its easy to pull out on a weeknight!  The sauces are good for up to two weeks.  I honestly haven’t tried freezing them, so I can’t attest to that, but I can’t imagine it wouldn’t freeze well.  We keep the sauces in mason jars in the fridge and use them on everything from salads to burgers to fries. So without further ado, prepare yourselves for the awesomeness that is street cart chicken bowls!

**Note, there are some spices here that if you don’t cook a lot you might have never seen or used!  Sumac is a spice I use a lot as do many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants! It helps enhance citrus flavors, but also has a subtle fruity tart flavor.  Ground coriander is actually the seeds of cilantro.  Though I don’t think it tastes anything like cilantro.  It has a very powerful taste and flavor of citrus and curry.  It’s delightful with any chicken or rice dish!

**Remember to get bowl toppings!  We like chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and feta!**

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5 from 25 votes

Halal Guys Copycat Chicken

Copycat recipe for the Halal Guys chicken in their chicken and rice bowls on the streets of NYC. 


  • 3.5-4 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • juice of two lemons
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 6 garlic cloves pressed or minced
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper optional
  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • salt to taste I used about a tablespoon
  • 1 1/2 large onions, peeled and sliced in half long ways this will be 3 large pieces total
  • 3 medium sized wooden skewers


  • Ideally made the night before!  24-48 hour marinade gives the best flavor!
    Unpackage boneless, skinless chicken thighs and pull of or cut off any large pieces of fat. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the large onions and wooden skewers.  Mix everything together until well combined and all of the chicken pieces have marinade rubbed on them.  Cover and set in fridge to marinade.  

  • Once marinading time has finished, remove from fridge and preheat oven to 400°. Peel onions and cut in half horizontally. Place 3 onion pieces flat side down on a baking sheet (make sure it has edges as there will be lots of 'juice'). Place skewers into a triangle shape, one in each onion piece. Take chicken thighs and layer one by one on onion skewers, alternating between skewers.
    ****I've also found this works if you just have large metal skewers and do a whole row of single chicken on them and place them over the onions!***
     Remove onions off the bottom of the skewers (you can keep them on if you want but the 'chicken tower' will most likely fall over) and place chicken tower laying on top of onions.  Place in oven and bake 45 minutes on one side and then carefully grab skewers and flip to cook the other side for 45 minutes.  This will ensure both sides get 'crispy edges.' This also cooks all those onions in chicken fat and seasonings and creates magic!  Once done (and temp has reached 165°), remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.  While it's cooling, carefully finely chop up all those caramelized baked onions. Then carefully remove chicken from skewers. Mix chicken and chopped up onions together.  Voila!  You've got the chicken part DONE!

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5 from 25 votes

Halal Guys Copycat White Sauce

The best sauce for those street cart chicken bowls, the white sauce! Refrigerate until use. The longer it sits, the better it gets for the first few hours!


  • 1 ½ cups mayo
  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 4 garlic cloves minced or pressed
  • 4 tbsp white vinegar
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • salt to taste


  • Simply put everything in a large mason jar or bowl and mix until well combined!
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5 from 25 votes

Halal Guys Copycat Red Chili Sauce

The best sauce for those NYC street cart chicken bowls, that red spicy sauce!


  • 30 dried red chilis (I used Chile de Abrol) I've included a photo below of the dried chilis I used
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup of water chilis were soaking in
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes or a large plum tomato
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • salt to taste


  • Put dried chilis in a heat resistant bowl.  I prefer to 'crack' them open at this point and shake out all the seeds (you can do this after they've rehydrated, but I just think it's harder that way).  Then shake them all around in the bowl and throw out all the seeds that are now at the bottom of the bowl. Pour 5 cups of boiling water over deseeded chilis.  Stir to make sure everything is well combined and all chilis are covered. Let set for an hour or until chilis are soft. Make sure not to throw out chili water yet!  Place chilis and all other ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  If you want it to be more 'liquidy' add more chili water than advised above.  Refrigerate until use.  The longer it sits, the better it gets for the first few hours!
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5 from 25 votes

Halal Guys Copycat Turmeric Style Rice

A copycat version of that perfect turmeric style rice you get in every street cart's rice bowls! The best!


  • 1.5 cups brown basmati rice can sub white basmati just adjust times
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth base this on ratios on the rice bag, I find brown rice always needs more liquid
  • ½ stick of butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper optional
  • salt to taste (I used about 1/2 tbsp)


  • On medium high heat, melt butter in pan, then add chopped onions and minced or pressed garlic. Stir and cook until they become translucent. Add spices and rice and stir for about 3-4 minutes until spices become fragrant and rice has begun to brown.  Carefully add broth (watch for steam!) and stir everything to combine.  Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to simmer.  Cook for about 45 minutes (if using brown rice like above), or cook to the appropriate time per your rice's bag instructions. Allow to sit for five minutes and then 'fluff' with a fork.   

And now for the all of this yumminess to come together in a bowl fit for a king.  You’ll need to place the rice and chicken in bowl, top with your favorite bowl toppings, we like chopped lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers and feta!  Then drizzle with white and red sauce! Sit back, eat, and you’ll think you’ve been transported to your favorite chicken bowl food truck!

21 thoughts on “Halal Guys Copycat Chicken and Turmeric Rice w/ Red Chili Sauce and White Sauce

  1. 5 stars
    I made this white sauce on Monday and it’s delicious ! Tastes just like the restaurants, thank you for sharing the recipe.

    1. I’ve had them last in the fridge for two weeks and still used them (we just make the chicken and rice again). I would think you could freeze them both but they might separate and need to be mixed throughly when defrosted again!

  2. 5 stars
    You put so much effort in this recipe and I LOVE midfle eastern food. , I could not wait to make it.

    It all came out delicious!!

  3. Trying this tonight, Should of previously asked because the recipe isn’t clear to me… (it prolly makes perfect sense to everyone else.. haha) but do you cook the rice before you add it to the onion and butter mixture.. or do you put it in uncooked….it seems like its uncooked but I’m honestly not sure…

    1. Hi Judy! You saute the onions and butter mixture until they’re translucent then add the spices and uncooked rice to the butter and onions and stir constantly for 3-4 minutes until the spices are fragrant and the rice starts to get a little color, then you add the liquid 🙂 Hope that helps! Enjoy it tonight! Let me know how it goes!

  4. 5 stars
    Totally forgot to check back in. But this was DELICIOUS. So grateful you put all this work into the post so we could enjoy this meal in Montreal since we can’t get Halah guys here.

    My sauce didn’t come out as red as yours/theirs tho but it was still the best.
    Thank you thank you thank you!

    1. Yay! I’m so glad! It’s a lot of work but it’s sooo worth it! It’s one of our favorite meals in my household! As for the red sauce, it could have been the dried peppers or we used garden fresh tomatoes and they’re super red too!

  5. 5 stars
    Oh I’ve eaten the yummy chicken from these carts in NYC many times. I love watching the guys artfully assemble my meal while bopping to the music of their homeland. I’ve even been known to bop along with them. I was glad to find your recipe. This chicken is the bomb! My husband and 3 teenage boys love it. It’s so moist and flavorful. I’ll be trying more of your recipes.

  6. 5 stars
    Quick question, if you didn’t wanna cook all the chicken could you freeze it and how long do you think it would keep for in the freezer uncooked.

    1. Yes! I do this regularly and just cook the chicken on the grill with some rice and veggies for an easy dinner. I’ve kept it in the freezer for as long as 8 months and it tasted great, I can’t comment on longer then that because it’s always gone before then!

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