Better-Than-Halal-Cart Rice

Better-Than-Halal-Cart Rice
Staff Writer
Better-Than-Halal-Cart Rice
Will Budiaman

Better-Than-Halal-Cart Rice

For those of you who have ever eaten from a "halal cart," the title of this rice recipe probably seems like a bold statement. If the reference means nothing to you, don't worry — before moving to New York, I wouldn't have had a clue either.

A halal cart is a street vendor that, at a minimum, sells two things, and two things very well: chicken over rice and lamb (or gyro) over rice. Most offer the option to wrap up the same fixings — meat, lettuce, generally out-of-season tomatoes, white sauce, and a bit of smoky paprika-based hot sauce — in a pita as well, minus the rice. It sounds simple, but done right, it's absolutely delicious, addictive, and satisfying. The best part? You walk away full after spending just $5.

Some also sell knishes (another mysterious New York thing), kebabs, and falafel. Others even offer pretzels, hot dogs, chestnuts, and Philly cheesesteaks. In other words, if you can walk away with it, they probably have it. (I have yet, however, to see one that sells pizza.)

The rice, in theory, is basmati. Some vendors offer just white rice, others will offer "yellow rice," while some offer a mix of the two. It sometimes has a few peas in it and perhaps some cooked tomato. Some of them cheap out on the rice, though, and offer something that tastes suspiciously like Uncle Ben's. The mystifying thing is: What exactly makes the yellow rice yellow? Is it turmeric? Is it saffron? (Probably not.) A friend recently pointed out that it might be food coloring.

We decided to take the guesswork out of the equation and make a new and improved version of halal-cart rice that you won't get on the street. This version is flavored with saffron, freshly shucked peas, and ripe tomato — the perfect base for grilled chicken, fish, or lamb. Whoever says rice is bland is about to have their world rocked.

Click here to see Rice Made Sexy — 5 Great Dinner Recipes.

 

4
Servings
585
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 3/4 Cup water
  • 1 Cup basmati rice
  • 1 ripe beefsteak tomato, chopped
  • 1 Pound English peas, shucked
  • 1 Teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Heat the olive oil, saffron, and bay leaf in a 3-quart saucepan over low heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Increase the heat to high and add the water, rice, tomato, peas, and salt. Bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Remove the lid, stir, and replace the lid. Wait 10 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
12g
17%
Sugar
1g
1%
Saturated Fat
7g
29%
Carbohydrate, by difference
103g
79%
Protein
17g
37%
Vitamin A, RAE
114µg
16%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
1µg
1%
Calcium, Ca
297mg
30%
Choline, total
20mg
5%
Copper, Cu
1mg
0%
Fiber, total dietary
6g
24%
Folate, total
139µg
35%
Iron, Fe
9mg
50%
Magnesium, Mg
126mg
39%
Manganese, Mn
4mg
100%
Niacin
10mg
71%
Pantothenic acid
1mg
20%
Phosphorus, P
319mg
46%
Riboflavin
1mg
91%
Selenium, Se
33µg
60%
Sodium, Na
474mg
32%
Thiamin
1mg
91%
Water
123g
5%
Zinc, Zn
3mg
38%

Rice Shopping Tip

Rice is enjoyed in almost all cuisines and is readily available globally. For a simple side dish to any meat or vegetable entrée, rice is a great complement.

Rice Cooking Tip

Be sure you are using the correct type of rice needed to obtain the result you are looking for. Long grain rice stays fluffy and individual while shorter grain rice is starchier. Also, rinse all rice before use.

Rice Wine Pairing

Tempranillo or other light Spanish red wine types with paella, even seafood paella. Various other wines depending on what rice is cooked with; see Pasta Recipes and other individual food types.