In Midtown Manhattan, you’ll see (and smell!) chicken and rice carts on almost every city street. Office lunchers and late-night eaters alike love the chicken-and-rice platters (which rarely cost more than $5) as hearty and spicy meals on the go; we’ve replicated those Styrofoam-packaged meals here.
*Note: Do not marinate the chicken longer than 4 hours or it’ll get a mushy texture. If you must delay cooking the chicken for any reason, remove it from the marinade, pat it dry with paper towels, and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Combine the lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic, and olive oil in a blender. Blend until smooth. Season the marinade with kosher salt and black pepper, to taste.
Place the chicken in a 1-gallon Ziploc bag and add ½ of the marinade (reserve the remaining marinade in the refrigerator). Turn the chicken to coat, seal the bag, and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours, turning occasionally to redistribute the marinade.*
Remove the chicken from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels. Season with kosher salt and pepper, going heavy on the pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch heavy-bottomed cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet over medium-high heat until it is lightly smoking. Add the chicken pieces and cook without disturbing until they are lightly browned on the first side, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip the chicken. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the center of each thigh registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 6 minutes longer.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes. Using a chef’s knife, roughly chop the chicken into ½- to ¼-inch chunks. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl, add the remaining marinade, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate while you cook the rice and prepare the sauce.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the turmeric and cumin and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to coat.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes without disturbing. Remove from heat and allow to rest until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, and black pepper. Whisk to combine. Season with salt, to taste.
Return the entire contents of the chicken bowl (chicken, marinade, and all juices) to the skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Divide the rice, lettuce, tomato, and toasted pita bread evenly among 4-6 plates. Pile the chicken on top of the rice. Top with the white sauce and hot sauce. Serve immediately, passing extra sauce at the table.