Manhattan Cart Style Chicken Over Rice

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Though I have been calling Texas my home for the last 3 years, I got the chance to live in Big Apple for sometime. I may sound cliche, but living 2 blocks away from Times Square was like a dream come true. Raised in Kolkata, I’m used to the noise, dirt and crowd of cities. Probably, thats one of the reasons why NYC became so close to my heart.

Just as you step into the streets of Manhattan, there is so much to see and do – that you feel like getting lost in those streets. NYC has its own charm. The city has a lot to offer, and talking about food, no city in US and probably in the world has so much variety than Manhattan. From $500 pre fixe menus to $5 meals – Manhattan has it all.

If you are in New York city and want to grab a quick bite without burning a hole in your pocket, the carts on the streets of Manhattan is your answer. There are hundreds of carts selling tens of different type of food – from gyros to pretzels. One such cart, one of my most favorite cart food is on the intersection of Broadway and 39th street. This Bangladeshi guys offers the best chicken over rice in all of Manhattan.

As the name suggests, the menu is simple – bite size pieces of chicken cooked in mild spices served over a bed of flavored Basmati rice with a side of salads and your choice of sauce poured to make this meal a class apart.

Chicken over rice


For the chicken –

2 lb chicken, cut into tiny pieces

2 tablespoon chopped oregano (fresh or dried)

4-6 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely

2 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped

2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoon beaten yogurt

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Sea salt to taste

1 tablespoon canola oil


For the rice –

1 cup basmati rice

¼ cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ginger paste

8 oz chicken broth

1 tablespoon butter


For the white sauce –

1 cup beaten yogurt

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley


To prepare the chicken –

  • Mix everything listed in the ingredients for chicken except the canola oil. Marinate it for one hour at least or keep it sealed in ziploc pouch overnight in the fridge.
  • Heat the tablespoon of canola oil in a frying pan or wok, add the chicken and cook till the juice runs clear.
  • Keep aside

If you are marinating overnight, then bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking

To prepare the rice –

  • Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the chopped onions and fry till they start turning light brown. Bring the gas to low and add in the spices – turmeric, cumin and ginger paste and give it a good stir to mix with the onions. Do not let the spices burn.
  • Put in the basmati rice and coat with the fried spices and onions, stir for another 30 seconds to a minute and pour in the chicken broth.
  • Let the rice cook completely. Add extra chicken broth if you feel the rice is still not cooked, but do not pour too much broth as the rice will turn gooey then. Keep the rice warm.

You can replace the chicken broth with water.

To prepare the white sauce –

  • Mix everything well in the ingredients list for white sauce and keep aside.

To assemble –

On a plate spread the warm rice, and then cover it with the chicken. Pour in the white sauce over the chicken. Serve warm with a side of green salad.

Manhattan cart style chicken over rice


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5 thoughts on “Manhattan Cart Style Chicken Over Rice

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  2. It is interesting to learn that this chicken actually has no “Indian curry” type of spices, although the rice makes up for that [ a little!] I had always wondered whether these Bangladeshi gentlemen were selling a version of “chicken curry over rice”, but now I know! Thanks!

    BTW, miss very much your hilarious commentaries on your daughter, and her observations on Life, the Universe and perorations in general [with or without Baranday Roddoor!]. It is really sad that she has to grow up and become just like any other sensible, law-abiding citizen, not into tormenting her baby sister! She was one of the most amazing individuals around, while negotiating the “terrible twos” stage, and you captured her individuality with absolute perfection. We miss your writing and the drives back home from school, where Kumaridevi had so much to offer on the state of the world. I hope she still does! May God bless you all.

  3. This recipe is so awesome, waiting to try this one at home. I too miss the NY style chicken over rice and was wanting to try it out at home sometime. Thank you!

  4. Hello Sudeshna,

    I have fond memories of another such cart-guy in the intersection of E 112th St and Lexington Av whose delectable chicken over rice was my dinner for two consecutive nights last week when I was in Manhattan. And for $5 he used to offer a can of coke as well. He used to strike up conversations with me while making a fresh batch of chicken. The second day he added some lamb for me to try out. Anyways thanks for sharing this simple yet mouth-watering recipe.

    Aniket Mondal

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