NY Chicken (Cauliflower) Rice


Back in 2007, I visited my best friend Kat in New York. The experience was amazing and being able to keep that memory together with Kat was icing on the cake. She was such a good host. We watched Avenue Q (It was hilarious!), we had Frozen Hot Chocolate in Serendipity 3 and I got to watch the live filming of a Today Show episode. I also got to stroll around while Kat worked on some days. When I got tired of walking, I would sit on a bench in Bryant Park while reading a magazine and eating the sweetest strawberries I've ever tasted.

We had a bunch of meals during my week-long stay in NYC but the one that stuck with me was this Chicken Rice dish from a Halal food cart. We headed there after a few drinks with friends. We had to fall in a loooong line and it was a cold October night, I was literally freezing my butt off. I thought to myself, "This better be worth it!!!". Once we got our food, I was eager to touch the bottom of the serving plate to get some warmth on my hands. It was colorful, spicy and bursting with flavor. So yes, it was WORTH IT!

I knew that when I got back I had to recreate the NY Chicken Rice dish (I'm not sure if that's what they call it! But that's what Kat and I call it.) but healthier.

If you want to cut down on rice, this is a great recipe! Cauliflower rice is a great substitute for plain rice. I recommend using spices on the cauliflower rice cause it takes on the flavor beautifully. You get the mouth-feel of rice minus the carbs!

This NY Chicken (Cauliflower) Rice recipe was also one of the the recipes I contributed to Pepper.ph a few months back.


NY Chicken (Cauliflower) Rice



  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper


  • Iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • Pita bread strips, toasted
  • Harissa-style hot sauce (optional)


    • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice

    • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
    • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
    • 2 Tbsp. light olive oil
    • ½ kilo chicken thigh fillets
    • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
    • Salt and pepper

    Cauliflower Rice:

    • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
    • 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower “rice” (2-3 small cauliflower heads)
    • Salt and Pepper


    For the sauce:

    1. Combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and season with salt and pepper.
    2. Whisk to combine.
    3. Refrigerate.

    For the chicken:

    1. Combine the lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic, and olive oil in a bowl. Blend until smooth. Season the marinade to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
    2. Place the chicken in a zipper lock bag and add the marinade. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1-4 hours.
    3. Remove the chicken from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels.
    4. Season with salt and pepper.
    5. You may use a grill or pan-grill the chicken thigh fillet for about 4 minutes on each side.
    6. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
    7. Roughly chop the chicken into strips

    For the Persian Cauliflower “Rice”:

    1. Remove the leaves and cut cauliflower into large florets.
    2. Wash and drain in a colander or pat dry with a paper towel.
    3. You can use a box grater or a food processor at this point. Pulse the cauliflower florets in the food processor until it looks like rice morsels.
    4. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and combine the spices: turmeric and cumin to release the oils. About 1 minute.
    5. Mix in the cauliflower “rice” to the saucepan and watch it turn into a vibrant yellow hue.
    6. Cook until the morsels have softened but still al dente, about 2-3 minutes.
    7. Season with salt and pepper.

    To serve:

    1. Lay the cauliflower rice on a large serving platter, top with chicken on the center, lay on the shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato wedges and pita chips.
    2. Smother with the yogurt sauce and if you like it spicy, top with harissa-style hot sauce as well.


    Recipe for NY Chicken (Cauliflower) Rice on Pepper.ph, article written byMikka Wee.

    Photography and Styling: Mylene Chung