Pita sandwiches stuffed with NYC street cart-style chicken
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Halal Chicken on a Pita AKA Rafakey 2.0

This is Dino’s revamped version of his favorite NYC street cart food. The meat was absolutely delicious, and the 2 sauces are the perfect accompaniment (extra, extra, extra white sauce!).

He made this for our Supper Club‘s Street Food night back in July, and it was a huge hit!

Pita sandwiches stuffed with NYC street cart-style chicken

Dino’s notes:

Rafiqi’s Delicious Food carts are numerous and abundant in NYC. The delicious odor of garlic and middle-eastern herbs permeated my afternoon commute one day back in 2004 and I’ve been a Rafiqi’s addict ever since.

Rafiqi’s chicken is spicy, it’s tender, it’s packed with flavor, and best of all- it tastes exactly like that amazing smell which drew me in- enticing me to wait on a very long line on a scorching, muggy day back in 2004.

I had a rather successful attempt at recreating the chicken on a pita back in 2006, however, the times I’ve tried since then didn’t work out so well. While the chicken was yummy, it didn’t have the depth of flavor you get at Rafiqi’s. I nailed the white sauce though, and that is the cornerstone of the meal!

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Pita sandwiches stuffed with NYC street cart-style chicken

Halal Chicken on a Pita AKA Rafakey 2.0

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Dino Covelli (adapted from Eric Rhee and Michelle Won)
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern
  • Diet: Halal

Description

A revamped version of my husband’s favorite NYC street cart food. Tender, flavorful Middle Eastern chicken paired with two fantastic sauces and served up in a fluffy pita.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless chicken thighs, fat trimmed, cubed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 cup greek yogurt
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tomato, cubed
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • Pita bread

White Sauce:

  • 1 Cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 Cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1.5 Tbsp. lemon juice (½ lemon)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp dill (dry or fresh)

Red Sauce:


Instructions

  1. Combine all the spices, garlic, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of olive. Generously salt and pepper. Work in the Greek yogurt. Add the cubed chicken thighs and onions and let it marinate overnight.
  2. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a hot skillet, preferably cast iron. Add the chicken.
  3. Cook the chicken, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned and cooked through. Place pitas on top to soften.
  4. Once the pitas are warm, place a pita in a large square of tin foil and add the chicken. Top with lettuce and tomato and sauces.

Notes

Based on: Chicken and Rice NYC Street Meat Style by Eric Rhee and Michelle Won

Rafiqi’s Delicious Food carts are numerous and abundant in NYC. The delicious odor of garlic and Middle-Eastern herbs permeated my afternoon commute one day back in 2004 and I’ve been a Rafiqi’s addict ever since.

Keywords: marinade, street food, chicken sandwich

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