Middle Eastern Chicken and Rice
Chicken,  Ethnic,  Kids,  Rice,  Sauce

Middle Eastern Style Chicken and Rice

I have mentioned this in the past, but almost every day, my colleagues at work talk about food, whether it was what they ate over the weekend, or what they were going to eat. I work in an open space environment so it lends well to those types of conversations as we plug away at emails and prepare for events. A buddy of mine turned me on to this dish. He came into work boasting about how awesome it was, and so that intrigued me to say the least. Simple to say the least, this Middle Eastern style chicken and rice dish is perfect to make during a busy work week and is great for leftovers. Did I mention the yogurt sauce? Yep, it’s all about the sauce.

Middle Eastern Chicken and Rice

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the yogurt sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

Ingredients for the rice:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 cups of Basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients for the chicken:

  • 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 whole lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp oregano powder
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup canola oil

Trust me, this all works to your advantage.

Start by making the marinade for the chicken. Add all of the chicken ingredients, with the exception of the chicken, to a food processor, and process until the garlic is broken down and you have a nice marinade. Add the chicken to a sealable bag, and pour in the marinade. Move that around in the bag, then seal, and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or go longer if you desire.

How to make Middle Eastern Chicken and Rice


Next, make the yogurt sauce.

Add everything to a mixing bowl, stir to incorporate everything, and taste. Adjust any lemon juice or salt to your preference. (This sauce goes great with a lot of stuff.)

Next, make the rice.

Heat a medium sized pot on medium heat, and add in the butter. Let that melt, then add in the turmeric and cumin, and cook for about 2 minutes.

Next add in the basmati rice, and give it a good stir. Keep stirring for about 2 minutes, then add in the stock, and salt. Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes. Once the rice has fully absorbed the stock, fluff with a fork, uncover, and set to the side.

Next, make the chicken.

To a large skillet on medium-high heat, add the chicken. Spread it out and leave it untouched for about 5 minutes, then flip over the pieces, and caramelize the chicken on the other side.

Now you are ready to plate. I’m drooling just thinking about this.

Add the rice to a plate, top with some of the chicken, and spoon over a bunch of sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley if you like, as well as a wedge of lemon.

Dig in. My wife and kids fell in love with this one, especially the chicken. It’s got this great lemon and garlic flavor, along with the awesome spices throughout the entire dish, and don’t even get me started on the sauce. Don’t. Just make this, I think you will really love it. Hope you enjoy!


  • Angela

    I’m making his tomorrow night. I’ve been needing something to get me out of the late winter cooking doldrums. Very excited. Great site!

  • Ellen

    This was really tasty – great flavors and simple prep. And you’re right about that sauce…it’s pretty out of this world. I’d say it gets better the second or third day. I’ve been using it on my wraps at lunch – so good! Thanks for a new recipe for my arsenal!

    • Dax Phillips

      Thanks Ellen! Glad you enjoyed everything. That sauce is pretty amazing. I just created a sauce yesterday that tops that one. Stop back in the near future as that one is a few posts away.

  • Pam in Santa Fe

    Dax, this recipe is beyond great. I served a big platter of your Middle Eastern Style Chicken and Rice at a dinner party this week, and my guests raved! The marinated chicken did get a light 10-minute smoke in my Cameron smoker before that final grilling, but otherwise I followed your recipe exactly. I also made your Tahini Sauce to go on my platter of lamb meatballs. The Middle Eastern menu was a big hit, and my inspiration for it all was this chicken recipe. Thank you, Dax. I never thought you’d top your superb version of Smoked Salmon Salad, but you’ve done it!

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