Chicken Wings for Halal Cart Fans

January 14, 2022
5 Stars
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Adrienne Anderson.
Author Notes

Now don’t get me wrong, I have no problem hitting up my local spot for some Buffalo Wild Wings. But making them at home can be an adventure all in itself! I came up with the idea for this recipe while visiting New York City a few months back. I was doing my usual food tour, eating all the things I’ve missed since moving away—pizza; bacon, egg, and cheeses; literally any sandwich from a bodega—when I came across the good old halal carts.

If you are not familiar with them, the word halal means “permissible” in Arabic, referring to food that follows Islamic rules and is just that—permissible—for Muslims to eat. Halal carts started popping up in NYC in the 1980s and, in the years since, “have grown into some of the most ubiquitous food carts in the city,” according to Eater. Now with hundreds of locations in the works around the world, Halal Guys is arguably the best known. Founded by three Egyptian immigrants, it actually started as a hot dog cart, "then pivoted to selling halal food to Muslim taxi drivers who at the time had few outlets for authentic halal food in the five boroughs." Like many other halal carts, along with gyro and falafel and hummus, you can snag some bomb chicken and rice platters with an out-of-this-world white sauce. That’s the inspiration for these glorious wings.

Note: For spices like coriander and cumin, you can use pre-ground if that’s what you have, or freshly grind them for an even more intense flavor. —Romel Bruno

Watch This Recipe
Chicken Wings for Halal Cart Fans
  • Prep time 6 hours 45 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 4
  • Chicken Marinade:
  • 2 pounds chicken wings (drumettes, wingettes, or both)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Spice Mix:
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • White Sauce:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely grated (preferably on a Microplane)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Frying & Serving:
  • Canola oil, for deep-frying
  • Kosher salt, for seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Cilantro leaves, lime wedges, and hot sauce, for garnish (optional)
In This Recipe
  1. In a large zip-top bag or bowl, combine the chicken, buttermilk, garlic powder, turmeric, onion powder, and salt. Mix until combined. Refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all of the spice mix ingredients until fully incorporated. Pour into a shaker (or if you don’t have one, sprinkling by hand will do the trick).
  3. In a medium bowl, combine all of the white sauce ingredients until fully incorporated. Add more vinegar to get the consistency and tanginess where you want it. Transfer to a squeeze bottle (or if you don’t have one, just dip the wings).
  4. Fill a Dutch oven a third of the way with the oil and heat to 350°F. While that heats up, remove the chicken from the marinade, then dredge it in the flour, making sure each wing is fully coated.
  5. In batches, fry the wings for 5 to 6 minutes, until golden brown, crispy, and cooked through, flipping and agitating them often. As soon as each batch is out of the fryer, transfer to a wire rack to drain, then immediately place in a bowl and generously season with the spice mixture and salt. Toss until evenly coated.
  6. When all the wings are fried and seasoned, pile on a plate and drizzle with white sauce. If you’d like, garnish with cilantro, lime, and hot sauce.

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