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chicken shawarma rice with white sauce and a side salad

Shawarma Rice with White Sauce (in one pot!)

This chicken shawarma rice cooked all in one pot is the best weekday dinner. Yellow rice, perfectly spiced chicken and the most amazing white sauce make the ultimate combination. A must try!
Course Mains
Cuisine middle eastern
Keyword Shawarma, Shawarma Rice, Yellow Rice
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 -6


For the chicken:

  • 450 g chicken thighs cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil for cooking

For the rice:

  • 2 small onions or 1 medium roughly 1 cup diced
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 cups water

For the white sauce:

  • 1 cup full fat plain yogurt
  • 1.5 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper more per preference
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder you can use fresh too, adjust amount to your liking
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice per preference
  • 2 tablespoons tahini paste optional - you can leave it out if you don't have it


  • Start by marinating the chicken with all the spices, either overnight (best results) or just before you start preparing the other ingredients
  • In a large pan with high sides, add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil for the chicken, and sear the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side on high heat, until golden brown. Remove and set aside
  • Add the rest of the oil (2 tablespoons) and the diced onion with the salt (amount under "for the rice") and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat until softened
  • Add the crushed garlic and all the spices, and cook for a further 2 minutes
  • Add the washed and drained rice and stir for a few minutes. Add the chicken back into the pan and then the water
  • It should start to bubble right away or within a few minutes. Once it bubbles, cover and turn the heat to low. Allow it to cook undisturbed for 20 minutes
  • Meanwhile prepare the sauce by whisking together all the ingredients, and adjust the salt, pepper and lemon per preference
  • After 20 minutes, fluff the rice with a fork and serve with the sauce and a side salad


  • You can use chicken breast instead of thighs, just ensure you don't overcook it during the searing process
  • The tahini in the white sauce is optional if you can't find it. If you do have it, I highly recommend it!
  • You can also add vegetables like peas, carrots, mushrooms, or spinach. Cook the vegetables with the onion before moving to the next step. You may need to add a bit more salt/spices to adjust for additional vegetables