In a time pinch, I grab the 5 dollar chicken and rice at the Halal cart outside of work. Today, I had an extra 5 minutes, so I went to 60th street, towards Columbus Ave. I saw another Halal cart and thought enough to give it a try. The first question asked after I ordered the chicken and rice was, "Plain rice or spicy rice?" Spicy rice, of course. The rice was darker and the meat was whiter than at the other cart. Hot sauce please, also thicker and darker.
This Halal cart chicken and rice was superficially the same meal as the cart outside of our building, but in taste and texture, another meal altogether. First, the rice was a basmati type, light and long -not the firm, short grain rice of the nearby cart. The rice was also white, not tinted warm and light red, but had been colored by the collection of spices added. It had hints of ginger, cumin and cardamom and was fire hot. The whole dish was less salty too, and without the reddish coloring on the meat. The light, loose rice and small chunks of chicken were harder to pick up with the plastic fork, causing me to eat much slower than I normally would (eating while working has led me to be a rapid eater, shame on me). The heat led my nose to run, fabulously hot was this 60th street cart.
Now I have it in my mind to try to get to try all the carts within 5 minutes. I'm glad that these Halal carts are not being trucked out of the same depot with the same ingredients and recipes. I've not been cooking much lately, in a cooking funk I suppose. I need some new inspiration, I need to have some new meals out.