Souvlaki was first introduced in Ancient Greece, where it was called “obelisk” (from obelos = Skewer). It appears in the works of Aristophanes, Xenophon, and Aristotle, among others. A simple recipe for meat, skewered lengthwise with a piece of bread, is not far from its current state, especially if we order “kalamaki” with bread. Here we present the original Souvlaki recipe and its variations!
How to eat souvlaki today
Souvlaki consists of roasted pork on a small wooden skewer made of reeds in southern Greece (“kalamaki” is the Greek word for reed). It can be made from chicken (when wrapped in bacon it becomes “chicken bacon”), beef, lamb and beef (kebabs), burgers, and even sausages. The richest version is wrapped in a baked pie and usually includes minced meat with tomatoes, onions, tzatziki and fries.
In northern Greece, the above version of anything inevitably includes other “salts” like ketchup and mustard, and in recent years many grills have released vegetarian versions using grilled vegetables.
The pork is first marinated to soak up all the wonderful flavors of the Mediterranean, then grilled at high temperatures to give it a nice crispy color. This is probably one of the most popular Greek tavern recipes!
Prepare the souvlaki marinade
For the souvlaki recipe, you can use good quality extra virgin olive oil for the marinade and Greek oregano to enhance the flavor. Adding vinegar and lemon juice to the marinade will also help tenderize the meat.
You can use pork liver or pork neck for this souvlaki recipe. Pork necks are a bit tougher than fillets, so the vinegar and lemon juice penetrate the meat and give it the melt in the mouth you need. Honey balances the acidity and provides a crispy crust.
Souvlaki Recipe – Original
For pork souvlaki
800 g pork fillet or pork neck (boneless), cut into 2 cm pieces
100ml good quality olive oil (plus 1 tbsp)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon of honey
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 wooden skewers
For the Tzatziki Sauce:
2 cloves of garlic
50 grams of olive oil
500 grams of yogurt
1-2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1-2 tablespoons chopped dill (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
8 loaves of bread
2 red onions, sliced
1 tomato, diced
- Cut the pork into 2cm lengths and place in a large bowl with all the ingredients for the marinade. Mix well with your hands, cover with cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the tzatziki sauce for the souvlaki. Place the olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic in a food processor and blend until the garlic is liquefied (avoid large chunks of garlic).
- Grate the cucumber in a large bowl, add salt and pepper and let it rest for 10 minutes. Wrap the strained cucumber in a towel and squeeze to remove most of the water. In a bowl, mix cucumber, crushed garlic and oil, yogurt, 1-2 tablespoons of chopped dill, 1-2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Store in the refrigerator.
- Preheat a grill or grill pan to high heat. Roast the pork skewers, turning occasionally, until nicely browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- While the pork is cooking, prepare the buns. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Brush both sides of the loaves with a greased brush and season with salt and oregano. Place a large baking sheet (side down) on the bottom of the oven and place the loaves on it. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- To serve souvlaki, slice 2 red onions and arrange on a plate; top with pork skewers, brush with a little extra virgin olive oil, and squeeze a good squeeze of lemon juice over the top. Serve the skewers warm with flatbread and tzatziki sauce, or wrap like a sandwich and add some tzatziki, chopped onion and tomato. Enjoy your meal!
Prepare the dish with chicken
5 chicken pieces, boneless and skinless
70 grams of olive oil
1 lemon, juice and zest
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Cut the chicken thighs (or breasts if desired) into 1-inch cubes. Place in a large sealed container or large zip lock bag.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, oregano, and salt. Pour over the chicken, cover tightly, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- While the chicken skewers are in the fridge, place them in a bowl or pan of water. When you take the chicken out of the fridge, remove the skewers from the water. Thread 5-6 pieces of chicken onto each skewer.
- Place on a hot grill and cook over medium-high heat until chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate while the chicken marinates.
Variations for Chicken Souvlaki
- Grilled Vegetable Skewers: Along with chicken, you can grill vegetables on skewers. Red onion, pepper, cucumber, tomato or pumpkin taste great with Greek chicken souvlaki.
- Spices: You can add a variety of spices to the lemon marinade to spice up your chicken. You can flavor the chicken by adding onion powder, black pepper, basil, garlic powder, dried parsley, rosemary or dill to the liquid marinade.
- Meat: You can also use other types of meat for this recipe, eg. B. Boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of chicken thigh meat. Remember, chicken breasts cook faster than chicken thighs.