Pita Wrapped up G(r)eek Style
Before I started food blogging, I didn't know how much research actually went into it. To think of something new to cook each time, to be as faithful to the original recipes which reminds me, try finding an 'authentic' recipe in the milieu of thousands of recipes that claim to be the authentic one, to try and do something with the dish that does not alter the essence of it but it does make it your own and adds a special touch to it.
But you know what, where there's passion, everything seems relatively easy. I never thought how it must have sounded, but I was talking to a friend of mine and she said I sounded like a geek when I talked about food with all the information I carried around in my head! Can't help it though. I love all things food related and it doesn't matter in the least if that makes me a geek, and a proud one at that! Didn't you already know that about me?! :)
And since you probably know how much I love food, you must also have read how much I loved Greek food in my post about Greek Salad. So I kept researching for the key ingredients to make a good Chicken Souvlaki. Chicken Souvlaki is Greek style Kebabs/ Kabobs. Marinated chicken cooked in a grill, rendering the smoky flavour to make the most succulent Kebabs to fill your Pita pockets with.
They are sooooooooo goood! Remind me to thank whoever came up with those. Simplistic but really good. So lets start making them then....
Time taken: 20 mins
500 gms/ 1 lb boneless chicken thighs
2 tbsp greek curd/ thick low fat yogurt
1 1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 heaping tsp dried Oregano
1 tsp dried Parsley
Juice and zest of one lemon
2-3 garlic cloves, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
Brushing of your love
Greek Salad to accompany the Chicken Souvlaki in the Pita wraps known as Gyros. You can find my recipe here. If you don't want the entire salad, you can choose the veggies to add to the wrap and make it your own.
Tzatziki to top up the Gyros with. Utterly refreshing and soothing in the summers and goes just perfectly with the Souvlaki. Match made in heaven! Find how you can make it here.
The key to making succulent tender Kebabs of any kind is marination. You need to keep two things in mind. a) Tenderizer depending on the recipe and b) time for marination.
You need to use natural tenderizers to get the juiciest melt in your mouth kebabs like yogurt or lemon or papaya. And the flavour depends on the time you let it marinate. The longer you let it marinate, the deeper the flavours penetrate through the meat. I like to marinate my meats overnight for best results. You can go from anywhere between 30 mins to 8 hours. So just plan in advance.
To marinate the Kebabs, Cut the chicken thighs into 1 1/2" pcs approx. Wash and pat dry. Put them in a bowl, add in all the marination ingredients to it.
Don't forget the lemon juice and the lemon zest for a perfect balance of flavours.
Give it a good toss till all the chicken pieces are coated well in the marinade. Don't you already smell the herbs and the garlic and the freshness of the lemon zest?!
Cover and store in the refrigerator for as long as you can or upto 8 hours.
To make Souvlaki, take out the chicken from the fridge and let it rest out for 10 mins. Remove the cover and toss it again to coat the chicken evenly. Meanwhile, get the skewers out. If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water before using.
Preheat your oven at 425F/220C.
Even before you start making kebabs, practice extreme caution while operating the oven.
Start skewering the marinating chicken piece by piece on the soaked bamboo sticks. Stack about 4 pcs on each skewer. I went with 3, but I could have added more. Brush your love on top of it.
Place in the oven to grill for 4 mins each side. The juices that drip from the chicken in the oven, add to the smoky flavour. Grill till the juices run clear and take them out.
Do not overcook as it will make the chicken hard. Never overcook chicken.
To assemble the chicken wraps or Gyros, line your pita breads with the Greek salad. Place the hot smoky Souvlaki on the bed of salad. Add a dollop of fresh Tzatziki.
Wrap it up and bite......mmmmm heaven! So yumm, isn't it?! Indulge! :)