Greece’s best-known food, the souvlaki, might date back to ancient times, but shops specialising in meat cooked on sticks and gyros didn't appear in the country until after World War Two. Since then, the satisfying skewers have taken the world by storm, and for good (read: delicious) reason. We've used chicken in this recipe, but pork or lamb would work equally well. Serve your souvlaki with tzatziki or Greek yoghurt, as well as the chopped salad and cos leaves, if you like.
- 310 ml (1¼ cups) Greek yoghurt
- 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp dried mint
- 1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 115 g (⅓ cup) honey
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra, for cooking
- 1.2 kg chicken thigh fillets, trimmed and cut into 4 cm pieces
- sea salt, for cooking
- 12 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour
- Greek pita bread, lemon wedges and cos lettuce leaves, to serve
- 2½ tbsp tomato paste
- 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 2½ tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
- 600 g (about 3 large) firm, ripe tomatoes, very finely chopped
- 1 large red capsicum, trimmed, seeded and very finely chopped
- 1 red onion, trimmed and very finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
- 60 g (¼ cup) drained capers
- large handful flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 4 hours or overnight
Combine the yoghurt, spices, honey and olive oil in a large bowl and stir to mix well. Add the chicken and stir to coat well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap then refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Drain well, brushing off as much of the yoghurt mixture as possible then thread onto the skewers.
Meanwhile, to make the chopped salad, combine the tomato paste, olive oil and lemon juice in a large bowl and whisk to combine well. Add the remaining ingredients, season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir to mix well.
Heat a barbecue or cast iron chargrill pan over medium-high. Brush the chicken all over with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Grill the chicken, in batches, for about 8 minutes or until cooked through, turning occasionally. Serve on top of pita breads with chopped salad spooned over and cos lettuce leaves and lemon wedges.
Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Peta Gray. Creative concept by Lou Fay.