Cretan food culture has a crystal-clear gender division that one does not want to mess with: women cook in the kitchen, men cook outdoors, in charge of meat. As a person with dubious macho credentials and a famous kitchen dweller, I was absolutely terrified cooking meat in the sun in the company of a bunch of famous local shepherds. Luckily, the souvlaki tasted good and I managed to win over the sceptics. You can do the same, trust me.






Skill level

Average: 2.9 (217 votes)


  • 8 skewers, soaked in water for a couple of hours or overnight
  • 1 kg pork shoulder or neck, sinew and skin removed and cut into 2.5 cm dice



  • 60 ml lemon juice 
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried mint, plus extra to finish
  • 1 tsp ground clove
  • 1 tsp ground star anise
  • 1½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp flaked chilli
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed



  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed 
  • 1 small red onion, half roughly chopped (60g net) and half thinly sliced (60g net) 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar 
  • 6 Lebanese cucumbers, cut on an angle into ½ cm slices (600g net)
  • 2 green peppers, cut into thin strips ½ cm thick (370g net)
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds 
  • 15 g dill, roughly chopped 
  • 15 g mint, roughly chopped


Yoghurt sauce

  • 1 zucchini (courgette), coarsely grated (200 g)
  • 250 g Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 60 ml lemon juice 
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • salt

Cook's notes

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 2 hours (or overnight).
You'll need to soak the skewers overnight to stop them from burning.

Place all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix well, pour over the pork and leave in the fridge, covered, for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Skewer the pork whilst heating up your ridged grill plate, making sure to ventilate your kitchen. Ideally you would use a barbecue to grill the pork but a chargrill plate works well.

Place the skewers in batches on the grill and cook for 5 minutes, turning so that all sides are nicely charred. Transfer to a large baking tray, 30 cm x 40 cm, and finish cooking in the oven for 20 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and tender.

To make the yoghurt sauce, mix the courgettes with ¼ teaspoon of salt and leave to drain for 5 minutes. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid and place in a medium bowl. Stir through the yoghurt, oil, garlic, lemon juice and ¾ of a teaspoon of salt. Place the butter in a small pan and cook on a medium heat until it bubbles, turns a light golden brown and has a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat, set aside for 5 minutes to cool and then stir into the yogurt. Sprinkle a little dried mint on top of the yoghurt and keep in the fridge until ready to use. 

To make the salad, place the garlic, chopped onion, oil and vinegar in a pestle and mortar with ¾ teaspoon of salt. Crush to make a paste and set aside. Place the sliced onions in a large bowl with the cucumber, peppers, nigella seeds and the paste. Mix the dill and mint in just before serving.

Serve the skewers with the salad and yoghurt sauce.


View all the recipes from Ottolenghi's Mediterranean Island Feast.