Souvlaki (meaning: skewers) is a traditional Greek fast food that consists of small pieces of meat and many times veggies grilled on a skewer. It’s typically served in a pita wrap or with grilled bread, with sauces and garnishes, or on a dinner plate, sometimes with fried potatoes. Pork is the meat usually used in Cyprus and Greece, although beef, lamb, and chicken, may also be used.
Last month, I went on a family vacation in Mykonos, Greece and the following recipe that am sharing today is the one that chef Lazarou gave me, which is also probably the best souvlaki I ever tried! Easy, quick, and delicious – you will need 25 minutes to prepare it plus 20 minutes to cook.
- 9 skewers (soaked in water for a few hours or preferably overnight)
- 1 kg pork shoulder or neck, skin and sinew removed; cut into 2.5 cm dice
For the marinade:
- 30 ml olive oil
- 65 ml lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried mint, plus extra to finish
- 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground clove
- 1 teaspoon flaked chili
- 1 teaspoon ground star anise
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
For the salad:
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 small red onion, chopped and sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 5 Lebanese cucumbers finely cut on an angle slices
- 2 green peppers, finely cut
- ½ teaspoon nigella seeds
- 15 grams’ dill, chopped
- 15 grams’ mint, chopped
For the Yoghurt sauce:
- 250 grams’ Greek yogurt
- 1 courgette (zucchini), coarsely grated
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 60 ml lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 50 grams’ unsalted butter66
- Salt, to taste
To cook the meat:
- Marinating time 3 hours (or ideally overnight). You will have to soak the skewers overnight in order to stop them from burning.
- In a bowl with 1 teaspoon salt, apply all the ingredients for the marinade. Combine well, pour over the pork and cover; refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Preferably you would use a barbecue to grill the pork, however, a chargrill plate works fine.
- Apply the skewers in batches and cook for 5 min., turning so that all sides are well charred. Put on a large baking tray, and finish cooking in the oven for around 20 min., or till the meat is cooked tender and through.
To make the yogurt sauce:
- Combine ¼ salt and zucchini and leave to drain for 5 min. Squeeze out the excess liquid and put in a medium bowl. Add the garlic, yogurt, lemon juice, oil and ¾ of a teaspoon of salt. Apply the butter in a little pan and cook on a medium until it bubbles, has a nutty aroma and turns a light golden brown. Remove from the heat, leave aside for 5 min. to cool and add the yogurt. To finish, sprinkle some dried mint on top and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
To make the salad:
- Apply the chopped onion, garlic, vinegar, and oil in a pestle and mortar with ¾ teaspoon salt. Next, crush to create a paste; leave aside.
- In a large bowl, apply the sliced onions with the cucumber, nigella seeds, peppers, and the paste. Before serving, combine the dill and mint.
- Serve the souvlaki with the yogurt sauce and salad.