Greek Chicken Souvlaki or the Chicken on Skewers

Language is so powerful. Learning a new language is like getting a new Soul. My mother tongue is Malayalam but I don’t know how to read or write the language, I had tried my best to learn but it was very difficult for me. It is essential to discover different sides of your personality. Being Multi-lingual gave me the advantage, helping me go beyond just being able to communicate with different people and also knowing their cultures, slowly blending in and living in the culture. In Ahmedabad during my younger days, when my friends come home, there would be Malayalam books and magazines of my parents lying around, with fascination, one of my friends picked up the magazine. He was so surprised and told me he cannot understand anything and everything looked like Jalebi (indian sweet) on paper. I just burst into laughter because he was a Gujarati who had studied in a Gujarati Medium throughout, but had learnt many languages, a polyglot, mastered English and Spanish language very well. Gujarati script is similar to Devanagari script which is used to write Sanskrit, Hindi and Marathi. Many characters also have same symbols so knowing one language it was easy to learn the others too.

Some people think that a child only has room for one language in their life, and that to learn a second one, they would find it confusing, refraining from even using their mother tongue at home. I feel the easiest way for someone to become bilingual is to start at a very young age, because the brain absorbs the sound and rules of a new language naturally just like the language they are listening to around them. The older you get the harder it is to learn a language. I keep encouraging my daughter to learn different languages and today she fluently speaks in three languages following up with French. Recently, I was binge watching Korean dramas (with English subtitles) with their interesting intense storylines that is super sappy to incredibly heartbreaking. The drama series are interesting and amazing, feeding your mind with a different entertainment culture diet. The drama series “Crash Landing On you” tells the tales of two star crossed lovers; the story starts with a South Korean heiress caught in a storm while paragliding finding her blown off course into North Korea. The culture shock, the traditional cooking techniques and the life styles in the initial episodes are worth watching…Click to Watch here…

Yes, that caught my attention…the grilled meat….the Meat on skewers, is something very easy to prepare and happens to be our favourite at home. The Greek Souvlaki is simple grilled meat on wooden skewers traditionally served with soft goat cheese. The soft pita bread is stuffed with this grilled meat, tomatoes, onions, tzatziki sauce and sometimes with French fries is a meal in itself. It is also considered to be the world’s first fast food according to some researches, during the Byzantine era, references describe street vendors selling Souvlaki wrapped in Pita in Constantinople. It is also said there is a mention of Souvlaki served with Pita attested to by Athenaeus, a Greek Egyptian author  in his work ‘Deipnosophistae’ called as the oldest surviving cookbook. Coming to Greek food, the only celebrity chef I follow is Akis Petretziki, who always prepares authentic Greek recipes with traditional and local products. I will simply say he is my Greek Cuisine teacher. The recipes he shares are well known in combining simple-every day ingredients to prepare super delicious food at ease that are quick and inexpensive.

Ingredients:-

  1. Chicken breasts without skin- 500 grams
  2. Water – 1 tea cup
  3. Lemon-  half as a whole and half for the juice
  4. Bay leaf- 1 no.
  5. Thyme dried- half tablespoon
  6. Oregano dried- half tablespoon.
  7. Honey- half tablespoon
  8. Pepper crushed- half tablespoons
  9. Olive oil- 2 tablespoons and to cook
  10. Garlic pods -2 nos (whole)
  11. Garlic – few crush/minced.
  12. Salt to taste
  13. Wooden skewers- few

Method:-

  • Clean and cut the chicken breasts into cubes and keep aside.
  • Take a saucepan and boil one cup of water to make brine for the chicken. Add salt, half lemon as whole, pepper, bay leaf and crushed garlic pods. Bring it to a boil again and simmer for two minutes.
  • Allow this brine to cool down completely and let it sit for an hour to infuse the flavours into the brine. Add the cut chicken cubes to the brine to soak for 2 hours. You can refrigerate them at this stage.
  • Drain the brine from the chicken after two hours and add thyme, oregano and pepper.
  • Add juice of half lemon, minced garlic and drizzle in olive oil and honey. Allow it to sit for an hour.
  • Drain the chicken of all the moisture and thread the chicken cubes onto the skewers well.
  • Take a grill pan and add little olive oil. Brown the skewered chicken on the pan on all sides about 5-6 minutes or till done.

Serve the skewered Chicken Souvlaki on Pita bread with onions, tomatoes, cheese sauce or Greek tzatziki as a roll and enjoy this quick meal.

Read on before preparations:-

  • You can use fresh herbs for this recipe. I have used dried herbs as fresh herbs were not available to me at that time. I would suggest using fresh if it is available for more intense flavours.
  • You can increase and decrease the seasoning accordingly, to suit your palate.
  • The brine solution is the key step and the chicken can be left overnight refrigerated. This step keeps the chicken moist and juicy. This brine solution can be used for any poultry, can be made ahead and stored refrigerated up to three days.
  • Make sure to remove or drain all the moisture from the chicken before threading the chicken on skewers.
  • You can also grill them onto a grill or an oven.
  • The wooden skewers can be soaked in the left over brine solution before threading the chicken onto it.

2 thoughts on “Greek Chicken Souvlaki or the Chicken on Skewers

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