What is Souvlaki?
Well, most of us are aware that it’s of Greek origin … apparently in Athens, it’s also known as kalamaki.
It’s consisting of small pieces of meat (and sometimes vegetables) grilled on a skewer. It can be served with or inside of a rolled pita, typically with lemon, sauces, vegetables such as sliced tomato and onions. The meat usually used in Greece and Cyprus is pork, although chicken, beef and lamb may also be used there and elsewhere (Source: Wikipedia).
Why are we making it?
On our recent trip to Cape Town, we ended up at a great place called Root 44 (you can read about it here). Both Berto and me ordered souvlaki … and loved it!
Once we got back home, Berto grabbed the first opportunity to prepare souvlaki – from cutting the pork belly into cubes, making the pitas from scratch and then serving it with a delicious tzatziki sauce … and of course, there was a fire involved 😊.
Here is our try on homemade Souvlaki:
We were trying to stay authentic to the Greek tradition of how souvlaki is made and thus using pork. In choosing this meat, it meant that there were some (a lot) of cutting involved. Firstly, Berto removed the skin from the belly and then the bones.
Although the meat looks quite fatty, it’s not the case after it’s been cooked on the fire. But if you prefer a leaner cut, pork fillet or neck will also work (or even lamb/chicken).
Berto then marinated the pork cubes in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, dried origanum, fresh black pepper and chopped onion.
The pitas were made from a standard bread dough. After Berto kneaded the dough, he let it proof for 40 minutes. He then divided and formed it into balls and let it proof for another 15 minutes.
After rolling it out into 20cm size pitas, he fried it in a lightly oiled pan (on medium heat).
Tzatziki is a mild and subtle sauce. It is relatively creamy with a slight taste of garlic and cucumber – the perfect flavour to add to your souvlaki.
The final few steps:
After the pork cubes have marinated for an hour (or two), the best part of making souvlaki awaits … starting a fire!
When the skewered pork was done on the fire, we dished it up on the pita together with sliced red onions and tomatoes and a dash of that delicious homemade tzatziki sauce.
This tasted just as good as the souvlaki we bought at Root 44! If you have some Greek music in the background, you might just think you’re in beautiful Greece!