If Yan Could Cook. . .

Only Vaguely Greek: Chicken Souvlaki with Lemon-Pepper Yogurt Sauce, Spicy Shrimp Pitas with Tzatziki

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My favourite fast food dish – what you can usually get in mall food courts, at restobars and pubs, at odd diners open in the middle of the night – is a souvlaki platter. You usually get a stick of meat, some rice, some salad (sometimes Greek), and fries. There is some sense that you’re getting more or better food than your friends with their burger, pizza, or poutine, or at least that you’re going to be less sick at the end of it. My only qualm would be that you never seem to get enough meat and salad. The logical solution:


This meal is based on this recipe from Epicurious for the chicken. Cubes of chicken breast were marinated for about two hours in garlic, about two tablespoons of lemon juice, dried thyme, dried rosemary, salt and pepper. The recipe calls for freshly squeezed lemons and fresh herbs and overnight marinating, but who am I, the pope?


These were strung onto skewers and oven-broiled for fifteen minutes.


For the yogurt sauce, I used half of a 750 g container of plain yogurt, a splash of red wine vinegar, a splash of lemon juice, heaps of garlic and black pepper, and some dried mint, omitting the sour cream altogether. My only real innovation on the given recipe is using the sauce as a base for a salad dressing. I removed about a 1/4 cup and whisked it slowly with added olive oil. This was tossed with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, and small cubed red onion.


Once plated, the salad was topped with Kalamata olives, a sprinkle of dry oregano, and crumbled feta.


Because I buy them frozen and love them both, I always seem to have corn and shrimp lying around. On winter nights, during exam seasons, and throughout my own year-round laziness, I used to end up cooking them together often, the same way I used to eat a lot of diced vegetables in soy sauce over rice. While perhaps not obvious bedfellows, I’ve found corn and shrimp are great with basil, oregano, garlic, and dried red chili flakes. Better yet, in a pita!


This is not exactly tzatziki, but the right idea is there. I minced a whole garlic head. With the other half of the 750 g plain yogurt container, I mixed in half of the minced garlic, half of a finely chopped English cucumber, and lemon juice to taste.


To cook the shrimp, put the remainder of the garlic, plus dried basil, oregano, and red chili flakes in a couple tablespoons of oil and let it cook for a minute to aromatize the oil. Add the shucked shrimp first, then the frozen corn (it may seem weird, but you can cook them in a dry frying pan), and salt.


The pita is assembled with shredded (cut into strips…) iceberg, leftover from the salad that accompanied the souvlaki, the shrimp, and the tzatziki-like entity.


The mutual ingredients make these two meals ideal to have in the same week. Also, if you wander into the kitchen late at night and there’s pita and tzatziki lying around, it might be gone in the morning.


Written by skimfu

April 23, 2009 at 1:46 am

Posted in Chicken, Shrimp

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