Mediterranean cuisine is known for its flavorful and healthful dishes, and one of the most beloved and widely recognized dishes is chicken souvlaki. This Greek favorite consists of tender pieces of marinated chicken skewered and grilled to perfection, and served with a variety of delicious accompaniments such as tzatziki sauce, pita bread, and fresh vegetables. Whether enjoyed as a mouthwatering main course or as a savory appetizer, chicken souvlaki is a dish that never disappoints and is sure to satisfy even the most discerning palates.
Origins of Chicken Souvlaki
How it all started
Greek cuisine has always been known for its flavorful dishes and vibrant colors, and one of the most popular dishes that has been enjoyed for centuries is chicken souvlaki. This dish is made up of small pieces of chicken that are marinated in a blend of herbs and spices, skewered, and grilled to perfection. The origins of this dish can be traced back to ancient Greece when it was known as kandaulos.
Evolution of the dish
Over the years, this dish has evolved and has become a staple in Greek cuisine. It is now served in almost all Greek restaurants and is enjoyed by people all over the world. The popularity of chicken souvlaki is due to its simplicity and versatility. It can be served as a main course or as an appetizer, and it can be paired with a variety of sides, such as rice, salad, or pita bread.
Ingredients and Preparation
Preparing the chicken
The key to making a good chicken souvlaki is selecting the right type of chicken and marinating it properly. The chicken should be boneless and skinless, and it is best to use chicken breast or thigh meat. Once the chicken is cut into small pieces, it should be marinated for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight, in a blend of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Assembling the skewers
When it comes time to grill, the chicken should be skewered, alternating with pieces of red onion, green pepper, and tomato. The skewers should be grilled over medium-high heat for about 10-12 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are slightly charred.
Serving the dish
Chicken souvlaki is typically served with a side of tzatziki sauce, which is a yogurt-based sauce made with garlic, cucumber, lemon juice, and dill. It can also be served with a side of rice, salad, or pita bread.
Health Benefits of Chicken Souvlaki
Protein and Nutrients
Chicken souvlaki is a healthy and nutritious dish that provides a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Chicken is a lean source of protein that is low in fat and calories, but high in nutrients such as niacin, phosphorus, and vitamin B6. The vegetables used in this dish are also packed with vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium.
Low Carb and Keto Friendly
For those following a low-carb or keto diet, chicken souvlaki is a great option. It is low in carbohydrates and high in protein, which makes it a satisfying meal that will keep you feeling full for hours.
There are also many different marinades that can be used to give chicken souvlaki a unique flavor. Some popular marinades include lemon and herb, garlic and oregano, and honey mustard.
FAQs for Mediterranean Cuisine Chicken Souvlaki
What is Chicken Souvlaki?
Chicken Souvlaki is a popular Greek dish consisting of small pieces of chicken that are seasoned with spices and then grilled on skewers. The chicken is typically served in a pita bread with vegetables and a variety of sauces, such as tzatziki or hummus. It is a refreshing and delicious meal that is perfect for any occasion.
What are the Ingredients of Chicken Souvlaki?
The ingredients for Chicken Souvlaki are simple yet flavorful. It includes chicken breast cut into small pieces, red onions, bell peppers, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic cloves, olive oil, dry oregano, salt, and black pepper. The chicken is marinated in these ingredients for at least 2 hours, giving it a flavor-packed and juicy taste.
How is Chicken Souvlaki Prepared?
Chicken Souvlaki is prepared by marinating the chicken pieces in a mixture of spices, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and olive oil for at least 2 hours. The marinated chicken is then skewered and grilled until they are cooked thoroughly. The skewers are served with a wrapped pita bread, coated with tzatziki or hummus sauce and a side of Greek salad or French fries.
Is Chicken Souvlaki Healthy to Eat?
Chicken Souvlaki is considered a healthy choice of meal as it is a great source of protein and healthy fats. The chicken pieces are marinated in Greek yogurt, which is high in probiotics and low in calories, and olive oil, which is a great source of healthy fats. However, depending on the sauces used, it could also be high in calories, so it’s best to choose healthier options like hummus instead of mayonnaise-based sauces.
Can I Substitute Chicken with Other Meat?
Yes, you can! Although chicken is the most common protein used in Souvlaki, you can use other meats such as pork, beef, or lamb. However, cooking time may vary depending on the meat used.
Can I Make Chicken Souvlaki without a Grill?
Yes, you can! Instead of cooking the chicken skewers on the grill, you can cook them on a stovetop or in the oven. To cook them on the stovetop, heat up a grill pan over medium-high heat and cook the skewers for about 6-8 minutes per side until they are golden brown, or you can cook them in the oven at 375°F for about 20-25 minutes, turning the skewers halfway through the cooking process to ensure that all sides are cooked thoroughly.