Greek souvlaki, the best chicken kebab

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What can we say about the great Greek souvlaki? Cubes of succulent chicken breast, marinated in aromatic herbs and cooked on a stick, placed in a warm toasted pitta bread and garnished with a fresh herb yoghurt sauce (tzatiki), tomatoes, onions and sometimes even fries! It’s a great way to enjoy a chicken kebab, wrapped up into a big pitta roll. For anyone that has been to Greece and enjoyed one of these on summer evenings while wandering around small island backstreets, this recipe will take you right back there!

Summary

Prep: 10 mins
Cooking: 10 mins
Ages: Toddlers to Teens
Difficulty: Easy peasy
Makes: 8 large kebabs

Greek souvlaki - enjoy the best chicken souvlaki ever with this delicious recipe

A note on brining

Brining is the ultimate secret to a juicy chicken dish. The brine reacts with the proteins in the chicken to improve the water-holding capacity of the cells. The meat then absorbs the water from the brine. As a result the chicken is much more able to withstand the moisture loss that it goes through during cooking. The result is that instead of dried out pieces of chicken you end up with succulent chicken bites that taste amazing.

Chicken reacts particularly well to a brine before cooking. So if you have time we would suggest an 8% brine. 8% simply refers to the ratio of salt to water so here it would be 8 grams of salt per 100 mls of water. As this wouldn’t be very much water we have increased the quantities to 80 grams of salt per liter of water.

We recommend adding the water and salt to a saucepan or bowl, stirring well to ensure the salt is dissolved, and placing the chicken fillets inside so that they are covered with the water. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight or for 2 hours before cooking. Make sure it’s kept away from raw fruit and vegetables and the water does not leak in the fridge.

A lot of us just don’t have time to do this or we forget in the mad rush of the day. If this is you not to worry just skip the brining and move onto the recipe. It will still taste great!

Ingredients

Chicken souvlaki:

  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Salt and pepper seasoning

Brine solution

  • 80 grams sea salt
  • 1 litre water

Sides

  • Tomato slices
  • Onion slices
  • Feta cheese
  • Cucumber
  • Pitta breads
Greek souvlaki - enjoy the best chicken souvlaki ever with this delicious recipe

Instructions

We have included two ways to cook these chicken kebabs:

  1. In the oven – 20 mins
  2. On frying pan or BBQ – 10 mins

Both are tasty so it’s down to your preference.

  1. Place the chicken fillets in a bowl with an 8% brine solution – 80 grams salt with 1 litre of water. Cover and put it in the fridge from the night before or for 2 hours before cooking.
  2. Place the wooden skewers in cold water for 20 minutes before cooking. This prevents them from burning.
  3. If you are oven cooking the chicken (as opposed to using the frying pan) then preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  4. Remove the chicken fillets from the brine. Pat them dry and chop them into cubes about 2 x 2cm in size. Place in a bowl.
  5. Add in the crushed garlic cloves, the juice of 1 lemon, oil, honey, paprika and fresh thyme leaves along with some salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with your hands so that all the ingredients are equally distributed over the chicken cubes.
  6. Start threading the wooden skewers. Place 5-7 pieces on each skewer.
  7. If you are making mini skewers for the frying pan we recommend keeping the chicken pieces towards one end of the skewer (not the middle) and limiting to 5 pieces per skewer. This is so that they can be laid flat in a frying pan and all pieces can reach the heat and be booked through. Fry on each side for 5 minutes or until brown. Check the chicken pieces are cooked through before serving.
  8. If you oven cooking the skewers then simply place the chicken kebabs in an oiled oven dish. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until browned.
  9. Toast or warm your pitta bread and place the chicken pieces inside. Add the toppings of your choosing: we have put crumbled feta cheese, sliced cucumber, tomatoes, onions and a yoghurt (tzatziki) sauce. Wrap up and enjoy!

 

Greek souvlaki – our step by step guide:

 

 

About 20 minutes before starting place your wooden skewers in a cold water bath.

This stops them from burning later on.

 

Greek souvlaki - enjoy the best chicken souvlaki ever with this delicious recipe

 

Preheat your oven to 180°C if you’re oven-cooking your chicken.

Cut the chicken fillets into 2 x 2 cm cubes and place in a bowl.

 

Greek souvlaki - enjoy the best chicken souvlaki ever with this delicious recipe

 

Add in the crushed garlic cloves, the juice of 1 lemon, oil, honey, paprika and fresh thyme leaves along with some salt and pepper.

Mix well with your hands so that the ingredients are evenly distributed over the chicken cubes.

 

Greek souvlaki - enjoy the best chicken souvlaki ever with this delicious recipe

 

Thread the chicken cubes onto the chicken skewers.

If oven cooking place 7 pieces of chicken on each wooden stick and put in an oiled oven dish.

Place in the preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes or until browned.

 

Greek souvlaki - enjoy the best chicken souvlaki ever with this delicious recipe

 

If you are cooking in a frying pan put 5 pieces on per chicken skewer and keep them towards one end of the skewer.

This is so that you can lay the pieces of meat flat on the frying pan so they can cook evenly.

 

Greek souvlaki - enjoy the best chicken souvlaki ever with this delicious recipe

 

Cook the chicken skewers in the frying pan on a medium heat, for 5 minutes on each side.

When they are done, check they are cooked through.

 

Greek souvlaki - enjoy the best chicken souvlaki ever with this delicious recipe

 

Prepare your sides.

Chop the tomatoes, onions and cucumber.

Dice or crumble some feta cheese.

Toast or warm some pitta breads.

 

Greek souvlaki - enjoy the best chicken souvlaki ever with this delicious recipe

 

Fill your pitta bread with all the fillings you like!

 

Greek souvlaki - enjoy the best chicken souvlaki ever with this delicious recipe

 

 

 

Wrap and enjoy!

 

Greek souvlaki - enjoy the best chicken souvlaki ever with this delicious recipe

If you enjoyed this Greek souvlaki recipe, take a look at our sticky honey and lemon chicken kebabs for another great chicken recipe.

 

Greek souvlaki - enjoy the best chicken souvlaki ever with this delicious recipe

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5 from 2 votes

Greek souvlaki – the best chicken kebab

The Greek souvlaki. Cubes of succulent chicken breast, marinated in aromatic herbs and cooked on a stick, placed in a warm toasted pitta bread and garnished with a fresh herb yoghurt sauce (tzatiki), and chopped tomatoes.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Greek
Keyword chicken kebab, chicken souvlaki, greek souvlaki
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Brining 2 hours
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 chicken kebabs

Ingredients

Chicken kebab

  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 lemon’s juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper seasoning

Brine solution

  • 80 grams sea salt
  • 1 litre water

Sides

  • 3 tomatoes slices
  • 1 onion sliced
  • ½ cucumber diced
  • 8 pitta breads toasted

Instructions

  • Place the chicken fillets in a bowl with an 8% brine solution – 80 grams salt with 1 litre of water. Cover and put it in the fridge from the night before or for 2 hours before cooking.
  • Place the wooden skewers in cold water for 20 minutes before cooking. This prevents them from burning.
  • When you are ready to begin, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (if you are oven cooking the chicken).
  • Remove the chicken fillets from the brine. Pat them dry and chop them into cubes about 2 x 2cm in size. Place in a bowl.
  • Add in the crushed garlic cloves, the juice of 1 lemon, oil, honey, paprika and fresh thyme leaves along with some salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with your hands so that all the ingredients are equally distributed over the chicken cubes.
  • Start threading the wooden skewers. Place 5-7 pieces on each skewer.
  • If you are making mini skewers for the frying pan we recommend keeping the chicken pieces towards one end of the skewer (not the middle) and limiting to 5 pieces per skewer. This is so that they can be laid flat in a frying pan and all pieces can reach the heat and be booked through. Fry on each side for 5 minutes or until brown. Check the chicken is cooked through before serving.
  • If you oven cooking the skewers then simply place the chicken kebabs in an oiled oven dish. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until browned.
  • Toast or warm your pitta bread and place the chicken pieces inside. Add the toppings of your choosing: we have put crumbled feta cheese, sliced cucumber, tomatoes, onions and a yoghurt (tzatziki) sauce. Wrap up and enjoy!