GYROS

   

'Gyros' pronounced 'Yeeros', is one of the most well known meat dishes on Crete. The name is derived from the Greek word gyros which simply means 'rotating' or 'turning'. The meat is prepared on a vertical spit. On Crete pork meat is the most popular filling although, in Hania, chicken and minced meat kebab are an alternative. Another difference you will find on the island is that tzatziki is replaced with yoghurt. 'Gyros' was originally introduced to Greece from Thessaloniki. There are several stories regarding the origin of the Gyros origin. One is that the first 'gytadiko'  'fast food shop' was 'Giorgos' who brought gyros to Thessaloniki in 1970 another story states that Gyros became popular in the 1950's. When a fast food cook arrived in Piraeus from Constantinople. Thessaloniki try to keep up their reputation of introducing this 'sandwich' by offering the biggest in all of the Greek cities!

  

The snack consisting of meat, tomato, onion, chips and either yoghurt or tzatziki, served all wrapped up in a  pita bread. You can also have a gyros plate which is the same ingredients but served on a plate which you normally have in a grill or taverna. Slices of meat are placed on a tall vertical spit, which turns in front of a grill. The rate of roasting can be adjusted by varying the strength of the heat and the distance between the heat source and meat, allowing the cook to adjust this to varying rates as the meat is sold. When cooked the meat is sliced vertically into strips prior to wrapping or plating. These very satisfying and moreish snacks are consumed on a daily basis all over the island from lunch time until late at night.


To make at home cut tender pork loin or shoulder into thin strips and marinade it in a little vinegar and mild American mustard (optional). Add oregano, paprika, salt and pepper. You can buy Greek pita round flat bread on the island in most supermarket, however if your making this at home you might find them hard to source. However, a little tip, they sell them in Makro and believe it or not in the food section of IKEA. 

 

Whilst the meat is cooking, either grilling or frying, slice the tomato and onion thinly and fry the chips, you also need some yoghurt or tzatziki, or whatever else you want to spread on the pita. In some areas they use tomato sauce and even mixed pickles or Russian salad. Brush the pita bread with olive oil and fry in a dry frying pan or grill for a few minutes until warmed and softened, not crisp.


In the centre of each pita:
  • spread 1 heaped tablespoon of tzatziki

  • add 2-3 slices of tomato

  • add sliced onion to taste

  • add gyros meat

  • sprinkle with sea salt (to taste) and more sweet paprika

  • top with french fries (optional)

Twist the gyro sandwich in parchment paper, or wax paper and serve. If you want more chips serve them separately this makes it easier to wrap the pita as it won’t be too full.

 
 
 
 

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