Olympic Souvlaki with Tzatziki

This is for my friends and blog commenters who have asked me why I have been avoiding the Olympics in my blog. Well…

  1. I have been too busy watching the Olympics on TV to blog much
  2. Two – not all of the sports interest me unless they involve great athletic prowess, a huge record breaking headline, controversy (doping scandals etc.) or Holland (who are 10th by the way in the medal rankings in case you were wondering ūüėČ ). Sri Lanka…well lets not even go there.
  3. I’m feeling very poor after my trip to Bangkok and have been working my backside off.

Anyway back to the subject at hand.

The first modern-day Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896, with 241 athletes (all male) from 14 nations competing in 9 sports with 43 events. Volleyball wasn’t one of them.

Athens hosted its second Summer Games in 2004, this time with 10,625 athletes (4,329 women and 6,296 men) from 201 nations competing in 28 sports with 301 events Рincluding volleyball and beach volleyball. All that progress deserves a tasty Greek treat.

This dish can be prepared with lamb, chicken and pork although the recipe below is best with either lamb or pork. I don’t actually eat lamb so I make it with pork or chicken but some prefer lamb for the better depth of meaty flavour.

Olympic Souvlaki with Tzatziki:


For the souvlaki

  • 1 kilo boneless¬†pork¬†or lamb (e.g. leg fillet or steaks. I use pork loin)
  • 1 tbsp¬†coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp rigani, or dried¬†oregano
  • 150ml/5fl oz extra virgin¬†olive oil
  • 4 tbsp¬†red wine vinegar
  • 1¬†onion, grated or very finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves, roughly torn (if not available omit these)
  • salt and freshly ground¬†black pepper

For the tzatziki

  • ¬Ĺ¬†cucumber, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 tbsp white or¬†red wine vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground¬†black pepper
  • 150g/5oz thick Greek-style¬†yoghurt (I think you could safely substitute curd here)
  • 1 clove¬†garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh¬†mint, finely chopped


  1. Cut the pork or lamb into 2cm/¬ĺin cubes, trimming off any gristle or other unwanted fat.
  2. Mix all the remaining souvlaki ingredients and then pour over the meat.
  3. Turn so that all the pieces are coated, then cover and leave to marinate for at least two hours, but preferably nearer to 24 hours, in a cool place (or fridge).
  4. To make the tzatziki, spread the cucumber dice out in a colander or sieve, and sprinkle over the vinegar and a little salt.
  5. Leave to drain for one hour, then pat dry with kitchen paper or a clean tea towel.
  6. Mix with the rest of the tzatziki ingredients, then taste and adjust seasoning. Serve either lightly chilled or at room temperature.
  7. Back to the souvlaki. Soak wooden skewers in cold water for an hour or two, and then thread the meat on the skewers. Don’t push the cubes right up against each other, but leave a minuscule gap between each pair, just enough space for the heat to curl round every cube, cooking it evenly.
  8. Preheat either the barbecue or grill or an oiled griddle pan (place over a high heat for about 3-5 minutes), then cook the kebabs close to the heat, or on the griddle pan, turning and brushing occasionally with the leftover marinade, until they are crusty and brown.
Olympic Souvlaki with Tzatziki
Olympic Souvlaki with Tzatziki

Serve sizzling hot, with a wedge of lemon, the tzatziki and warm crispy pitta breads.

4 thoughts on “Olympic Souvlaki with Tzatziki”

  1. Super, I have been pretending to work, study anything else, ever since the games started. (I competed and did not get a slot but my good friend did and he won a gold! Yey!!) My Olympic viewing is mostly centered around what my fellow Americans compete. I go home, when there is football (soccer) as they are on some Japanese or European channel. Home is crowded with horde of ladies, young and old, mostly Japanese, cheering the Japanese squad, mostly. My Mom competed for Japan, when she was young! (not that she is any different now!)
    Getting back to Greek food, I love them, just as any Mediterranean cuisine. Specially the stuff made with milk!
    Looks like you are on a trip with burned meat ūüôā how about some raw stuff, I had ‘yuk-hwae’, a Korean beef salad, last night, everything served raw as a salad should be. ūüôā

    1. Hey yes my recent recipes are for well-cooked meat. I do love that charred BBQ taste. I’m not averse to raw meat at all (although in Sri Lanka you have to be super careful). I’ll check out that Korean salad – sounds lovely. Do you also like steak tartare?

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