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Want some pita gyros? Here’s the Greek recipe

Do you know how to prepare Pita Gyros, one of the most typical Greek dishes? Here is the recipe, which tells you how to make a speciality that achieves a perfect balance between meat, bread and veg.

 

Greek cuisine offers a characteristic example of Mediterranean diet. Indeed, olive oil, fish, lamb and a great variety of vegetables are the most frequent ingredients still used in one of the world’s oldest culinary traditions. And among the most typical dishes of Greek cuisine is the Pita Gyros, a fixed item on the menus of any genuine Hellenic restaurant, whether it be a crowded bistro in Athens or a quiet tavern in a tranquil Peloponnese island.

Pita: the bread that all Arab peoples use

Greek pita is a type of leavened bread used in traditional Mediterranean food for centuries, especially in Greece and the Middle East. Its typical preparation involves cooking in a high temperature oven (c. 370°C): this causes the bread to swell up, creating the classic empty pocket in the centre, ready to be filled. The home cooked version, on the other hand, can be cooked at maximum temperature in domestic ovens, at c.240°C.

Greek pita is perfect for accompanying typical sauces like tzatziki and hummus, but it is above all the basic element for preparing stuffed kebab-type food, usually containing roast meat, like the Pita Gyros.

 

The Pita Gyros may resemble a kebab, but it isn’t a kebab

It looks similar to a Turkish kebab but, unlike it, the Pita Gyros is based on pork, usually marinated or flavored with spices, herbs and salt.

Usually the meat is cooked on a spit and, once the outer part has been become crispy, it is cut in thin slices and placed on or in the pita. So, in terms of cooking procedure, the Pita Gyros is indeed similar to the kebab.

As well as its pork meat, the Greek dish is also garnished with tzatziki sauce, potato chips, tomatoes, lettuce and onion.

It represents a complete and delicious dish, which is also one of the best-loved street foods in Greece, the classic representative of Greek street food.

If you’re not keen on eating pork, you can make your Pita Gyros with chicken instead, or diversify with other kinds of sauces or vegetables. However, as we like to respect traditional ethnic cuisine, here we suggest you try the most typical recipe, which for Pita Gyros means a filling with pork and tzatziki – the classic Greek sauce made with creamy yogurt, cucumbers and garlic.

 

Pita Gyros recipe: serving Greek cuisine

Ingredients

2 slices of pork

pita bread

2 tomatoes

3 leaves of lettuce

french fries

tzatziki sauce*

1 onion

peanut oil

extra virgin olive oil

salt according to taste

pepper

 

Firstly, let’s see how to make the pita bread.

Ingredients for the pita

200 g Manitoba flour

200 g plain flour

250 ml water

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 g brewer’s yeast powder

8 g salt

1 teaspoon of sugar

 

Procedure

Mix together in a bowl the yeast, sugar, both kinds of flour (after sieving) and a little water at room temperature.

Begin hand kneading, then add the oil and the salt and continue kneading until the ball of dough reaches due consistency.

Place the dough in a bowl and allow it to sit for a few hours, covered by a cloth.

After two hours, divide the dough into various same-sized pieces and use a rolling pin to flatten them into circles roughly 15 cm in diameter.

Oil the pita rounds on baking paper and oven bake for c. 5 minutes, at your oven’s maximum temperature.

 

Now for the preparation of the sauce.

Ingredients for the tzatziki sauce

250 g Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

2 teaspoons of chopped dill

1 cucumber

1 teaspoon of vinegar

1 pinch of salt

 

Procedure

Dice the cucumber into very small pieces, without peeling it, or else grate it not too finely with a grater and let it drain. Chop the garlic and dill finely. Blend the Greek yogurt and the extra virgin olive oil energetically, using a tablespoon and whisk. Add the vinegar, chopped garlic and dill, plus a pinch of salt and blend.

 

The last step: filling the Pita Gyros

You have made the sauce and baked the pita bread, now you have to prepare the meat and veg filling.

Cut the slices of pork into narrow strips (easiest with kitchen scissors).

Line your oven’s baking tray with baking paper and sprinkle the meat with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Leave a little space between the strips of meat and cook at 180°C for c. 10 minutes.

As soon as the meat is cooked, set it aside but keep it warm, while you fry the chips.

At this point, warm the pita on a dish and spread each piece with tzatziki sauce. Then add the onion, tomato, salad, meat and chips. Fold and close the bread and… enjoy your Pita Gyros!

 

One last curiosity: how many calories in a Pita Gyros?

The Greek pita bread, with no garnishing, contains c. 270 calories. A complete Pita Gyros, however, contains over 500 calories.  So, if you want to lower the calories we advise you to make a vegetarian version using Greek feta cheese, which will make it possible to keep your Pita Gyros down to c.400 calories.  If you want a still lower calorie count, use only the tzatziki sauce and grilled vegetables such as aubergine, zucchini and red or yellow peppers. An ideal solution for vegetarians…

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