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Homemade Gyros

November 29, 2007

And finally, the recipe. But first: a few words. The end result of this recipe is NOT like a gyro you would get in a Greek restaurant. This is as good as it gets without the standing skewer thingie. (I’m sure there’s a better way of describing it, but it’s late and so my brain can only come up with “standing skewer thingie”. Please forgive me.)

The idea of making gyros at home was born at a little Greek Pizzeria joint on Cape Cod. It was there that they served me up a gyro using thin ground lamb patties and a little light bulb went off in my head. A second light bulb went off when I was flipping through a Betty Crocker cookbook and stumbled upon a recipe for gyros that looked like it might possibly work. Lo and behold, I found it on their site so I don’t have to type it out: Gyro recipe from Betty Crocker.

I modified the recipe just a little bit. Instead of making four huge patties, I made several oval-shaped very thin patties, similar to what I had at the Greek place on Cape Cod. I cooked the patties on a grill pan. (Ikea)

I added thinly sliced, room-temperature tomatoes and thinly sliced onion cooked in olive oil to each gyro.

I omitted the mint simply because I didn’t have any. The housesitter we hired over the summer did the unimaginable and killed off the mint I had growing in our front yard. I thought it would survive a nuclear war but alas, all my mint is gone and I didn’t have any from the store on hand.

The tzatziki part of the recipe isn’t very authentic, but it worked. If you’re in the mood for authentic, here’s a recipe with pictures to walk you through the process. The great part about living in Kuwait is that lebnah IS Greek yogurt so you don’t have to go through the process of straining yogurt. Some people use sour cream to make tzatziki, but I think the healthiest option would be to use low-fat or fat-free yogurt/Greek yogurt/lebnah. I’m partial to lebnah by Ulker, because it’s not sour. The “light” version is a bit sour but not as sour as the other brands. It’s just a matter of taste. A Lebanese friend of mine loves Sultan Center’s generic version but I just bought a tub of the light variety today and it’s a bit too sour for my taste. If the lebnah proves to be too thick to mix in the cucumbers, don’t drain them after shredding. The water from the cucumbers will thin the lebnah out to a thick sauce.

I like thick pita bread with gyros so I used the fresh pita bread available at Carrefour’s bakery. It’s a great option but it was a little too thick for me and I could hardly finish my gyro. For thin pita bread, I like the one from Kuwait Flour Mills. They also make wheat pita bread, which is also thin and a healthier option.

So there you have it. I hope you try it and then come back or e-mail me with the results. Bon appetite!

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