It’s National Gyro Day!
Who would have known? It is indeed a day to celebrate the tall tower of meat rotating on a vertical rotisserie and sliced off into thin crispy shavings as it is cooked. Gyro is also a Greek dish of roasted meat served in pita bread, usually accompanied by tomatoes, onions and tzatziki, a cold, creamy Greek dipping sauce made from yogurt, cucumber and various herbs or spices.
In Greek, gyro (pronounced YEE-roh) has the meaning of “turn”, and that is why the rotating grilled meat has since been referred to as gyro. In spite of its popularity amongst diners, it is one of the most mispronounced food with the popular variations being “jee-ros”, “jai-ros” or “gee-ros.” Due to the lack of a true letter G in the Greek language, the Greek letter gamma is pronounced as “yeh.”
Gyros are typically made of beef, lamb or chicken. The meat can be prepared in two ways. It may be sliced off a combination of beef and chicken that is formed into a loaf before roasted on the rotisserie.
On the other hand, gyros can be made from pre-cooked slices of meat stacked into a cylindrical shape and is cooked by rotating it on a vertical rotisserie until the meat’s outer layer is crispy. They are very similar to Turkish döner kebabs and Middle Eastern shawarmas, which are slices of meat rather than a minced loaf.
Gyros are usually served in pita bread, but a deconstructed version of it may sometimes be served in certain restaurants. Instead, they serve you all the elements of a gyro on a plate, including the meat, tomatoes, lettuce, tzatziki and pita bread. The dish may also be served with French fries.
History of Gyros
Dating back to ancient times, cooking meat on a rotating spit has been the norm as it cooks meat evenly as it rotates above fire. However, when it comes to the modern gyro, the Greece cuisine made its way to North America in the 1960s. Initially, gyros were served in small restaurants all over Chicago. Not long after, the Greek community in Chicago expanded, and the trend took off by the 1970s.
What’s so great about it?
The food is fast and easily assembled. Gyros are not only packed full of flavour, but they can also be eaten on the go, which makes it ideal for those looking for a quick meal while rushing for time. A great alternative to fast food, they are built for being eaten while being mobile but also sumptuous and filling.
However, customers that have never tried gyros before may encounter some difficulties eating the pita bread that is bursting with ingredients. Here are some helpful tips for eating gyros:
- Foil is your best friend. The best way to minimise dripping and keep everything as neat as possible is to keep as much foil wrapped around your bread as possible. The trick is to tear it off in bits and pieces and you continue to eat your meal.
- Reduce vegetables. Try to cut down on the amount of vegetables that you include in your gyro. There’s nothing with trying to eat healthy but when the tangy taste of tomatoes and iceberg lettuce gets in the way of perfection than its times to take some of it out of the equation.
- Not too much sauce. Of course, the key to a good gyro is the sauce. However, there are limits as to how much sauce should be in your meal. Too much of it and you’ll find it seeped into your pita bread and a soggy mess is what you’ll midway eating your gyro.
Homemade Gyro Recipe
To make your own gyro, first, you will need ingredients such as an 8 oz. pork or lamb tenderloin, 1 Tbsp. of kosher salt, half Tbsp. of fresh cracked pepper, a Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil, a quarter cup of Greek yogurt, 2 finely minced cloves of garlic, half lemon (juiced), half tsp. of smoked paprika, a quarter tsp. of dried rosemary, thyme and marjoram and lastly, wooden skewers.
- The ingredients are combined together into a zip lock bag. The bag is sealed and left to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
- The grill is preheated to medium-high heat. In the meantime, skewer the meat pieces together. Avoid overcrowding the skewers, as the meat will steam instead of char.
- Place the skewers on the grill and cook for 4 minutes on each side. Once done, remove the skewers and tent with foil to allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
- Remove meat from the skewers and slice as thinly as you can for assembly into the bread.
*Do note that there are many variations of gyro recipes and you may explore many more options on the Internet.
Where can you find it in Malaysia
Turkish food and Greek food can be found most prominently opposite Lot 10 and Fahrenheit 88, Bukit Bintang. As the side of the walkway, you will see a Turkish ice cream man making fun of and tricking the customers with their fanciful way of serving up an ice cream cone.
This particular restaurant is Al-Amar Express and every day, its seats are filled with diners that are eager to try out their beef or chicken shawarma. Other restaurants that are popular are Tarbush Restaurant and Blue & Bees.
Foodpanda offers a selection of Mediterranean eateries to choose from for readers that are craving for gyros and shawarmas. Get it delivered right to your doorstep for your enjoyment in the comfort of your own home!