grilled chicken kebabs with lemon, chili and mint and home-made tzatziki

by Sam on July 15, 2013

grilled chicken kebabs with lemon, chilli and mint and tzatziki grilled chicken kebabs with lemon, chilli and mint and tzatziki tzatziki

These lemony chicken kebabs with chilli, mint and oregano totally hit the spot with my recent craving for Greek flavours. I decided to make tzatziki too, because its so easy, so much cheaper and better than any shop bought variety, and I get to make it exactly how I like it – low in fat, mild in garlic and heavy on the cucumber with a citrus zing and a hit of chilli.

Simply lip-smackingly delicious.

The by product of squeezing out all the liquid from the cucumber was a refreshing drink which got me immediately imagining making a  cocktail with it.  I’m thinking Hendricks gin and some spice. Watch this space.

The kebabs can be cooked on a braai / barbecue, but if you are in a hurry a gas grill or griddle pan works just as well. Ideally you want to make the marinade in advance and let them wallow in that for as long as possible to absorb the flavour.

In the past I have enjoyed making tzatziki with zucchini, it tends to be drier and tastes amazing, but I love a more traditional cucumber version too. I used a low fat yoghurt to make the tzatziki because I am trying to watch my calorie intake. Ideally a thick, full fat Greek yoghurt is the best. I like a high ratio of cucumber to yoghurt, but if you like your tzatzki creamy, simply increase the quantity of yoghurt. It needs a fair bit of salt, so keep tasting and adjusting until you are happy with it. As far as the garlic goes, I’m not a big fan of raw garlic, it is very abrasive for me,  so I only use half to one small clove. If you like it very pungent, just add more.

Recipe | makes 4 large kebabs

  • 4 skinless free-range chicken breasts

Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves
  • 2T roughly chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic
  • zest of a lemon
  • juice of half a lemon (reserve the other half for spritzing the kebabs after they are grilled)

Tzatzki

  • 1 English cucumber, grated
  • 1 cup / 250 g yoghurt (greek or low fat+
  • 1/2 – 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes / cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 T finely chopped mint
  • 2t finely chopped fresh oregano, or 1 t dried
  • zest of half a lemon
  • juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • sea salt and pepper

Slightly flatten the chicken breast with the palm of your hand and then cut into 3 strips down the length of the breast. Cut these strips in half. Thread the chicken strips onto a skewer until you have the size you want. I got 4 large kebabs out of these  *if you are using  wooden skewers and making this for your braai / barbecue. pre soak them in water, as this prevents them catching on the fire.

Place all your marinade ingredients into a food processor or liquidiser and whizz up until you have a thick sauce. Pour this over the chicken kebabs ensuring they are well coated, cover and refrigerate for an hour, the day or even over night.

To make the tzatziki place the grated cucumber in a muslin cloth or clean tea towel and ring out as much of the liquid as you can. Hang this over a colander over a bowl to catch the liquid which makes a refreshing drink. Keep on ringing it until it is fairly dry. Mix this with all the other ingredients and adjust the seasoning to taste. A spritz of lemon livens it up, and a pinch of chilli adds a burst of heat.

Grill your kebabs on all sides turning as you go, and until they are cooked through. Serve with fresh mint, chopped chilli  and lemon wedges to further spritz over after cooking.

My all-time best way to eat chicken kebabs – or any Greek flavored meat –  is in a toasty warm pita bread, slathered with tzaziki and filled to the brim with crunchy fresh salad.

grilled chicken kebabs with lemon, chilli and mint and tzatziki grilled chicken kebabs with lemon, chilli and mint and tzatziki

I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.

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Leave a Comment

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

thelittleloaf July 15, 2013 at 11:56 am

These look seriously delicious. My favourite tip for tzatziki is to grate then salt the cucumber and leave it to drain for 20 mins or so before squeezing out the juice, however I love the idea of using leftover (and unsalted, obviously!) juice for cocktails too!

Rosa July 15, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Fantastic! I’m a big fan of Greek food and souvlaki. As a matter of fact, on Saturday, I made pita with pork souvlaki and tzatziki.

Gorgeous pictures!

Cheers,

Rosa

Sam July 15, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Thanks Rosa, and your souvlaki sounds amazing. I could eat it every day.

Sam July 15, 2013 at 12:15 pm

That is a such a great tip about the salt, perhaps an initial squeeze to get all the juice out (to drink) and then a salting to get the rest out?. I must say I will always want to drink the juice form now on. I have also heard to drain overnight (weighted) in the fridge also ensures more of a dry tzatziki.

jbird July 15, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Oh nom nom, I love tzatziki – and this zucchini version sounds intriguing!

Laura (Tutti Dolci) July 15, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I love kebabs, these look scrumptious with your home-made tzatziki!

Sam July 15, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Thanks Laura :-)

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com July 16, 2013 at 4:22 am

Totally delish!! And love the styling, Sam :)

Lori July 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Hi Sam. I’ve become quite a fan of your blog. Beautiful photos and inspiring tastes. Love to share ideas across the globe. Love the Greek/Middle Eastern flavors, too! I’m in Texas, USA, so we love the cool flavors during our hot summers. Thanks for your effort!

Sam July 17, 2013 at 11:48 am

Hi Lori, thanks for the kind words, and yes, sharing is what its all about and the main reason why I love to do this. I’m glad you enjoy my recipes and lucky you being in summer. Mid winter here.

Valerie July 17, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Cucumber juice + Hendricks & spice! Yes, please! As well as several of these chicken kebabs! (I could eat tzatziki by the spoonful!). :D

Ffion July 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm

i have a whole set of those plates with matching bowls and a tea set. you’ve styled them beautifully and the kebabs look delicious! x

Sam July 19, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Awesome, they are so steakhousey and cast iron so hip these days

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