You might be tempted to think. What do they know about creating the Ultimate Souvla Guide?
Well, we’ve eaten enough of it. And, we’re happy to say, in fact, proud to say; “we don’t believe anyone prepares and barbeques either Souvla or Souvlaki with our kind of love and care”. And, the best way to enjoy it is with friends & family.
That’s why we’ve written this “Ultimate Souvla Guide”
Surprisingly, not everyone has tasted this incredible BBQ food. Souvla, or “skewer” in Greek, are large chunks of meat grilled to perfection on a BBQ. Souvlaki, (“little skewer”) is what most people BBQ at home. Soulva is skewered on long rods, typically a metre long; whereas Souvlaki (being much smaller) is usually skewered on thin rods about 30cm long. Both are quintessentially Cypriot. And, are an extremely popular dish. Mostly we cook Pork Soulva, but Chicken is also fabulous. Both are great when cooked with lemon drizzled-over them and sprayed with some ‘watered-down’ Zivania for added flavour. There are many recipes available online…
Souvla, or “skewer” in Greek
Souvlaki, (“little skewer”)
We thought we’d share our favourite way to cook in This Ultimate Souvla Guide
First, you should make sure you have plenty of good quality charcoal. You can use Briquettes if you wish – they are in fact very useful if cooking for large numbers. However, we prefer to and always have used only charcoal. As some of you may know, Cyprus once produced much of its own charcoal from Carob Trees. The Carob is an ideal tree for making charcoal because it is a close-grained hardwood that produced really excellent slow-burning charcoal. Nowadays most charcoal in Cyprus is supplied through a network of European distributors. Nevertheless, get good charcoal if you can.
As with all BBQ cooking, it’s important to marinate the meat for as long as possible.
Overnight is ideal – but even 3 or 4 hours will make a difference. Leaving the Souvla or Souvlaki overnight in a bowl with white wine (or Rosé) some Rosemary, Oregano and salt & pepper should do the trick. You know you’re ready to start cooking when almost all of your charcoal has turned white. A few red coals won’t hurt but keep an eye on them so that you don’t burn the meat.
Ideally, you’ll already have a little battery-operated rotisserie that you can pick up in almost any kiosk in Cyprus.
They only cost a few Euros plus one LR20 (the “fat one”) battery. Start by cooking the Souvla as close to the charcoal as you can. Just for 5-10 minutes or until you see them turning nicely brown. Then, with this done, raise them up so that they still cook evenly without being in danger of drying out. Cooking times vary, for Souvla it is about 60-80 minutes. You’re looking for the meat to gradually turn ‘crunchy’ on the outside but remain succulent on the inside. Souvlaki will BBQ much faster so keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t get overdone.
We spray our meet with a water and zivania mix which adds a little authentic flavouring. And, when ready to serve, both Souvla and Souvlaki are perfect with plenty of lemon juice squeezed over them.
Zivania or zivana is a Cypriotomace brandy produced from the distillation of a mixture of grape pomace and local dry wines made from Xynisteri and Mavro grapes. Zivania is colourless and alcoholic with a light aroma of raisins