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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gyro, Giro, Yiros, Yeeros or Donner Kebabs

Whatever you call them, they're delicious!

I hadn't had a Yeeros since before I left Australia almost 6 years ago. I didn't even have one when I went back for a visit in 2009. They are readily available here in the US, although they are a bit different. The pita bread is small and fairly thick in contrast to what I'm used to...12" (30cm) or so and 1-2mm thick, so much meat you can't taste anything else and you need a knife and fork to eat it.

So, after scouring various sources for recipes, I'm able to make my own.

The basic ingredients are pita bread, tzatziki (cucumber yogurt dip), yeeros meat, shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, tabouleh and chilli sauce or hummus.

First off, I didn't make the yeeros meat, as I can actually buy it at the local supermarket cheaper than I can make it. But, here is the recipe if you want to try it yourself.

1 pound ground lamb
1/2 cup very finely chopped (or shredded) onion
2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt (preferably sea salt)
1/2 teaspoon dried ground marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried ground rosemary
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Mix everything together and let sit in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Blend in a food processor for about 1 minute. (When cooked, this will help give it a more traditional yeeros feel on your palate. Otherwise, it just takes like cooked minced meat.)

Bake in the oven in a loaf tin for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, at 325F. It should be a bit dry.

Next, make your tabouleh. I've always been scared of making tabouleh but found out is so simple to do and really does taste good.

3 bunches flat leaf parsley
1 bunch mint
4 or 5 green onions (with the green parts)
4 tomatos medium size chopped into small cubes
100g of burghul
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 tbs olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Soak the burghul in cold water for 1/2 an hour then drain.
Chop the parsley, mint and green onions in a food processor until finely chopped.

Mix all the ingredients together, taste and adjust seasoning if needed. 

Just a note on the burghul. Burghul is a form of cracked wheat. It should be readily available at any health food store.

Next make your Tzatziki. Tzatziki is a dip made with Greek yogurt, cucumber and garlic. I'm not a fan of Greek yogurt or any other yogurt for that matter, but I like this. (How wog am I?)

1 cup Greek yogurt
¼ English cucumber, chopped into small pieces
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients together and mix them well, then cover and rest for at least an hour.

Now is time for a confession. I tried twice today to make Pita bread and failed miserably. I initially followed the recipe I had, but it called for so much water compared to flour that what I ended up with wasn't a was more like soup!

I cut the water down on the second attempt but the "dough" was still too sticky and I couldn't get  it to the size I wanted. So, a quick run down the road to the local Middle Eastern Market (lucky huh!), I had a bag of pita bread for $1.89. Yeah, I know, I should have just done that in the first place, cause it is cheaper than making it. (That's one of many culinary failures and no doubt, not the last.)

Here's the recipe for the pita if you want to have a bash yourself. It's up to you, but I'll be buying mine from now on.

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup water, roughly at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place all ingredients in bread pan of your bread machine, select Dough setting and start.

When the machine is done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Form a ball out of the dough and place it into the bowl, rolling the ball of dough around in the bowl so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, put baking stone in the oven to preheat as well.

After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.

If you have a spray bottle in the kitchen, spray a light mist of water onto your baking surface and close the oven for 30 seconds.

Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes.

When you've got the ingredients ready to go (remember to let the Tzatziki rest for at least an hour) it's time to get making this fine delicacy.

First, you need to heat up your yeeros meat. It should be sliced very thin, so just tear it into reasonable size pieces, pile it into a large frying pan and warm/cook it through. It doesn't matter if a few bits get crispy. Drain it on paper towel as lamb is greasy and there will be a lot grease left in the pan.

Next just assemble, pita bread then tzatziki. You could put hummus in pace of the tzatziki.

Next, put on your yeeros meat and if you want it, chilli sauce. (I doctored up some Heinz chilli sauce by putting hot sauce in it, still not as good as Masterfoods chilli sauce from back home)

Throw on your tomato, onion, lettuce and tabouleh.

Roll it up, wrap it up and tuck in!




  1. good, but tsatziki should also have olive oil. Little tip from the greeks =P

    You can also use beef or pork in yeeros though. You can use chicken too but it's not as good.