I always wanted to know what was the difference between a gyros and a döner. You can eat one in the Greek restaurants and the other in the Turkish ones. Both taste great, but are quite similar, so I wondered. I had a look on Wikipedia and found out that both are actually quite the same thing, that is pieces of meat placed on a vertical rotisserie, which turns slowly in front of an electric broiler.
My son had his first döner a few weeks ago in a Turkish restaurant. Actually my husband and I ordered döner, while the children decided to eat pizza (what else?). Bruno wanted to taste the döner and after having his first bite from my husband’s, he forgot about the pizza and ate about half of my husband’s döner and a good portion of mine too. He’s been talking about it ever since.
This week he turned seven and he wished me to cook döner for his birthday. I agreed and then realized that I actually do not have the possibility to cook the meat the usual döner/gyros way. I searched the internet and easily found an alternative. Just cut your meat in fine slices, marinate them for a while and cook them in a pan. Wonderful!
I did that and everything turned out great, everybody loved our döner/gyros and my son was overjoyed. He had a döner on his birthday, a döner for lunch and a döner for dinner the next day (as usual when we celebrate birthdays in our house, we have leftovers, I always make too much).
I used two kinds of meat: pork and turkey, so pork for the gyros and turkey for the döner one could say :). Take what you like best, both versions taste great and there is no difference in preparing them. We stuffed the meat into Turkish flat breads, which we bought in the Turkish store. They are very large and I could get four bread pockets out of one bread. We topped everything with tzatziki, shredded red cabbage, tomato and onion slices.
I marinated 2 kilo meat, it was enough for about 15 döner. I will give you the recipe for only 4 portions.
- 500 g/ 1 lbs turkey breast or pork neck
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika powder
- 3 teaspoons dry oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons dry thyme
- ½ teaspoon dry marjoram
- ½ dry rosemary
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 medium onion
- juice of ½ lemon
- 60 ml/ ¼ cup olive oil
- For the tzatziki
- 1 cucumber
- 500 g/ 2 cups Greek yogurt
- juice of ½ lemon
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- a bunch of dill
- salt and pepper
- To serve
- 1 flat bread
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- ½ red cabbage, finely shredded
- Slice the meat into very thin slices, about 4-5 cm/ 1.5-2 inches long and place them in a large, non-reactive bowl. Add all the spices. Chop the garlic cloves very finely and slice the onions into thin half rings. Add them to the meat together with the lemon juice and olive oil. Do not add any salt at this stage, salt the meat after cooking it. Mix well and place the bowl in the fridge. Leave the meat to marinate for several hours, I marinated it overnight.
- For the tzatziki roughly grate the cucumber or dice it very finely. Put them in a colander, sprinkle them with a tablespoon of salt and leave them drain for about 30 minutes. Place them in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze as much water out of them as you can. Mix the cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, grated garlic cloves and finely chopped dill in a bowl. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 390 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Heat a large pan and cook the meat on high heat until cooked through. It will not take long. Salt the meat to taste.
- In the meantime place the flat bread in the hot oven and heat for about 2-3 minutes until heated through and lightly crisp on top. Take it out and quarter it. Cut each piece horizontally (don't cut through) to obtain a pocket.
- Smear the inside of the bread with some tzatziki, add some onion and tomato slices, some shredded red cabbage and the meat. Serve with more tzatziki and vegetables on the side.