What is souzouki?
Souzouki is a Greek dish of seasoned minced meat (commonly lamb or beef) that is usually shaped in the form of flat burgers, but sometimes also as sausages, and then grilled. Cumin is an important flavouring, as well as oregano, mint, thyme and garlic which are also often added to the meat. This dish can be found on the menus of Greek restaurants all over Europe, often as part of a mixed grill.
Dive further into the world of Greek minced meat recipes, and you will discover all sorts of interesting things. The story behind souzouki is far from clear, but here are a few facts:
- Soutsoukakia are meatballs, which, like souzouki, are seasoned with cumin.
- The two dishes are not only similar in name! The differences? Soutzoukakia are balls, not burgers. They are smaller in size (the suffix -akia is the reduced form) and are often served in a tomato sauce.
- In other countries, souzouki are often called Greek burgers. But the Greeks call their burgers bifteki. Bifteki are usually filled with feta outside of Greece but not in the country itself.
- Keftedakia are also small meatballs with mint in them.
- If you confuse souzouki with soutzouki, you will not get minced meat but the Greek version of sucuk (Turkish garlic sausage).
How to make souzouki
Minced meat of the chef’s choice – often tasty minced lamb – is kneaded with onion, egg, breadcrumbs and Greek seasonings such as cumin, oregano, mint, thyme and garlic. Burgers or sausages are formed and grilled over a charcoal fire or in the grill pan.
How to eat
The Vietnamese also had the same idea and serve their own version of meatballs and burgers: nem nuong. Nem nuong are made from minced pork and seasoned with, among other things, fish sauce.
If it is not already served with a sauce, order tzatziki with your souzouki, otherwise it will be a bit dry.