From Europe to the Americas to East Asia, it’s time to travel to West Asia– particularly in the Middle East.
Pita might just be one of my favorite go-to Middle Eastern dishes. While the Greeks were the first to use pita to refer to flatbread, pita originated in the Middle East 4,000 years ago and is mainly famous in Mediterranean cuisines.
The thing about pita is that while it’s simply a flatbread, you can fill pita with various fillings, proteins, and vegetables. While there are many stores or restaurants available with stuffed pita dishes, making your own just hit different. I customize my pita in various ways, with different fillings and sauces to accommodate all my guests’ tastes.
I will mainly discuss my favorite pita to make, the chicken pita, and its different ways of cooking and variations.
What Is Chicken Pita?
First of all, what exactly is pita?
Pita, or pitta, is a type of flatbread made from wheat flour often used and consumed in the Middle East and Mediterranean areas.
Pita is often used to wrap kebabs, gyros, or falafel or cut and baked into chips.
It’s easy to confuse pita with tortilla since they are both used as wraps for fillings. However, they are different. Pita uses yeast, so it puffs up when baked like loaf bread.
On the other hand, a tortilla is unleavened bread, making it less thick and fluffy than a pita. The tortilla can only be used as a wrap, while the pita can be used sandwich-style because its thick texture allows it to form pockets and be stuffed with fillings without being ripped apart.
So, in this case, what is chicken pita?
A chicken pita is a pita filled (or sandwiched) with chicken breast, sauces, and a mixture of your choice of vegetables, usually onions, tomatoes, cucumber, and lettuce.
Making chicken pita is very easy. In the following sections, I will share with you my basic recipe for making chicken pita and other ways to prepare it.
How to Make Chicken Pita
The secret to how to make chicken pita is through its ingredients. After gathering all its ingredients, the only thing you have to do is to wrap or squeeze them into your pita. So to make the perfect pita, you need first to prepare the following ingredients:
- 8 ounces of boneless chicken breast
- One medium red onion, sliced
- ½ lettuce, sliced
- Cucumber, sliced
- Tomatoes, sliced
- Lemon juice
- Four pita bread, cut in half
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Nonfat plain yogurt
I first marinate the chicken with olive oil, lemon juice, and spices like garlic powder, paprika, and oregano. I do this for 30 minutes, but the longer it’s marinated, the better. This is, so the marinade seeps in better on the chicken.
I then heat olive oil in a pan or skillet, then cook the chicken breasts until cooked and tender. I prefer the sliced chicken breasts, but you can also have them slightly bite-sized. The chicken will usually be cooked from a minimum of 5 minutes to a maximum of 7 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown.
Get the chicken out of the pan, then grab your pitas and heat them in the oven for 1 to 2 minutes. We will be learning how to make chicken pita wraps for this recipe. Simply grab your warmed pita, spread yogurt over the pita, and add cooked chicken and your vegetables like red onions, lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes.
To wrap your fillings with pita, simply fold the sides of the bread up and consume like you would a taco.
How to Make Chicken Pita Pockets
One of my favorite ways to prepare chicken pita, aside from a wrap, is through pita pockets. Here’s how to make chicken pita pockets and how to make a chili version of this dish.
As previously mentioned, a pita is thicker than a tortilla, so there’s another way to prepare a pita than by wrapping. You can prepare pita pockets by slicing a whole pita into half, then stuffing each half with your prepared ingredients, as instructed above.
Now, here is how to make chili chicken pita pockets.
You can do this by preparing a chili marinade for your chicken. First, prepare your slice chicken breasts for marinading. Combine onion, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice in a separate bowl. Mix thoroughly, then add salt, honey, paprika, and chili to pump up the heat on your chicken.
Marinade for 10 to 20 minutes, then cooks in a skillet or oven. After cooking, add all the remaining ingredients to the pockets of your sliced pita and serve!
How to Make Grilled Chicken Pita
Now, we’re going to learn how to make greek grilled chicken pita. I find grilled chicken tastier than skillet-cooked chicken, and the addition of Greek yogurt makes it all the more delicious.
First off, marinate chicken as usual. I use olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and oregano. Let sit for another 10 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, I preheat the grill at medium temperature, about 400°F. If my chicken strips or breasts are too small, I stick them in a skewer, making them easier to grill after taking them out of the marinade.
I also use the grill to heat the pita until slightly charred.
I then slice open the pita and put in Greek yogurt and other stuffings together with the grilled chicken.
There you have a grilled Greek chicken pita (in wraps or pockets), ready for serving!
Pita is a fantastic dish to serve as a snack or at the dinner table if you’re looking for something Mediterranean to cook. Not only are they a fresh addition to the table, but they’re insanely delicious and filling as well.