Frajolaki – The Saskatchewan Greek Sandwich

If you google the word Frajolaki you see quite a few menus from restaurants in Saskatchewan, offering either beef or chicken versions. Also a few articles about how the word is slang local to Saskatchewan. In fact one article from the CBC states that it is rare at that: “Frajolaki is once again the least commonly used term, with 13% of respondents indicating they use this term at least sometimes.”

The spelling sometimes changes between Fajolaki and Frajolaki but the latter seems to be the most popular. And quite often it’s referred to as “Fraggle Rocky“. So what is it? One comment on the CBC articles says “My favourite is Fajolaki, it’s what we call a beef or chicken marinated souvlaki served on a sub or torpedo bun. Found at Greek restaurants, the sandwich isn’t actually Greek, just a Saskatchewan thing.”

Another comment: “Frajolaki, a popular dish on Greek menus in Saskatchewan, is actually not Greek at all but a creation from our very own province! A frajolaki or fraj, is a sandwich, beef or chicken, marinated like souvlaki, grilled and then put on a torpedo bun with onions and tomatoes.

From “akucanada” on reddit:

“I don’t know much but growing up in Greek restaurants this is what I remember. One of the oldest beef fragolaki sandwiches was served at Manos (no longer in menu). Back in 1981. Manolis Barlas with his two other brothers. Manolis previously worked in the kitchen with Peter Rizo. There traditional recipes passed down from one generation to the next. Torpedo bun (or any chewy bread) lightly toasted, beef tenderloin thinly sliced, Greek seasoning, thin sliced onions and tomatoes. I started working at Manos on idywyld in 1980s and the sandwich was present then and on the original menu and remained mostly unchanged until they removed it for my the menu about 8 years ago.”

So it’s a Greek steak or chicken sandwich on a sub or torpedo bun. Let’s figure out a recipe then….

Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
or
4 palm sized pieces of steak

Marinade:
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine or red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
4 garlic cloves , minced
1 tbsp oregano
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

1 red onion cut into slivers
Sliced tomatoes

4 torpedo or sub buns

Tzatziki Sauce:
1 medium cucumber, shredded
1 cup cold plain Greek yogurt
1 cup sour cream
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped dill
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Steps:

Combine the oil, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and stir to combine. Put chicken or steak and marinade in a large zip lock bag, press as much as the air out as you can, and seal. Chill for 1 hour or up to 24 hours (the longer you can marinate the more tender and tasty the meat will be).

The Tzatziki sauce should be prepared the night before to allow the flavors to combine nicely. Shred the cucumber on a cheese grater and try to squeeze out the excess water. Then just mix all ingredients with a spoon and refrigerate over night.

Grill your chicken or beef on the BBQ to your desired temp and doneness. Generously slather tzatziki on the buns, add your meat and top with sliced tomatoes and or red onions.

Have you got a better recipe or more info on Frajolaki? Then leave us a comment below and we’ll update this page!

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One thought on “Frajolaki – The Saskatchewan Greek Sandwich

  1. I’ve had frajolaki many times – it was very common in Saskatoon in the 80s/90s, when Saskatoon’s resaturant scene was dominated by restaurants with hybrid Greek/Italian/Steakhouse menus. It’s much rarer now, as Saskatoon’s restaurant market has undergone a massive transformation (for the better!) in the last 20 years as the city has grown and attracted large numbers of immigrants.

    Your version is a bit off (although it still looks tasty 🙂 – the beef version typically has the beef sliced very thin – maximum of 1/4 inch, but usually even thinner. The chicken version is usually thicker, but it would still be a butterflied chicken breast. There is no tzatziki on the sandwich. The bun is often buttered with garlic butter and then grilled, as well.

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