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Ćevapi

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Ingredients

Adjust Servings:
750 g minced beef 10 % of fat or less
250 g minced lamb
4 pcs Garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
100 ml sparkling water
2 tablespoons Salt
1/2 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate

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Ćevapi

Ćevapi is, without any doubt, the most popular dish in Bosnian cuisine. What pizza is to Italians, hamburgers to Americans, fish & chips to the English, ćevapi is to the people of the Balkan. It is so popular it can be served as breakfast, lunch or dinner.

  • 30
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Ingredients

Directions

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Ćevapi is, without any doubt, the most popular dish in Bosnian cuisine. What pizza is to Italians, hamburgers to Americans, fish & chips to the English, ćevapi is to the people of the Balkan. It is so popular it can be served as breakfast, lunch or dinner.

In each town and city, you will find countless ćevabdžinica – or restaurants serving “their own” version of ćevapi. Sometimes it is also called ćevapčići, which is diminutive of the word.

Ćevapi is basically small pieces of rolled grilled minced meat. Which is often served in a somun or pogaca (Balkan version of flatbread) and accompanied with chopped onion and sometimes sour cream and ajvar.

It is also extremely popular in Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro, and even Bulgaria and Romania. In Romania, they are called Mititei or Mici which means small ones. But unlike ćevapi from the former Yugoslavia, they are slightly different as they contain more spices and is served differently.

Ćevapi Origin

Ćevapi originates from present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina, while it was under Ottoman rule. The word ćevap is actually the Bosnian version of the Turkish word kebab. It can be said that they are a kind of Balkanized version of Turkish kofte kebab.

Legend has it that they were created by the hajduks (renegades from the Turkish authorities). They “invented” the hajduk ćevap by baking finely chopped meat on an open fire.

Records of similar dishes can be found in ancient Greece. Even Homer mentioned it in the Iliad and the Odyssey.

At the beginning of 20th Century, ćevapi spread to southern Serbia, and by 1860 it had reached Belgrade. In the second half of the 20th century, their “conquest” of Croatia and Slovenia began, where they are still one of the most popular dishes today.

Over the course of time and countless variations, several of the most popular filtered out, such as:

  • Sarajevo ćevapi – is made from beef and lamb, served in somun
  • Travnik – is made from beef, veal, mutton and lamb, served in somun. It is served with yoghurt
  • Banja Luka – is made from beef and veal and baked in plates of several pieces together. Served in a somun as above.
  • Leskovac – longer than the others and served on a plate with chopped onions and ajvar

This recipe for ćevapi came from Adis, an owner of a kebab shop in Sarajevo.

Steps

1
Done

In a bowl, combine minced meat, salt, sparkling water and garlic (that you have crushed before). Leave the mixture in the fridge for several hours, ideally overnight.

2
Done

Before shaping the ćevapi, add some baking soda to the mixture. This way, the ćevapi will be airy and elastic.

3
Done

Form the ćevapi using a plastic water bottle (as pictured). Cut them to a length of approx. 5 cm.

4
Done

Ćevapi is ideal for barbecuing, but you can also prepare it perfectly on the grill pan. If you are grilling them, bake over high heat, preferably over charcoal. Be careful not to burn the ćevapi or they will go hard.

5
Done

Cut the flatbread in half and steam it over the ćevapi. Serve with onion diced.

Ivan Majhen

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