- 750 g minced beef10 % 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
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 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.
Before shaping the ćevapi, add some baking soda to the mixture. This way, the ćevapi will be airy and elastic.