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Balkan Food: An Easy Bosnian Ćevapi Recipe To Make At Home
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Ćevapi is an old-fashioned dish that originates from almost unknown parts and is known as Ćevapičići. It is believed that ćevapi were introduced to Bosnian cuisine through the Ottoman Empire, which was present in the Balkan area for almost 500 years.
It is also said that the inspiration for ćevapi comes from oriental koftas, but the Bosnians have adjusted it to meet their preferences for flavor and texture. It’s all up for debate depending on where you live. In any case, these skinless sausages are delicious.
Ćevapi can be found in almost any part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it is an indigenous work of Bosnians. True Balkan food. Ćevapi has been part of the traditional diet in Bosnia-Herzegovina for several hundred years – and now you can make it at home with this super easy cevapi recipe.
Ćevapi is made with two simple ingredients: spices and meat.
However, it is not all about Bosnian ćevapi -it is said that the most famous ćevapi are from Sarajevo, Travnik and Banja Luka and you can also find them all over Croatia and others parts of Eastern Europe. The difference is in the way of baking and serving. Some contain more or less fat, some have a dressing, and all of them come in a different size.
The real Bosnian sausage is unthinkable without onion. You can like it or hate it, but cevapi are always served with onions that are raw and without special seasonings. You may have come across some different ways of serving it, like ćevapi with cheese, veggies or even mushrooms, but that way of serving it is not traditional. Actually, to most Bosnians is blasphemous!
To make good cevapi, you need to have quality meat (ask your butcher to mince it for you if you can not do it yourself), and use more than one kind of meat.
Authentic recipes call for a mixture of beef and lamb meat. If you choose only one type of meat, you can end up with cevapi that is too dry or that doesn’t hold its shape. Therefore, the ideal mix is of the two above-mentioned types of meat (or even add in pork!)
If you are grinding your own meat, make sure you grind it twice. The secret of good ćevapi is in their texture, and good texture is only achievable with finely ground meat.
Besides these basic ingredients, you need to add some energy and bring the flavor to life. The easiest way to do this is with the spices. Luckily, Bosnian cuisine relies only on simple spices, like salt and pepper. And that is it, nothing more.
However, some like to add parsley or garlic, but these are optional additions. As you can see, quality meat and humble ingredients are all you need to enjoy this delicacy from the heart of the Balkans.
How to make Cevapi (Skinless Bosnian Sausages) The Easiest Way
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Ingredients for Bosnian Cevapi:
- 600g finely minced beef
- 300g finely minced lamb (or pork mince if you prefer)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
Note: Other recipes and variations of cevapi also suggest to add sweet paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley and some even mention hot paprika – so you feel free to add those in as you wish when you mix the meat depending on your tastes.
To serve with:
- Turkish flatbread
- Chopped raw onion
Best cevapi recipe directions:
- In a large bowl, combine beef, lamb, and salt (plus other spices if you so desire)
- Knead the mixture with clean hands for 5 minutes
- Cover the meat with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight
- Uncover the meat and stir in minced garlic and black pepper
- Shape the mixture into small logs no longer or wider than an index finger – it is best to do this with wet hands, so the meat does not stick to you. Keep wetting your hands after each few that you roll
- Preheat your grill. Ideally, you should use a charcoal grill.
- Brush the grill with some olive oil
- Grill the minced fingers on a medium heat until evenly grilled and browned on all sides
- Serve warm with Turkish flatbread and freshly chopped onion (and ajvar if you have it!)
Places For The Best Ćevapi In Sarajevo
How to find great ćevapi is easy in Sarajevo.
Zeljo 1 and 2: “If you haven’t eaten at Zeljo, you’ve never been to Sarajevo” say the guidebooks, and when you sit at one of the long tables, elbow to elbow with locals, eating this traditional food and drinking the beloved kefir-like yogurt drink, you will understand why. Named after the local professional soccer team, these cevapdzinicas, or ćevapi places, have a fan base nearly as devoted to ćevapi as they are to soccer.
Kundurdiluk 19, 011-387-33-447000
Hodzic 2: Located in Baščaršija Square (often called “pigeon square”), Hodzic 2 has the best people-watching of our picks. My children chased birds and kerchiefed grandmothers would pat their heads while we waited for our ćevapi and watched a continuous army of backpackers, well-heeled locals, and tourists go by. The somun here is dipped in broth and grilled, resulting in a savory pocket to tuck your meat into.
Bravadiluk 4, 011-387-33-239855
Mrkva: Around the corner from Hodzic 2 is Mrkva, clean, with quiet upstairs seating and relaxing outdoor tables. With four outlets in Sarajevo, it has the most diverse menu of healthier options such as grilled chicken and salad.
Bravadiluk 13, 011-387-33- 532519
Kastel: Surrounded by low-slung Ottoman buildings, Kastel serves Banja Luka-style ćevapi, which are spicier and cooked like bricks of four together. Proponents say serving the meat this way preserves its juiciness, and the damp, steamed somun bread will sop up any remaining morsels.
Mali Curciluk 9, just off the Ferhadija, the main pedestrian-only thoroughfare in Baščaršija