February 24, 2022

Ćevapi are a traditional dish popular in the Balkans, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia. They have been eaten since the time of the Ottoman Empire, and all the states that were under Turkish rule know about them. The word ćevapi or ćevapčići comes from the Turkish word “kebap”, which means chopped meat or meat cut into smaller pieces. Ćevapi are actually minced meat gathered into a roller-like shape. This meat is fried in a pan in heated oil until completely cooked. Ćevapi are traditionally served in a „lepinja“ – a traditional bun coated with stock and oil from ćevapi. Srebrenac onion and ajvar are traditionally served with a lepinja filled with delicious rolled minced meat. Ajvar is a mixture of roasted vegetables. In addition to ajvar and onions, which give the dish the right flair, be sure to drink sparkling water or other carbonated non-alcoholic drinks. Since ćevapi are baked in a lot of oil, and the bun is dipped in oil, we decided to present the recipe in a much healthier version. We love ćevapi, we think you will too. Are we going?

Ćevapi – ingredients for preparing a miraculous meal

You will need a few essential ingredients:

500g minced meat (combination of beef and pork)

½ onion

A few drops of oil (preferably vegetable)

1 teaspoon ground pepper (sweet or hot – as desired)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 egg

For the side dish:

2 potatoes

1 zucchini

1 red pepper

1 tablespoon sour cream

A handful of mushrooms as desired

½ onion

A few cherry tomatoes

As for minced meat, it is best to take the fatty parts because the dish will be tastier. The best ratio is 60% pork and 40% beef. Pork has a milder taste and smell so beef will not predominate. If pork bothers you, ćevapi will still be delicious only with beef. It is very important that the meat is minced once. You will store the same meat immediately in the refrigerator, and take it out 10 minutes before putting it in the pan. If you do not plan to use the meat the same day after purchase, it is very important to store it in a chest so that potentially dangerous bacteria do not develop.

In this recipe for healthier variants, instead of onions, ajvar, and buns, we will use vegetables and potatoes. This will provide enough nutrients and vitamins and will completely saturate you.

The preparation of this dish is very simple and can be prepared for lunch or dinner, so let’s go.

Healthy ćevapi – preparation

Slice the onion and put it in the pan where the oil is heated. Bake the onion in a pan until it turns yellow and then store it on the side to cool. When the onion has cooled enough, open the package with the minced meat and season it with pepper, salt, and ground pepper. Once the meat is seasoned, add one egg to the mixture to bind it together. Mix the spicy meat with the caramelized onion and shape it into small rolls with your hands. Wash the pan and add a little oil to it for frying. Put the formed rolls in a pan and bake them carefully. Ćevapi must be turned on each side to be evenly baked. To be absolutely sure they will be baked, pierce them with a fork twice in the middle so that the heat can reach them. By no means bake them too much as the baked part will overpower the flavor. After only 10 minutes, the ćevapi are baked and you are ready to prepare the side dish.

You will make the side dish very simply – clean the vegetables you have next to you. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and round with a few drops of oil. Preferably, olive oil. This is followed by heat treatment of vegetables. First, ½ put the onion in a cleaned pan. The onion must be lightly fried, then add the peppers and mushrooms. The mushrooms will release their juice so it may be better to let that water evaporate. After that, add the diced potatoes. Bake everything together for the next 10 minutes to cook the potatoes. And, of course, you can take the vegetables that you don’t want to overcook from the pan. That’s it, the ćevapi and side dish are ready.

Serving ćevapi (PLUS bread/lepinja recipe)

You have heat-treated everything. The preparation of the dish is over and now you just need to put it on a plate. Serve the ćevapi, which are now slightly chilled. Ćevapi are usually eaten hot, so feel free to put them back on the pan for a while. Arrange them side by side and place the roasted vegetables and potatoes next to them. Put 1 tablespoon of sour cream on top of the ćevapi, believe me – they complement each other perfectly. Feel free to add a spoonful of ajvar and a little unprocessed onion for a complete Balkan experience. You did it! The ćevapi are ready for a big family lunch.

If you are missing something like bread for complete satiety, we also bring you a recipe for one. It is very easy to prepare, and you can also customize it for celiacs and vegans. You will need flour (which can also be gluten-free), oil (vegetable), yeast, salt, sugar, and milk (you can use soy). Activate the yeast with a wire of sugar and lukewarm milk. Mix flour and water and add salt. Pour the activated yeast into the flour and water mixture and knead the dough. Leave the worked dough to rest briefly and knead it again on a surface covered with flour. Shape into balls and spread them out a bit to have flat buns. If you want a beautiful color, coat the pastries with a little whipped egg yolk. Bake them in an oven preheated to 180 degrees Celsius until you see a golden crust. Here it is, you have just prepared a “lepinja” that will act like bread. If you have leftover bread, it will be good for the next few days. It just needs to be covered so it doesn’t dry out.

Enjoy your meal!

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