There is no universal recipe for a Balkan Cevap, even those sold under the same name are not necessarily prepared according to the same recipe. Name of this famous Balkan food comes from the Turkish word kebab, which means “the pieces of chopped meat”.
There are many types of Cevap, and the most famous are Cevap from Leskovac, Pazar, Banja Luka and Sarajevo (cities in the Balkans). There is no pork in Pazar and Sarajevo cevap, due to the substantial Muslim population. This recipe is the most liked by Balkan Food 🙂
HISTORY OF CEVAP
According to some claims, the first kebab originated in Lebanon. According to others, the creator of kebab is the medieval Iranian soldier who used his sword to cook the meat on the grill in the middle of the battle field.
What is known for sure is that the Ottomans introduced the kebab to the Balkan Peninsula around the year 1500 as part of their traditional cuisine. Since that time, kebab has experienced numerous modifications. Cevap are very different from kebabs, and the only thing today that really connects these two specialties is the name.
PREPARATION OF CEVAP (RECIPE)
To prepare the Balkan Cevap first you need to cut all the meat into small pieces 2x2cm, mix with salt and pepper and leave it to rest for 6-12h. And in the meantime, soak the cleaned garlic in 0.5-1 ounces of water (amount of water depends on the fat).
Once the meat has stayed in spices, grind the pieces of beef with the garlic 2x and begin to grind other meat adding the beef with the garlic and mix everything. When everything is mixed together, add the rest of the spices into the mixed together with the water from the garlic, and let it rest 12-24h.
You can adjust the amount of spices in the mixture according to your own taste.
Baking soda gives ĆEVAP its structure (it binds the meat).
Bread crumps make it soft and tender.
SHAPING THE CEVAP
Ćevap is shaped using a funnel for this purpose, but you can also make the shapes with your own hands soaked in water. Leave them for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator before grilling. Balkan Cevap is about 2 cm in diameter, and 5 cm in length.
You can grill the Cevap same as any barbecue, or put it in a pan. Grease the pan with oil (or fat) fry the Cevap a few minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Just make sure that the heat is not on high, because the meat can stay raw inside, and burned on the outside.
Serve hot Cevap in pita bread. Usually it is served with plenty of onions. Preferably with beer.
300 g beef cheek from the head
300 g various beef meat
70 g veal tallow-fat
120 g pork shoulder blade
120 g lamb meat from the belly (of fatter meat)1,2% salt
2 cloves of garlic medium size
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
15 g bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon of baking powder