Cevapi (Grilled Sausage from Balkans)
Grilled sausages traditional of the Balkans, full of flavour and simple to make! Cevapi sausages will be ready in under 15 minutes!
Why should I make cevapi sausages?
- Cevapi make the most delicious kebab sausages.
- Really, REALLY quick to make!
- Some of the tastiest sausages I’ve ever tried!
- Try something from a different culture: the Balkans.
Cevapi – Delicious Grilled Sausages from the Balkans
Never did I think I would be adding sparkling water to a grilled sausage mix but apparently, according to Jamie Oliver’s recipe, it’s needed. And I’m sure it does as these sausages taste fantastic. It’s got something different about them in the texture.. more air… a lightness? It’s got to the bubble in sparkling water paired with the bicarb!
Cevapi are grilled sausages traditionally made in the Balkans, particularly Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are usually served in some lepinja bread and topped with ajvar sauce (made from peppers and aubergines). It’s like the kebab of the Balkans, and boy it’s good.
They are traditionally grilled on a BBQ but I cooked mine in the oven. Some countries like Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria, will mix their meats in the sausage. This recipe only contains beef, like in Bosnia.
Cevapi (also known as cevapcici) sort of remind me of these lamb shish kebabs from Armenia, one of the earlier countries I cooked from in this a-z journey. I expect this is due to the Turkish influence on them as they are often compared to shish and kofta/qofte.
READ: My guide on Bosnian Food, Background and Culture – ALL you need to know!
Ingredients for Cevapi Sausages
- Minced beef – it’s traditional of Bosnia to only have beef. You can mix with pork mince though if you wish.
- Garlic – obviously to add flavour!
- Bicarbonate of soda – paired with the sparkling water, the bicarb creates a lovely, light texture in these grilled sausages from the Balkans.
- Sweet smoked paprika – the nicest flavour is given from this spice. Needs nothing else!
- Egg – helps bind the sausage mix together.
- Sparkling water – Helps bind the sausages but also helps keep them soft and tender. Creates the most amazing texture too.
- Medium bowl for mixing
- Measuring spoons
- Weighing scales
- Deep oven tray with a grid so the fat can drip through
Where do cevapi sausages come from?
Cevapi sausages have strong links to the days of the Ottoman Empire. It’s why you’ll notice similarities between cevapi and other kebabs like the kofta and shish kebab. Both very common foods in Turkey.
In Ottoman times, the outlaws would make these long meatballs out of any pieces of meat they had and cook them on the fire. It was know as Leskovac Cevap. This idea very quickly spread to become a favourite in the City of Belgrade in Serbia, in 1860. The locals discovered they were a great thing to eat after a night drinking.
In 1928 (approx) cevapi became a popular thing to eat for breakfast with people ordering them from the local takeaway shops. Cevapi soon spread across the Balkans and is now very common not only in Bosnia and Serbia (it’s the National dish!) but also Croatia, Macedonia, Albania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo, as well as none Balkan countries like Italy and Austria!
Cevapi grilled sausages recipe step-by-step
Cevapi (Grill Sausages from the Balkans)
- 500 g minced beef
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 1 egg
- 50 ml sparkling water
- Pre-heat your oven to 200° or your grill to high. In a mixing bowl, mix together the beef, crushed garlic clove, bicarb, egg and sparkling water. Scrunch altogether with your hands and season well.
- Divide the meat mix into equal sized pieces (roughly 5/6 pieces). Shape them into sausges using your hand and place on an oiled grid sitting over a drip tray. Cook them in the hot oven (this is what I did) or under a hot grill for 10 minutues or until cooked through.