How Serbs cook their pasta

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Usually there is cevapcici straight from the grill or from the pan with djuvec rice, ajvar and tzaziki. Today we tried something new and served it in tomato sauce. Also with Djuvec rice, but no other sauces were necessary. The result is completely convincing and the recipe for the cevapcici is also perfect for the grill.

The background was a somewhat disappointing recipe search for Serbian meatballs, which led me to the not entirely common variant. The culinary world tour is currently looking for the best dishes and recipes from Serbia. And there are many great recipes for cevapcici, but no really great typical variants of meatballs in any sauce. All the recipes buzzing around the net as “serbian meatballs” were run-of-the-mill balls with boring tomato sauce and noodles. Then rather Cevapcici!

So why not just add a sauce and season it a little to match. That worked really well, and the cevapcici for the children without sauce were also great. We have them ready with beef & pork, but lamb, beef and minced pork are also often used. I put the composition together as a kind of “best of all others” myself. Usually no breadcrumbs and only sometimes eggs are used. Since I wanted to cook the cevapcici after frying, I thought that was safer. How you make ajvar yourself, I have already announced for our recipe collection with the best dishes from Croatia.

Ingredients cevapcici

  • 400 mixed mince (beef / pork)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp ajvar
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 dash of lemon
  • Salt pepper

First cut the onion into small pieces and fry in the pan until golden brown. Then mix all the ingredients together and knead for at least half an hour. Then put the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours, preferably overnight. Then shape into small balls the next day. To get the typical shape of the Cevapcici, you simply make small rolls instead of balls. You fry these briefly over high heat and then put them to one side.

The combination of long kneading with the baking soda gives the balls their typical consistency. I can't explain the exact chemical process, but it's definitely worth the effort.

Then you get to work on the sauce.

Ingredients tomato sauce

  • 700 grams of pureed tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of thyme chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp ajvar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt pepper

For the sauce you take 700gr tomato strained and season with the remaining ingredients. I squeeze the garlic with the clove of garlic, but of course you can also just chop it into small pieces. Then you add the cevapcici. Bring everything to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat. Finally, taste again and enjoy.

If I hadn't wanted to try the Djuveč rice, I would probably have been satisfied with normal rice or bread. It doesn't really need more with the great cevapcici in tomato sauce. The recipe for the rice will be available later this week. Until then, I have many other meatballs for you.

There would be e.g. the Albóndigas de cordero - Spanish lamb meatballs with mint and sherry and the Domates Soslu Köfte - Turkish meatballs in tomato sauce. The Königsberger Klopse - the classic meatballs from Germany and the Swedish Köttbullar - are also classics - better than at Ikea!

And if you want to try something special, I recommend the Bun Cha - Vietnamese meatballs with rice noodles and Nuoc Cham sauce as well as the Meatball Curry - Sri Lankan meatballs.

Are you also such a big fan of meatballs? Then leave me a comment? Which recipe do you like best, have you tried it or are you missing a variant? I am curious what you think.

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