They are usually served of 5–10 pieces on a plate or in a flatbread (lepinje or somun), often with chopped onions, sour cream, kajmak, ajvar, cottage cheese, minced red pepper and salt. Bosnian ćevapi are made from two types of minced beef or/and lamb meat, hand mixed and formed with a funnel, while formed ćevapi are grilled. Serb ćevapčići are made of either beef, lamb or pork or mixed. Macedonian, Croatian, Bulgarian and Romanian varieties are often made of both pork and beef.
The word ćevap comes from the Serbian word `cev`, which means tube in English, sometimes with the generally South Slavicdiminutive ending -čići (Bosnian, Croatian: ćevapčići/ćevapi; Slovene: čevapčiči/čevapi; Serbian: ћевапчићи/ћевапи, ćevapčići/ćevapi; Macedonian: Ќебапи, kjebapi; Bulgarian: Кебапчета, kebapcheta, Czech: čevabčiči). The word ćevapi is plural; the singular form ćevap is rarely used, as a typical serving consists of several ćevapi. They are also known as Balkan meatballs.
Ćevapčići are shown on the right in this example of Serbian cuisine. To the left are uštipci.
It is found in the Srpski rječnik (1818). In Serbia, there is a local variety of leskovački ćevap whose recipe is based on traditional Serbian pljeskavica but formed as a somewhat larger sausage (ćevap). It is named after the city of Leskovac, which now organizes the yearly Leskovac Grill Festival as a showcase of ćevapi and other grilled meat. In Belgrade, ćevapčići first came from Leskovac in the 1860s, into the kafana "Rajić" at the Great Marketplace (today Studentski Trg), from where they have quickly spread across the city. Before the 1930s, they spread to the rest of the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia, including east of Serbia and the Macedonia region. In 1933, the first street vendor with food appeared in Maribor, who came from Leskovac, and served grilled meat, including ćevapčići.
They are usually served of 5-10 pieces on a plate or in a flatbread (lepinje or somun), often with chopped onions, sour cream, kajmak, ajvar, cottage cheese, minced red pepper and salt. Bosnian ćevapi are made from two types of minced beef meat, hand mixed and formed with a funnel, while formed ćevapi are grilled. Serb ćevapčići are made of either beef, lamb or pork or mixed. Macedonian, Croatian, Bulgarian and Romanian varieties are often made of both pork and beef.
In Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia, čevapčiči is generally served with mustard mixed with finely chopped raw onions and potatoes or French fries, in a common fast food manner.
Varieties include the Travnički ćevapi from the traditionally cattle herder area of Travnik, canonical[weasel words]Sarajevski ćevap from Sarajevo area, that look similar but taste slightly different due to variations in seasoning and meat content (some varieties containing lamb or other non-pork meats), as well as Banjalučki ćevapi which differs not only in taste but also by being grilled and served in connected tuples (usually of four). "Tuzlanski ćevapi" served in Tuzla area, come in butter rich soup dipped somun - and have distinctive taste as well as texture of bread. In all cases the dish is kept simple, and traditionally served in somun with onions and/or kajmak and yogurt or kefir as appetizer, whereas outside Bosnia, it's common for ćevapi to be served with variety of vegetables and seasonings.
^Univerzitet u Novom Sadu. Filozofski fakultet (1974). Godisnjak. p. 173. "Занимљиво је и то „да се у Рјечнику (из 1818 — Ј. К.) не налази већина јела која данас сачињавају оно што се обично зове српском кујном, тако нпр. капама, мусака, папазјанија, пљескавица, ражњићи, ћевапчићи, ћулбастија (али ..."