My Romanian friend recently introduced me to the wonderful world of Eastern European food. I know it’s a vast region, and it encompasses many different cultures, ethnicities, languages, and histories, but it’s still a cuisine I am quite unfamiliar with. There is such a crossover of regional influences, it’s hard to say which dish originated in which country. Take these Macedonian Kebapi as an example: a classic Macedonian dish that’s also a classic Romanian dish, that’s also a classic Polish dish…
These kebabs are homemade sausages traditionally prepared with beef, lamb, and pork. They’re then seasoned with paprika, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a few other spices, but the interesting thing is the addition of baking soda. A little secret ingredient that helps tenderize the meat. Well, I’m sure if you want to eat the real kebapi, you probably have to visit an eastern European country, but as far as I’m concerned, these are pretty good! I personally have been making them all summer, they are a great addition to any summer dinner. But according to my eastern European friends they’re delicious and pretty close to the traditional ones, and that’s the only validation I need.
a few details
Making kebapi is very similar to making meatballs: combine all the ingredients into a bowl, mix until well incorporated, then refrigerate for a couple hours before shaping and cooking them. For this recipe I only use ground pork and beef, but feel free to add equal parts pork, beef, and lamb. You can grate the onion, but I prefer chopping it very finely. I just find it easier that way.
Using your hands, make small sausage links, about 3-inches long. You can see mine aren’t perfect, so don’t worry too much about the shape. Just make sure they’re all roughly the same size.
The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the kebapi, but they are done when the internal temperature registers at 160˚F. They can be grilled, pan-fried, or made in the air fryer. Grilled is perhaps the best option, but I’ve made them in a skillet and in the air fryer and they taste just as juicy. I usually preheat the air fryer to 400°F, then place them in a single layer. Turn air fryer down to 350°F and cook for about 15 minutes.
If using a skillet, heat the skillet over medium and add enough olive oil to coat. Add the kebapi and cook until browned on the outside and cooked through.
perfect for meal prep
This is a great meal prep, specially if you’re on a high protein diet. They hold up really well in the refrigerator for about 4 days but you can also shape and keep them in the freezer ready to be cooked.
Like I said, these make a great summer meal. They go great with salads or a yogurt dip, for a quick dinner I like serving them over hummus with a simple salad. This simple tomato cucumber salad is my go-to when I just want something fresh and quick. Drizzle with good-quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper to taste. It’s so simple but so good.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 4 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 2 tomatoes
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1/2 medium yellow onion
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- freshly cracked black pepper
- hummus, for serving, optional
For the Salad:
- In a large mixing bowl combine the beef and pork. Mix the meat with your hands until well incorporated.
- Add chopped onion, grated garlic, chopped parsley, paprika,red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, and baking soda. Add in water and, using your hands, mix it all until combined.
- Refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours.
- When ready, roll the ground meat mixture into the shape of sausages, about 3-inches long and 1 inch in diameter.
- Preheat grill to medium-high.
- Grill kebapi for about 10 minutes, turning them to brown and cook all around. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the kebapi. They are done when internal temperature registers at 160˚F.
- Serve kebapi with hummus and salad.
- For the salad: finely dice the tomatoes, cucumber, and onion.
- In a medium bowl, combine chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and onion. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. (I just eyeball everything. Taste and adjust seasoning.)
Tips & Tricks: Although the hummus and salad are optional, they all go great together for a light, quick, fresh meal.
If you make this Macedonian Kebapi please be sure to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you and I love responding to every comment. And don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram. I’d love to see your photos!