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Pljeskavica is a popular mince patty from Serbia that is served in some form or the other in various parts of Balkan in Southeastern part of Europe. This patty is generally eaten as a burger in Serbia and other Balkan regions such as Bosnia, Slovenia, Herzegovina, Macedonia, Croatia, Montenegro, and even, Bulgaria and Romania. Traditionally, they are made from a mixture of a variety of ground meat, such as pork, lamb, veal or beef.

What is Pljeskavica?

Pljeskavica, pronounced as Plyess-kah-vee-tsah, is a Serbian patty that is eaten in the form of a hamburger with pita bread or served with grilled onions as a side dish. This patty is more often served with local Austrian dishes such as ajvar, kajmak and urnebes. It gets its name from the word “pljesak”, which means ‘to clap hands’. The way these patties resembles clapping of one's hands. Different ground meats are combined, patted and then grilled. However, they can also broiled, pan fried or baked.

Ingredients used in the Traditional Pljeskavica

The original Pljeskavica is made with ground pork, beef and lamb. This ground meat is spiced with paprika, salt, chopped garlic and onions. The paprika can be sweet or hot, depending on one’s taste.

Preparation of Pljeskavica

The desired ground meat is mixed with the spices and refrigerated for a few hours. This helps in firming the meat and enables all the flavors to blend in well. After the meat mixture has been refrigerated, it is divided and patted into patties that are then grilled. A little moisture on the hands while patting the meat ensures that it does not stick to the palm.

Recipes Similar to Pljeskavica

The basic recipe of traditional Pljeskavica has undergone slight variations depending on the region where it is prepared.

  • Leskovacka Pljeskavica – This patty is made in Leskovac, wherein it is made very spicy and generally served with onions. However, these are served in the form of Hajducka and Sarska. While Hajducka is made with a meat mixture of pork and beef, Sarska is made with only ground beef and is stuffed with kashkaval.
  • Bosnian Cevapi - This is again another similar patty that is known as kebab in the Southeastern parts of Europe. It is made with spiced minced meat (consisting of two types of beef) that are pressed into funnel shaped patties, which are then grilled. They are usually served with onions, sour cream, cottage cheese, ajvar, kajmak, salt and red pepper.

Serving Instructions for Pljeskavica

Pljeskavica is generally served with either chopped onions or green onions. Tomatoes, potato salad, pagacha or Cole slaw are other accompaniments of the patty. The patty is also served in the form of a hamburger, especially in the US, sandwiched between bread rolls along with lettuce, cheese and other vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, pickles, bacon and certain condiments such as mayonnaise, relish, ketchup and mustard.