In recent years, it is been difficult to discover in metro Detroit plates full of kajmak, lepinja, and pljeskavica. Hamtramck’s Palma closed down years in the past, and even though there is nonetheless some cevapi and burek to be found on the town, there’s been preferred dearth of Bosnian and Balkan delicacies — until a few months in the past.
That’s when Balkan House quietly opened within the former Palma area, however the dish that seems to be getting people speaking the most isn’t completely Bosnian — it is the döner kebab. The sandwich is Turkish in foundation, but is wildly famous in northern European international locations. Balkan House proprietor Juma Ekic says she truely were given familiar with them while her own family fled home for Germany for seven years after a civil struggle broke out inside the Nineties in the former Yugoslavia.
The version she serves at Balkan House — that is a small eating place in a house on Caniff — is made extra Bosnian because she packs the contents right into a pocket of lepinja, the Balkans’ flatbread version of pita that is actual a long way superior to pita.
It enables that Ekic and her circle of relatives bake the bread fresh each morning in Balkan House’s kitchen, and lepinja is puffier, lighter, and softer than most pita — it is probably the arena’s most underrated bread. Ekic stuffs the pocket with salty, particularly greasy and thinly reduce kebab meat it is the pre-reduce gyro variety, no longer sliced from a spit. The lamb and beef is counterbalanced with clean slices of crunchy cucumber, white onion, pink cabbage, shredded lettuce, and tomato slices.
But Ekic says the sauce is really what makes or breaks a döner. She discovered her sauce’s components, but kindly requested that we no longer proportion it right here. It can be said, however, that it’s a totally garlicky Greek yogurt-based totally condiment. Balkan House ladles it on thick, hits it with a dusting of bitter sumac, and sends out of the kitchen a döner so packed that its contents nearly bust out of the lepinja. Balkan House’s döner lives as much as the hype, and it’s the only döner sport on the town. The subsequent closest one is made at a Bosnian restaurant in Grand Rapids, Ekic says.
Lepinja is found in most of Balkan House’s dishes, such as the Balkan burger, or pljeskavica. It’s a simple burger in a massive, halved lepinja (no pocket). The beef patty is mixed with onion, garlic, purple pepper, then charred at the griddle and served with white onions and a souffle cup of kajmak, or cheese. Balkan House’s kajmak is made in house and is an awesome blend of cream cheese, feta, and butter, and even though the menu says that it is combined inside the patty, Ekic serves it at the side. Palma combined it in with the beef, however Ekic didn’t just like the presentation, so you unfold it on your self.
Bosnian eating places are in part measured by their cevapi, and, Ekic — who for 15 years prepared and served the sausage simply around the corner at Motor City Sports Bar — were given her recipe from an old Bosnian man on the town who enables her make it. Cevapi is spiced with garlic, black pepper, and salt, however its success hinges on plenty extra than spice. Good cevapi, Ekic explains, uses 70-percent beef shoulder and 30-percent fats, and it’s grinded 3-to-4 instances, then very well hand-mixed — a hard work-extensive process.
The cevapi comes as its very own plate with eight or so logs among halved lepinja, dollops of ajvar (mild-however-flavorful crimson pepper spread) and kajmak and slices of uncooked white onion and tomato. You can also get it as a part of the blended meat platter, which changed into big sufficient for a hungry pal and me. It also holds lengthy, skinny, garlicky sujuk kic sausages, a shorter, fatter veal kielbasa (krajnska), grilled bird breasts, and a gaggle of cevapi logs. That’s accompanied through mini patties of pljeskavica, or burgers, in addition to raw onion and tomato slices.
Beyond cevapi, Bosnians are possibly nice regarded for burek, a crammed pastry, and Balkan House every so often has that or sirnica, which is burek with ricotta cheese internal a tube of golden, light, flaky dough. It’s superb.
The veal sandwich with melted swiss cheese, grilled onion, and mushrooms, and the grilled fowl sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and pink cabbage are stable alternatives, in particular because they come on lepinja. Ekic marinates her hen in a single day, but she says there is nothing especially Bosnian approximately the recipe. The bird and veal also can be ordered on skewers.
There’s actually not an excessive amount of dialogue of vegetables at Balakan House because it appears is a Bosnian eating regimen is meat-heavy, but the menu holds a phase of salads and soups, and the cabbage salad wearing oil, vinegar, salt, and black pepper is a pleasing side. However, a pal requested about assembling a vegetarian version of the döner kebab, and Ekic said she ought to. Rejoice, vegetarians.
Balkan House isn’t short on goodies, together with some of the high-quality baklava in town, which is a Turkish recipe made with the aid of Hamtramck’s new Balkan Sweets corporation. It also offers dessert crepes, a banana cake roll called rolat that’s mellow and candy, and plenty extra. There is not any booze — Bosnia is largely a Muslim u . S . — however there are smoothies, Turkish coffee, and other options.