Homemade Mititei (Mici) Recipe
Mititei or Mici (both meaning “little ones”/”small ones”) is a hugely popular Romanian dish consisting of grilled ground meat made from a mixture of beef, lamb and pork with spices, such as garlic, black pepper, thyme, coriander, anise, savory, and sometimes a touch of paprika and formed into cylindrical rolls.
It’s probably the most popular street food in Romania and a BBQ favorite. Mici are similar to cevapi and other ground meat based dishes found throughout the Balkans and Middle East.
It is always served with mustard and bread and sometimes with French fries and pickles (green pickled vegetables).
Romanians will usually buy mici from the local butcher shop or supermarket, but if that’s not an option, you can always prepare them at home.
This recipe calls for beef and lamb/pork meat which needs to be grinded using a meat grinder. You can always take the easier route by buying minced meat and skip the meat grinding process.
Mici are grilled over medium to high heat with no open flames. If the heat is too high they will burn on the surface and remain raw in the middle; if the heat is too low, they dry out.
Each chef has his own theory for turning the mici on the grill and frying them on either 2, 3 or 4 sides. However you do it, you cannot flip the mici until they are done on one side and come off on their own. Do not insist on turning them early because they will break.
Recipe adapted from the amazing gals behind Savori Urbane.
- 700 g beef
- 300 g mutton or pork (fatter- breast,neck)
- 250-350 ml bone soup or very cold water
- 22 g salt
- ½ tsp fresh, ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp grated dried thyme
- 5-6 juniper berries
- ½ tsp coriander beans (about 30 small beans)
- 1 tsp grated cumin seeds
- 2 tsp paprika
- 5-6 cloves of large garlic
- 1 tsp baking soda
How to Make Mititei:
- Cut the beef and pork meat into cubes.
- Put in the finest cutting plate (with smaller holes) in the meat grinder and put all the meat through it, including the garlic cloves. You could also skip these steps by buying minced meat from your butcher shop.
- Crush all the spices in a pestle and mortar, making a floury and flavorful powder.
- Put the minced meat into a food processor (equipped with the dough kneading hook).
- The mixture needs to be kneaded hard for a few minutes. Some people also do it manually, but it's pretty hard work.
- Put the ground spices and baking soda over the meat and start the food processor.
- At first, the meat paste is very thick and hard to knead. Gradually add cold bone soup (or cold water) and knead everything for about 7-8 minutes until the mixture becomes fluffy and soft.
- Do not put in all the liquid if you feel that 250 or 300 ml (1 to 1 ¼ cups) is enough.
- Put the mixture into a clean bowl, cover it with plastic or aluminum foil and put it in the fridge overnight.
How to form beautiful and equal cylindrical mici?
- Take the mici mixture out of the fridge and leave it on the side for 30 minutes to warm up a bit. Then kneaded the meat for 2-3 minutes by hands to aerate it.
- Take a confectionery bag and cut its corner to 4 cm (1.6 inch). Fill it with the meat paste, then draw long lines with it on an oiled plastic cutting board. Very easy and fast work! Don’t make them too thin because they dry up when fried!
- Then cut the mici to 10 cm (3.9 inch). Brush them all over with vegetable oil (you can also use a spray).
- Grease a baking tray with oil and place on the mici, smoothing the tops a little so they look beautiful.
- Place foil over them and put them back in the fridge. The mici should be put on the grill when they are still cold. This does not apply to slices or large pieces of meat that need to sit before being fried.