Make it. Eat it. Love it.
I’ve written and erased 5 different sentences. After months of not blogging it’s harder than I would have thought to get back into. Besides having writers block from not putting a single word to paper in a long time, I don’t use ‘grown up’ words too often anymore. My vocabulary lately mostly consists of ‘babababa’ ‘dadadada’ and ‘mamamama’. Those are the 3 words (or sounds) my daughter likes to babble a lot and we have many a conversation using just that. I also need to fight the urge to describe my recipes as ‘YUUUUMMMMMYYYYY’ which is how I get Layla excited when she tries a new food. There is also the excited ‘WOOOOOW’ when she discovers something new. I will do my best not to talk to you readers as I do my 7 month old. However, I cannot make any promises.
It feels great to be able to blog again. Layla is now allowing me the opportunity to cook and actually photograph. She is learning to entertain herself, which means she can sit for awhile and play without being held constantly. She also really enjoys sitting in her high chair in the kitchen while I show her and explain to her what I am doing as I cook. I may have a little chef in the making!
Moving on, I have spent the last 3 years settling into life in Israel. Learning a new language, exploring a new country and immersing in a new culture. In a short month and a half I will be packing up and moving back to the States. It is such a bittersweet time. As I miss New York, my family, friends and all the comforts of home, Be’er Sheva, Israel, this sandy, weird, hotter than hot place in the middle of the Negev desert, has become home. It is where my husband and I started as husband and wife (we moved here a few weeks after we got married) and where we started our family (Layla was born here 7 months ago!). There is so much about this crazy, wonderful and strange country I will miss. I am already becoming nostalgic for the food and I haven’t even left yet. Which brings me to sabich, a pita stuffed with fried eggplant, hard boiled eggs, amba (a savory pickled mango sauce), and various other toppings depending upon who is making it. Sabich is a favorite of mine (I love anything eggplant) and it is just as easy and delicious to make as running to the open air stand to get one.
As falafel reigns as Israels most famous and popular sandwich, sabich comes in as a close and delicious second. It was brought to Israeli by Iraqi Jews who fled from their homeland in the 40’s and 50’s. On Shabbot, when cooking is not allowed, Iraqi Jews would eat meals of left over cooked eggplant, hard boiled eggs and potatoes. In the late 50’s and 60’s Iraqi vendors in Israel started stuffing these ingredients in pita and selling them in open air stands alongside the popular falafel stands.
Today you can find sabich stands in every city throughout Israel, each offering the popular sandwich in a variety of different ways. The following recipe is my favorite way to enjoy it.
Amba (a savory pickled mango sauce) really adds a wonderful flavor to this dish. If you can find it, I wouldn't skip it! You can find it in specialty markets or Middle Eastern grocers.