Sabich (Iraqi-Jewish Eggplant Sandwich)

Posted on by on May 1st, 2013 | 11 Comments »

SabichI’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!

Sabich

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.

Sabich

Sabich (Iraqi-Jewish Eggplant Sandwich)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 17 minutes

Yield: 2 sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant, chopped into small slices
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 fresh pitas
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup hummus
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut into 4 slices
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 chili pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Amba (optional)
  • Greek yogurt (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat sunflower oil in a large frying pan.
  2. Carefully fry eggplant in batches until nice and dark on both sides, about 7 minutes. When done eggplant should be very tender.
  3. Remove from heat and drain eggplant on paper towel.
  4. In a bowl combine the cucumber, tomato, chili peper, red onion, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil.
  5. To serve, stuff each pita with some tahini and hummus followed by the fried eggplant, hard boiled egg and top with the chopped salad. Drizzle with amba and greek yogurt if desired and a bit of freshly ground peper.
  6. Alternatively, you can serve the sandwich 'open-faced' as pictured. Lay pita out and spread with some of the tahini and hummus. Arrange eggplant slices on top followed by hard boiled egg and chopped salad. Drizzle with amba and greek yogurt. Finish with freshly ground pepper.

Notes

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.

http://bethmichelle.com/sabich-iraqi-jewish-eggplant-sandwich/

Sabich

 

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11 Comments

  1. Posted on: 5-2-2013

    Welcome back to blogging. So much is going on in your life and it must be tough to feel pulled both ways. It would be incredibly difficult for me to have my children away from family back home.

    This sandwich looks amazing! So fresh and like you, I love eggplant.

  2. Mom
    Posted on: 5-2-2013

    I am so glad you are back to your writing and cooking. I am so excited you are coming home soon. I will be very happy to take care of my little granddaughter while you are busy cooking and writing! Maybe we can even help out. Danny will be happy to be your official taster for all your new recipes! Can’t wait to try this sandwich!

  3. Posted on: 5-6-2013

    Welcome back, Beth! I’m happy to see a post from you pop up. Sabich is my favorite sandwich!! Each bite is an explosion of flavor. Sigh, now I’m really craving one…your photos are so tempting. I wish you well in your final weeks in Israel. It’s a hard place to say good bye to! And I’m sure your family and friends will be jumping up and down to have you back in NY. Safe travels!

  4. Posted on: 5-10-2013

    Welcome back, Beth.
    This is definitely a keeper. The photos are so mouthwatering that I wish I had all the required ingredients available in my pantry so I could make one immediately for myself!

    Angie

  5. Posted on: 5-11-2013

    Welcome back my friend, it was so nice to hear from you again 😀
    love the gorgeous flavour explosion on my screen!

    Cheers
    CCU

  6. Posted on: 5-11-2013

    So good to see you blogging!!! What a year this will be for you…lots of wonderful changes, but so busy! Your sabich sounds fantastic…I’m sure you’ll miss so many of the flavors of Israel when you’re back in the states…but this is one you can easily make anywhere. YUM!

  7. Posted on: 5-15-2013

    Missed you, Beth, I am so existed that you are blogging again!!! Hope all is well with you and Layla, she sounds like she will be one curious taste tester and cook! This recipe looks so intriguing, with a fantastic list of ingredients, I had never heard of it before but you certainly make it look and sound like one fabulous sandwich!
    It will be nice following you along again – very much looking forard to your upcoming posts!
    Take care and “see” you soon!

  8. Posted on: 5-22-2013

    So happy to see you blogging Beth! I follow your IG, but it’s just different you know. And you are leaving for the US soon. Your new stage of life started there and now going back to the states as a whole family. 🙂 You must had a wonderful experience living abroad but it’s always nice to be home, close to family. I sometimes wish that I live in at least the same country. Great recipe! I love eggplant, so I would love to take a bite of this sandwich. Hope you continue blogging back in NY. Enjoy the rest of your stay!

  9. Posted on: 6-21-2013

    Enjoy! We’ll miss you guys here!

  10. Posted on: 8-16-2013

    Oh wow. This dish looks really good! And yeah I get what you mean! Maintaining a blog can take up so much time and effort especially when you have so many other obligations in life!! I’ve also reduced my number of blog posts now. Hope to see you soon dear!

  11. Posted on: 10-7-2013

    Well, saying mamamamamama, dadadadadada and so could be not sophisticated, but it sure is amazing!
    And this eggplant sandwich is delicious, simply delicious!

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