Sabich Recipe – Two Ways – Traditional & Vegan

vegan sabich sabih

 

I tried my first sabich in the Israeli cafe that was near my place. ​My boyfriend had already spoken to me of this dish, a common street food made up of fried aubergine and hard-boiled egg stuffed into fresh pita along with a Yemenite green chili sauce, zhoug, and a mango pickle, amba.

Thanks to Ottolenghi I learned that nearly every ingredient found its way into the sabich thanks to different immigrant groups. Fried aubergine was common in Iraqi cuisine, the zhough was brought to Israel by Yemenite Jews, and the amba sauce came from Iraqi Jews, themselves inspired by Indian cuisine. That’s what makes street food so special – when a mixture of cultures collides, with all their different flavours mixed together, you get something new and exciting – and sabich is some of the most exciting street foods I’ve found.

Our little Israeli café has now been closed for over a year. It was hard to say goodbye to the best hummus I’ve ever had but remaking sabich at home will always bring me joy and remind me of those days where I was sitting out in the sun on their little terrasse with friends and eating a good damn sabich.

Reading the recipe it might seem a little complicated, but it’s easier than it looks. You’ll need to do some prep work (the zhough and hummus can be done a day or two in advance to save some time) but the assembly afterwards is very quick and simple.
Here I’ve opted for a plated version, also for photography purposes and I would just roll it before eating but you can also use a plain, fluffy pita – just open it and stuff the ingredients inside as you would for the street food.

If you make my sabich please tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #meli.magpie – I’d love to see your recreations!

sabich sabih eggs

 

Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 15 min
Total time: 60 min

Ingredients

FRIED AUBERGINES/EGGPLANT

  • 2 aubergines/eggplant
  • olive oil
  • salt

CHICKPEAS

  • 1 can of cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika (regular or smoked)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt, to taste

SALAD

  • 1 lebanese cucumber
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • lemon juice, to taste

ZHOUGH

  • 1 cup fresh coriander, 30 grams
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, 15 grams
  • 2 hot green chillies
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • a good pinch of sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • a good squeeze of lemon juice, to taste

TAHINI SAUCE

  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp water
  • some lemon juice, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ras-el-hanout

FOR SERVING

  • amba (savoury mango pickle)
  • 4 pitas
  • hummus (optional)
  • zaatar (optional)

Instructions

FRIED AUBERGINE/EGGPLANT

  1. Cut both aubergines into 2 cm thick slices.

  2. Heat up a medium non-stick pan with a bit of olive oil. 

  3. Once the oil is hot, add aubergine slices to the pan and fry them gently until they are browned (about 3-4 min), then flip them to the other side. 

  4. Once you are done with the first batch, continue with the remaining batches adding oil as needed.

  5. When done, the aubergine should be completely tender in the centre. Remove and leave to drain on kitchen paper, then sprinkle with salt.

CHICKPEAS

  1. In a sauce pan, add olive oil.

  2. Add chickpeas to the hot olive oil and roast for a few minutes.

  3. Add spices and mix until chickpeas are well coated.
    Taste and adjust seasonings.
    Set aside

ZHOUGH

  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process until you get  a smooth paste.

TAHINI SAUCE

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Add more water if needed. 

SALAD

  1. Core tomatoes, discard the seeds and chop into small dices. Chop cucumber into small dices.

  2. Add lemon juice and olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings.

TO SERVE

  1. Place a slice of bread on each plate. Spoon some hummus over each, then arrange overlapping slices of aubergine on top.
    Drizzle over some tahini sauce.
    Add chickpeas (or eggs for traditional and not vegan recipe).
    Spoon some amba and zhough on top of each sabih.
    Sprinkle some zaatar if you'd like and enjoy! 

Notes

For the traditional version, skip the chickpeas and add one hard boiled egg in each pita. I cook mine for 7 minutes in boiling water.

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