Sabich. Do you know it?... If you don't... then you should!
Most people I know have heard, learned about, seen and probably tasted Falafel, hummus and Shawarma. These Middle Eastern / Levante regional street food staples have become almost synonymous with the term 'Middle Eastern Food'.
However, there is one sandwich, that now many have heard or tasted yet, and that is the Sabich. I think it has may also have todo with it's name, which is hard to pronounce... Sa ... Bi... kechhhh... which translates from Arabic to 'Morning', due to the ingredients of the sandwich, are typical for a traditional Iraqi breakfast.
Where exactly the sandwich originated and how it came about has many versions. One thing is agreed though, it was brought over by Iraqi jews who immigrated to Israel in the Early 1930's and 40's. It has few ingredients and it's typically served in a fluffy warm pita bread, which is perfect to hold all the juices and sauces this sandwich has.
In this basic recipe, I opted to use a homemade flat bread which is quick and easy todo, carefully and systematically adding the rest of the ingredients to use this magical, vegetarian sandwich, that may literally change your life, leaving you amazed how such simple ingredients, combined can create this harmony of flavors that will blow your mind.
So... Let's do this!
2 Mid-size eggplants
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 TbspCilantro (coriander) seeds
3 Tbsp Neutral oil
*1 Tbsp Tahini
*1 Tbsp Amba sauce
*1 Tbsp Zhoug green chili sauce
*1/4 cup pickled beetroot matchsticks
1 Tbsp Fresh cilantro leafs for garnish
Pinch Salt and Pepper
*Full recipes for these items we call 'Flavor Boosters', are available in the following Clickable links:
Let's do this...
Starting with the Eggs.
The secret to a perfect soft boiled egg, the one with that perfect yellow/orange creamy yolk is by simply following these steps:
Eggs should be fresh to 2 days old at best
Using a pin, make a small hole at bottom of egg. Why? you wonder.... Because this releases the captured air inside the egg, and will later make it easier for us to peel the egg shell, separating it from the membrane.
Boil the eggs for 6 min and 45 sec. I find that this exact time produced the best result.
Gently stir the eggs in the boiling water for a minute or so, this steps helps to make sure the egg yolk will be dead on in the center of the egg.
Prepare an Ice bath to transfer the eggs too, as soon as they finish cooking, so we may stop the cooking process. Ever noticed before this grey circle around the egg yolk?... well this is due to overcooking. Stopping the cooking process with an ice bath prevents this from happening.
Let the eggs sit in the cold water for about 5 to even 10 minutes before starting to peel the egg shell. Start from the bottom of the egg all the way to the top.
Place eggs aside for later use.
The tomatoes. I use cherry tomatoes when out of season, as they tend to be of good quality and flavor year round.
Place cherry tomatoes in a bowl and toss with Extra virgin olive oil, and season with Salt and Pepper.
Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 20 min in a 400 F (220 C) pre heated oven, until tomatoes become charred, but not burned.
Remove from oven and set aside to chill.
The Bread. Sabich typically is prepared in a pita bread which is the perfect vessel that can contain all the juices from the sauces, eggplant and eggs. It is somewhat of a messy heavenly sandwich. However here, I preferred to served in open faced on a flat bread, using exactly the same dough I use for pita bread, which I have shared in this blog with you:
Clickable link to Susu - Kitchen Pita Bread Recipe
Flatten the dough bowl with a rolling pin then fry on a pipping hot skillet (I prefer cast iron), for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Remove from skillet and place on a tray lined with a kitchen towel to keep warm and prevent the bread from drying.
The Eggplant. Try to choose mid size eggplant, light in weight and with a bright green color stem (this indicates the eggplant freshness).
Cut eggplant to roughly 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick slices
Spread over a baking sheet rack and sprinkle with liberally with salt. Then set aside for 15-20min, allowing the captured water in the eggplant to extract. This is an important step, that will allow for an easier and quicker browning of the eggplant when frying it.
Pat dry the eggplant and fry to golden brown in a hot pan over medium low heat.
Set aside in a pan layered with paper towel.
Place the eggplant pieces over a large flat round plate
Preparing the Sabich sandwich.
Place the flat bread on your cutting board or kitchen counter
Drizzled with Tahini and Amba sauce and spread evenly (I use the back of a Table spoon) across the flat bread, from edge to edge
Place fried eggplant slices
Top with charred cherry tomatoes
Halve the hard boiled egg and place on the flat bread
Top with Pickled beet matchsticks
Drizzle with Zhoug
And Finish with another generous amount of tahini