Sabich sandwich with all the fixins — tahini,
haminado, zhug, etc.
 (Photo/Shelly Butcher)
Sabich sandwich with all the fixins — tahini, haminado, zhug, etc. (Photo/Shelly Butcher)

With fried eggplant and slow-boiled egg, Sabich puts a party in your pita

Sabich! I’ve had a recent hankering for this Israeli sandwich, filled to capacity with a myriad of flavors and textures.

Sabich originates among the Jews of Iraq, who would compose a makeshift breakfast after synagogue on Shabbat morning. In Iraq, sabich was often a plate of haminados (slow-cooked, Mizrachi-style boiled eggs), along with boiled potatoes and prefried eggplant; all topped, perhaps, with some spicy sauces or condiments.

The Israeli adaptation places all the ingredients in a pita, along with Israeli salad, hummus, tahini sauce, zhug and amba, a mango pickle or relish popular in India and the Middle East. Don’t skip the amba. It’s the perfect finish to the sandwich, without which your sabich will be naked and forlorn. There’s just something about hard-boiled eggs with salty, sour amba; soft eggplant with crunchy cucumbers; lemony sesame tahini with hot sauce, and maybe a sprinkle of onions on top. It makes my palate sing, and I could eat it for days.

Sabich also makes a wonderful vegetarian meal, with fewer carbohydrates than falafel. You can skip the hummus altogether and take it easy with the potatoes if you want to further reduce the carbohydrate content. You can make your own zhug and amba, or use store-bought versions of the same, purchased from Middle Eastern or Indian markets (I like Patak’s medium mango relish). All of the recipes below are enough for four sabich.

Fried Eggplants and Potatoes

Olive oil
2 medium Mediterranean eggplants
2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
1 garlic clove

Place two large, heavy skillets on medium heat. Add about a half-inch of olive oil to each skillet. Trim the eggplants and slice into half-inch rounds. Slice the potatoes into quarter-inch rounds. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add some eggplant slices to one pan and some potato slices to the other. Fry until golden brown on one side. Flip and repeat. Remove to plates lined with paper towels and season to taste with salt.


15.5-oz. can garbanzo beans, with salt
1 clove garlic
¼ cup raw tahini
¼ cup lemon juice
Salt and white pepper to taste
Olive oil, to taste
Pinch of cumin

Pulse all ingredients in a blender or small food processor. Taste and correct seasoning. Add more lemon juice if you prefer a tangier flavor. Pulse and taste again, making additional corrections as needed.

Israeli Salad

4 small Persian cucumbers, diced
7 Early Girl tomatoes, sliced
½ cup minced parsley
Olive oil
½ lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients well in a medium-size bowl. Taste and correct seasoning.

Tahini Sauce

½ cup raw tahini
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup water
Salt and white pepper to taste

Pulse all ingredients in a blender or small food processor until smooth. It should be the texture of crepe batter. Taste and correct seasoning.


4 pita breads, warmed
4-8 hard-boiled eggs or haminados, peeled
Fried Eggplants and Potatoes
Israeli Salad
Tahini Sauce

Slice off the top of a pita and place it inside the bottom of the pita for reinforcement. Spread some hummus in the pita, then add the remaining ingredients. Drizzle with tahini and hot sauce to taste. Repeat with remaining pita breads and serve.

Shelly Butcher
Shelly Butcher

Shelly Butcher is a technical writer and a food writer. She enjoys exploring the fundamental interconnectedness of all things food, where kreplach meet wontons. She blogs at