Israel, Iran, Levant – Sabich Sandwiches


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by Adelina Aida

This dish is like a sandwich in which different vegetables, stuffed meat, sauces are served in the pita bread or some other form of bread. In this specific bread fried eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, salads, different sauces are sandwiched between pita bread or laffa bread. Their ingredients are basically from the Jews breakfast and it is also a dish of breakfast. The use of Tahini sauce and Amba pickle is also very common but it is the variety infused with UAE culture. Tahini sauce is basically a sauce from Arab and Emirati cuisine so it is a dish with different culture infusion. This dish is a breakfast meal for Jews but it is commonly found there as the street food sandwich and also in the snacks. The history of Israeli cuisine is divided into different eras of development.

Israeli cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisine, and Arab cuisine have the same roots of origin because these cuisines share the same ingredients and also cooking styles. There is a huge list of food meals cooked in Israeli cuisine based on the use of ingredients and time of meals taken like breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. In Israeli breakfast and also in lunch and dinner dishes, eggplant is very common like there are eggplant salads, sandwiches, sauces, etc.

In these specific sandwiches, the use of specific vegetables, like eggplant and salads vegetables. The use of specific types of bread like pita and laffa. It is a similar dish to Arabic cuisine, Shawarma.

Alternative names of this dish

  • Sabich
  • Sabih
  • Sabich Sandwiches
  • Sabikh

HISTORY OF ISRAELI CUISINE

Israel’s culinary culture is the history of 3000 years. The tradition of this culture is influenced by regions like Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. The kings of the Israeli Kingdom have a great impact on culinary culture and Israeli cuisine.

The era of Romans and Hellenistic were influenced by Jerusalem and Priests. Meals of that time usually have alcoholic drinks, meat, fresh vegetables, olives, and sweet fruits.

There were seven spices common in Ancient food of Israel like

  • Olives
  • Figs
  • Dates
  • Pomegranates
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Grapes

Now there is a Modern trend that followed the world mostly the Western side. But the roots are traditional when it comes to the Ancient food and dishes of Old culinary culture. There are new kinds of fruits and vegetables from which different dishes are cooked with modern style.

The old Yishuv is the era which has begun in 1881 and was influenced by the Sephardi cuisine of Jews.

KIBBUTZ FOOD

Kibbutz means “gathering or clustering”. The first kibbutz was established in 1909 known as DEGANIA. Different members of a kibbutz are called kibbutznik. Their meal consist of different variety of food :

  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Labne
  • Sour cream
  • Olives
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Smoked herring

ETYMOLOGY OF SABICH

There are different aspects of the name of this dish SABICH.

One of the theories is the name of the dish is based on the name of man, Sabich Tsvi Halabi. There is a story of a Jewish man born in Iran and created this dish based on the culture of Israel. This is the story but it has no link with Israeli cuisine but this dish is also common and cooked in Iran.

There is no more story of this name that is sabich is a short-form of the Hebrew words “Salat, Beitsa, Yoter Ḥatsil” that means salad, egg, more eggplant. These are the main ingredients of the dish so they called this dish named, SABICH.

HISTORY OF SABICH SANDWICH

At the time of 1940 to 1950, there were Iraqi Jews refugee created these dishes. There is the creation of these sandwiches because, in the morning, they had no time for breakfast. They used to have bread and add whatever they found in their refrigerator like boiled eggs, vegetables, and cooked eggplant. Eggplant is the must element in their sandwich.

With the time they used to love this dish and prepare different stuffing a day before for breakfast like boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, eggplant. In Israel, these dishes became popular as fast food and breakfast as well. The dish is said to first be sold in Israel in 1961 in Uziel Street as street food. With the different variations, this dish has established different names and different concepts. One of the same dishes is named SABICH SQUARE after the shape of the sandwich.

This dish is popular in different regions and other cuisines :

  • Omani cuisine
  • Israeli cuisine
  • Iranian cuisine
  • Mesopotamian cuisine
  • Persian Cuisine

ELEMENT OF THE DISH

SANDWICH BREAD

In Sabich sandwich we have two bread options

  • Pita
  • Laffa

PITA BREAD

Pita bread is also known as Arabic or Syrian bread. This is a type of flatbread that is usually served as the bread for a sabich sandwich. This is straight or flatbread like a chapati. It is a yeast-leavened bread. In Arab, it is also known as Khubz.

This bread has a history from 14,500 years ago from the Stone-age, where pita-like flatbreads cooked in a tinûru. They are cooked and presented in such a way that a two-layer of pita bread formed like a pocket pita. In Greek Language, pita is known as bread, cake, and pie.

LAFFA BREAD

Laffa bread is Iraqi Pitta bread. It is a large flatbread with a thin crust. It is cooked in tandoor. But it has not formed any pocket because it is not fermented by the yeast. This is used as the sandwich in which the material is rolled in the bread like a roll or shawarma.

There are different methods of preparing laffa bread

  • Frying
  • Tandoor oven
  • Baked

ISRAELI SALAD

There are different names of Israeli salad

  • Salat yerakot yisra’eli
  • Mixed vegetable salad
  • Salat katzutz
  • Salat aravi
  • Salat yerakot

This salad has chopped and mixed vegetables like cucumber, capsicum, onions, Bell pepper, Tomatoes, chili pepper, etc. Other sauces and tangy elements are added like lemon juice, tomatoes juice, Zatar, Olive oil, and Yogurt. Dressing like Sumac and Tahini sauce is also presented to the vegetable salad.

There are also different salads types commonly cooked

  • Tomatoes Israeli salad
  • Salad Sherazi
  • Choban Salad from Turkish cuisine
  • Arabic salad
  • Salad Name’eh
  • Chopped salad, etc.

AMBA

Amba is the Mango pickle used in Israeli cuisine as the condiment for different dishes. It is very popular in Iraqi Jewish and Israeli cuisine. In this dish, green mangoes are used as the main ingredient.

The main ingredients of Amba sauce or Amba pickle are

  • Green mangoes
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Turmeric
  • Fenugreek
  • Chili

Amba is used in different cuisines like

  • Iraqi cuisine
  • Indian cuisine
  • Israeli cuisine
  • Jewish cuisine

TAHINI SAUCE

Tahini is a very popular and commonly used condiment or sauce in different dishes of the Middle east. This is the sauce from Middle Eastern cuisine. It is served as the sauce, dip, and prepared by Hulled Sesame seeds.

Tahini means to Grind. Tahini word is included in many languages and has its own meaning. There are many different methods to prepared tahini sauce. Like different ingredients are also added to this dip. Sesame seeds are first soaked in water then roast in the oven, blend in the mixture with other complementary ingredients like olive oil, salt, chili if required.

There is also different flavored tahini sauces sold in markets with additional ingredients and flavors.

  • Raw tahini sauce
  • Yogurt dip tahini
  • DIY tahini
  • Tahini cucumber dressing

HUMMUS

Hummus is the chickpea dip that is usually a savory dip. This is very rich in flavors and has very rich in good healthy nutrients. As a snack, it is served with pita bread.

Nutrients

  • 10% protein
  • 17% carbohydrates
  • 65% water
  • 14% fats

SEASONINGS

There are different types of spices added in making these sandwiches where you can adjust the taste and flavor of your own sandwich.

There are some spices that are commonly used in Israeli dishes like :

  • Carob powder
  • Hawaij
  • Baharat
  • Za’atar
  • Dead Sea Salt
  • Sesame seeds
  • Tarragon
  • Marjorum

SERVED WITH DIFFERENT DRINKS

  • Tubi 60
  • Arak
  • Shoko b’sakit
  • Limonana
  • Sachlav
  • Ice Café

INGREDIENTS OF SABICH

  1. Pita bread = 4
  2. Tomatoes = 2 sliced
  3. Cucumber = 1 sliced
  4. Carrots = 1 cup
  5. Lemon juice = 4 tbsp
  6. Fried Italian eggplant = 2 pounds
  7. Cabbage = 1 cup
  8. Parsely = 4 tbsp
  9. Hard boiled egg = 4
  10. Boiled potato = 1

SEASONINGS

  1. Kosher salt = 1 tbsp
  2. Olive oil = 4 tbsp
  3. Tarragon = 2 tbsp
  4. Marjoram = 1 tsp

SAUCES

  1. Hummus = 1/2 cup
  2. Tahini sauce = 1/2 cup
  3. Amba sauce = 1/2 cup

INSTRUCTION OF MAKING SABICH

  1. To make sabich sandwich, we have to collect all the ingredeints and condiments.
  2. Take a pita bread and roast it on the grill pan with some butter on medium flame.
  3. To make Israeli salad, chopped the vegetables like cucumber, cabbage, parsely, carrots with some lemon juice and olive oil.
  4. Mix all the vegetables properly and set it aside to assemble.
  5. Now take the eggplant slices that is 1/2 a inch in width and shallow fry them in cooking oil.
  6. When all the condiments are prepared, take a pita bread and cut it into half.
  7. This is the half pocket pita bread and now gather all the condiemnts in pita bread like eggplant, israeli salad, eggplant slices and hard boiled egg.
  8. Tahini sauce and hummus sauce is spread in the pita bread and add all the israeli salad, hard boiled egg slices, and eggplant slices.
  9. This sabich sandwich is ready to serve with lemonade and some coffee.
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