Falafel may get all the attention, but the sabich, another popular Tel Aviv snack food, has won my heart. Filled with moist slices of fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, a generous layer of creamy hummus, crunchy Israeli pickles, and Israeli salad, and drizzled with tahini sauce and amba, a pickled-mango sauce, it's all you could want in any sandwich, and more.
Why It WorksFalafel steals the spotlight, but this sandwich deserves top billing.
- Salting the diced tomato drains off excess water, concentrating the flavor and improving the texture.
- Sprinkling the fried eggplant with salt while it's still hot ensures that it will adhere.
- 2 plum tomatoes (7 ounces; 200g), cored and diced
- Kosher salt
- Olive oil or vegetable oil, for frying
- 3/4 pound Italian eggplant (about 1 medium eggplant; 350g), sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- 1/2 large seedless cucumber (7 ounces; 200g), diced
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) fresh juice from 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cored head cabbage (7 ounces; 200g), thinly shredded
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) white wine vinegar
- 4 fresh rounds pita bread, warmed and split just enough to form a pocket
- 3/4 cup homemade or store-bought hummus (6 ounces; 170g)
- 1/2 cup (120ml) homemade or store-bought tahini sauce (note that tahini and tahini sauce are different products)
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
- Israeli pickles, for serving (see note above)
- Amba sauce, for serving (see note above)
Place tomatoes in a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl and toss with a generous pinch of salt. Let stand 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1/4 inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches if necessary, fry eggplant slices, rotating for even browning and turning once halfway through, until golden on both sides and tender throughout, about 5 minutes; lower heat if oil begins to smoke. Transfer eggplant to a paper towel–lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
Transfer tomatoes to a medium bowl and discard drained liquid. Add cucumber, lemon juice, and parsley to tomatoes. Season Israeli salad with salt to taste and mix well.
In a medium bowl, toss cabbage with vinegar and season with salt.
In each pita pocket, smear 3 tablespoons (45ml) of hummus in an even layer. Layer 2 to 3 slices fried eggplant on top of each. Drizzle each with 1 tablespoon (15ml) tahini sauce, then top with sliced eggs, Israeli pickles, and remaining tahini sauce. Spoon some of the Israeli salad into each pita, drizzle with amba, and serve.