Monday, November 21, 2011

Israeli Street Food

Photo by shantilly picnic
Every trip I take home must consist of at least one night with my girls. And although a night on the town is always fun, what I really wanted to do is cook. Lucky for me my gorgeous friend Ronit offered to host the dinner party at her new place. It was the perfect oppotunity to cook up some yummy, authentic Israeli food! I've made Sabih before with Steve back in NY but I knew Ronit would be able to teach me a thing or two.. 

First lesson, Sabih was brought to Israel in the early 1950's by Iraqi immigrants. The taste tantalizing combo of fried eggplant, hard boiled eggs, tahini, salad, and zhoug are traditionally stuffed inside a pita and sold by street food vendors. We served an open-faced plated version along with plenty other delicious Israeli dishes that I can't pronounce. 

Serves 6 

1 large eggplants
1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil, for frying 
6 thick slices rustic country bread, toasted
6 organic, free-range eggs, hard-boiled and cut into slices
Salt and black pepper

Tahini Sauce (T'china):
1/2 cup tahini paste 
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, crushed

2 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 small cucumbers, diced
2 spring onions, thinly diced 
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

Zhoug (S'chug): 
1small bunch cillantro 
1 small bunch of parsley
2 jalapenos, seeded unless you like the spice
1/2 tsp ground cumin 
1/2 tsp ground cardamom 
1/8 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp water 


Cut the eggplant width ways into inch-thick slices and lay them out on a large plate. Sprinkle the eggplant with kosher salt and let sit for a few minutes to pull out some of the moisture, then blot with paper towel. Heat the frying oil in a wide pan. Fry the eggplant in batches until nice and dark, a couple minutes per side. Add oil if needed throughout the batches. Remove from the pan, place on paper towel to drain, then sprinkle with salt.

To make the zhoug, put all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste. 

Photo by shantilly picnic

Photo by shantilly picnic
For the tahini sauce, put the tahini paste, water, lemon juice, garlic and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Mix well by hand and add a little more water if needed. The consistency should be slightly thinner than honey. Make the salad by mixing the tomatoes, cucumber, spring onion, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, spoon a tablespoon of tahini sauce over each toasted piece of bread, then arrange overlapping slices of eggplant on top. Drizzle over some more tahini and lay sliced hard boiled eggs on top of the eggplants. Drizzle more tahini on top and spoon over as much zhoug as you like. Place a little salad on top of each sabih and serve the rest on the side.

Photo by shantilly picnic
Some of the other dishes included Ronit's flame charred eggplant smothered with tahini sauce, quinoa stuffed red peppers, and falafel.

Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic
These zaatar pita chips were a last minute thought and they ended up being SO good. Cut or tear your pita bread in halfs, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with zaatar and a little salt. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Photo by shantilly picnic
 Dipping sauces: hummus, tahini, and matbucha.

Photo by shantilly picnic 
 And last but definitely not least, spinach and cheese borekas! 

Photo by shantilly picnic


  1. This was SUCH a fun night!!
    Love you Shanti!

  2. Late response, I know. But seriously, thanks you for reading and leaving comments! Ronit, I still think about this amazing dinner with you. Emma, you would have loved this dinner! Let's recreate it sometime together. Dad, Zhoug is pretty similar to your green stuff!