Semi Sabich

Iraqi Jewish Food from Israel… Oy Vey


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    2 to 4

Appears in

Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat

Well Fed 2

By Melissa Joulwan

Published 2013

  • About

I’ve never eaten an authentic Sabich (sounds like suh-beach) from a street vendor in Israel. But I like to travel with my taste buds, so I dug into research to learn more about this popular sandwich. I read many magazine articles and recipes, and all of them gushed about this irresistible combination of eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, amba sauce, and tahini. Like most traditional foods, each cook customizes their recipe, so my version includes spiced lamb with raisins. All of the components can be made in advance then assembled when it’s time to eat.

Heads up! This recipe requires you to do something in advance; plan prep time accordingly.



  • 1 large eggplant
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted za’atar, to taste


  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 large seedless cucumber, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • ¼ medium red onion, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste


  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • ½ medium onion, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried mint
  • ¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Almost Amba
  • Tahini Dressing
  • sliced hard-boiled eggs
  • fresh mint leaves
  • hot pepper rings
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • pickles or cornishons



Sweat the eggplant. Cut eggplant into ¼-inch thick slices. Sprinkle the slices aggressively with salt on both sides and place in a colander or sieve to sweat for 30 minutes.

Prep the relish. In a medium bowl, mix olive oil and lemon juice with a fork. Add cucumber, tomato, parsley, and red onion. Toss to combine, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Roast the eggplant. Preheat oven to 450F and cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry with paper towels or a clean dish towel, then brush with coconut oil and sprinkle with za’atar. Bake for 20 minutes, until browned and beginning to crisp. Meanwhile…

Brown the lamb. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes. Add the lamb and cook until browned, breaking up big chunks with a wooden spoon. Add the onion, garlic, and raisins. Cook until the onions are soft, 5-7 minutes. Toss in the cumin, oregano, mint, Aleppo pepper, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and cook until fragrant.

Assemble! To serve, place eggplant slices on a plate and top with lamb, relish, and other optional garnishes. Drizzle with sauces.