Monday, September 9, 2013

Bringing the Streets of Jerusalem Home

"Sabih" is the name of this dish from the Tamami & Ottolenghi cookbook Jerusalem. It's roots are Iraqi, but it has elements from many Middle Eastern traditions. One thing is for sure--it's delicious.

I adapted the Jerusalem recipe somewhat, and I think it turned out really well.


2 medium-sized eggplants
4 plum tomatoes
2 medium orange tomatoes
2 kirby cucumbers (or one large cuke)
handful of parsley
3 green onions/scallions
3 hardboiled eggs
2 tbsp s'chug or zhoug
1 cup tahini
1 cup yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt, pepper, olive oil
harissa (if the zhoug isn't hot enough for ya)
pomegranate seeds (optional)
quality pitas (3-4)

Slice the eggplant in half and place the halves, innards up, in a baking dish. Spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. I added a little bit of ras-al-hanout, but you could also season with paprika or sumac. Roast in an oven at 375 degrees F until the eggplant is tender, but not mushy. Allow to cool. The Jerusalem cookbook wants you to fry the eggplant; I guess that's traditional, but I needed to bake mine.

Hardboil your eggs (best method here) and begin to make the salad by cubing tomatoes & cucumbers and mixing them with good olive oil, chopped scallions, chopped parsley, and salt & pepper. Allow to rest and marinate for 1/2 an hour to an hour.

Make the tahini sauce by combining tahini, yogurt, and lemon juice and a little bit of salt. This mixture should be thin enough to pour, but not watery.

When the eggplant has cooled, peel the skin and roughly chop the eggplant into cubes. Mix the cubes with the s'chug to taste. The Jerusalem cookbook calls it zhoug, which is typical in a bunch of different cuisines. If you pinpoint it, it might be Yemeni. And you can make it from scratch. Mine is from Sabra, yes, of Sabra hummus. I've had this s'chug in the fridge for about a year--I have no idea why I bought it, but it is GOOD. It's existence in the bottom of the fridge is one of the reasons I chose this recipe. Remember, the s'chug is really hot. And if you want the taste of harissa, too, either eliminate or drastically reduce the s'chug.

Toast the pitas in a warm oven until puffy. You can help this along by spraying a bit of olive oil on the pitas. (Unfortunately, we passed up some fresh-made pitas at the bakery today because we had some in a bag in the fridge. This recipe deserves the best pita possible. Just sayin').

On the toasted pitas, begin assembling by pouring a few dollops of tahini sauce on the warm pitas. Place a few spoonfuls of eggplant on each pita, then layer on the slices of hardboiled egg. Top with a bit more tahini sauce, top with the salad, then place some more tahini sauce on top of that. Garnish with some pomegranate seeds.

I don't know how you eat this thing. I guess on the street in Jerusalem you'd get it in a more user-friendly pita wrapped in wax paper and it would be all rolled up. On our plates, we cut the pitas in quarters and ate it greedily with our hands.

You can get most of these ingredients at Sahadi's if you live in Brooklyn (but they also ship now, too), or maybe at Kalustyan's in Manhattan. But mostly everything you can make from scratch--except the tahini.

1 comment:

Beth said...

This looks and sounds delicious! So glad to have discovered you Mystic Gypsy!!