Sabih, with Zhoug, Tahini Sauce,and Mediterranean Chopped Salad

Sabih with Zhoug, Tahini Sauce,and Mediterranean Chopped Salad ~ this is fast food straight from the streets, and pages, of Jerusalem the city, and Jerusalem the cookbook. I’ve made lots of the stunning dishes from this book, and this will make the fourth I’ve blogged about.


Sabih is Israeli street food, very casual and satisfying. It might look like a jumble, but it’s actually an artful layering of fried eggplant slices, two different kinds of sauce, and boiled egg, topped with a cool and crunchy chopped Mediterranean salad. It all fits on a fluffy moist pita and you can fold it up and eat it with your hands. You can never go wrong with street food because it’s been thoroughly vetted by masses of hungry eaters on the go.

This recipe includes recipes for two of my favorite Middle Eastern sauces, Tahini Sauce and Zhoug, which, until now, I only knew as the ‘crazy hot green sauce’ that comes with all the meals at our favorite kebab joint. They give you the sauce in the tiniest little container, and look at you funny if you ask for extra. My husband and I fight over the last drops of green in those containers, so I’m very happy to know how to make it. The sauce is both cooling and powerfully hot at the same time, and  a really nice contrast to the creamy tahini sauce. I have a weakness of highly flavored green herb sauces, and so many cultures claim a version. It reminds me of fiery Indian Green Chutney and  pungent Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce.


Once you’ve got all the components, the Sabih gets layered up quickly. First are the fat slices of eggplant that have been cooked until brown and soft in oil. Then a drizzle of tahini sauce, some wedges of barely hard boiled egg, more tahini, a dash of the zhoug, and finally a fresh topping of chopped salad.

I have adjusted the recipe slightly, rewritten it in my own words, and made it for 2. If you want the original recipe, you’ll just have to buy the book, which I highly recommend you do…it is one of the most inspiring cookbooks I have ever bought. The photos alone are worth the price, and the recipes are all new and unusual, without being so exotic as to seem unapproachable.

Sabih         ~~~slightly adapted from Jerusalem

serves 2
1 large eggplant
olive oil 
2 eggs, boiled and cut in quarters
tahini sauce (recipe below)
zhoug (recipe below)
chopped salad (recipe below)
2 pitas (look for fresh authentic pitas)

  • Cut the eggplant into 1 inch slices. Salt them on both sides and set on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes to allow some of the water to sweat out of them. Wipe the salt off and dry them with a paper towel.
  • Coat the bottom of a large saute pan with oil and heat until hot. Fry the eggplant slices until dark brown and soft, about 5 or 6 minutes on each side. They should be soft throughout. Add more oil when you flip them if the pan is dry. Do this in batches if necessary, don’t crowd them.
  • Spread a little tahini sauce on each pita, then arrange the eggplant on top, overlapping the slices.
  • Drizzle more tahini sauce over the slices, and add the eggs and a few blobs of the zhoug (it is hot!)
  • Add a final drizzle of tahini, and finish with a generous helping of the chopped salad and enjoy!

Tahini Sauce
2/3 cups tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 – 1 cup water
juice of 1/2 large lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp salt

  • I made my sauce in a small food processor, I like the the consistency of the sauce when it’s made this way. You can easily do it with a spoon, as well. If using the processor, put the clove of garlic into the bowl and process until finely minced. Add the tahini, 1/2 cup of water, lemon juice and salt. Process until smooth. Add more water as needed to make a thick but runny sauce, with about the consistency of honey. I needed about a cup of water.
  • Keep refrigerated.

2 cups cilantro leaves 
1/2 cup parsley leaves
2 hot green chiles, sliced, seeds and all (I used Serrano)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (you can also use ground cumin)
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp water
juice of 1/2 lemon

  • Put everything into a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Scrape down the sides and pulse further until the sauce is evenly chopped, but still has a coarse texture.
  • Store in a clean jar. It will keep refrigerated for a couple of weeks.

Chopped Salad
1 medium tomato, cut in small dice
1 small cucumber, cut in small dice
several green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper 

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep cold until ready to use.

Other recipes from Jerusalem

Red Pepper and Baked Egg Galettes


Roasted Chicken with Clementines


Basmati and Wild Rice with Chickpeas Currents and Herbs 

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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    September 15, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    I am addicted to this dish–I’ve made it 4-5 times-wow. I have added pickled Mango too for a hot and salty condiment that I understand is a regular by many in Tel-Aviv (but I really don’t know cause I’m a 5th generation Irish American Midwestern gal, albeit a foodie)

    • Reply
      September 15, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      The pickled mango sounds great 🙂

  • Reply
    Josh Korn
    February 14, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Sabih features in a skit on this week’s Latma (now called Ha-Col Shafit “everything can be judged”).

    Sue, high-five for being a Zhoug fanatic!!!!

    I’m going to give this recipe a spin tomorrow morning. A day late for Shabbat, but I’m not really religious, except as a foodie.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    When you will be in Israel, go to the Tel-Aviv and try Sabih-Frishman, corner of Frishman street and Dizingoff. It’s addictive))) you’ll try once, next day you’ll reteurne.
    The place open sence 2004, the same taste from the opening.

  • Reply
    May 26, 2013 at 2:44 am

    this looks SO good- i have to try it!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    May 23, 2013 at 12:49 am

    My husband’s said he would give his eye tooth to study with Jonathan Lovekin, the photographer for Jerusalem. You’re so right Sue the photos are just stunning. But so are yours and I ‘m forever staring at your pictures in astonishment! Somehow I missed this amazing dish in the book. That’s whats so cool about that book though; every time I peruse though it, it I find something fresh and new I want to make!

  • Reply
    Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies
    May 23, 2013 at 1:51 am

    This looks gorgeous! What a perfect meal. I’ve been wanting to get a copy of Jerusalem for so long.

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    May 22, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    I want that cookbook! i didn;t even know it existed but i googled it right now after you mentioned it and now i want it! this dish looks fantastic! Beyond impressive and delicious- beautiful in fact

  • Reply
    May 22, 2013 at 4:40 am

    Your blog is incredible! I love all your recipes, and this one looks spectacular. I wish I could dip my finger into that zhoug – yum!!

  • Reply
    May 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Ah, usually when something looks like a jumble, I know it’s good! It means it has lots of flavors and textures going on! This looks so so so delicious, and you’re reminding me not to forget about that cookbook! All the food in it really is as beautiful as it is flavorful and exciting.

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    May 21, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Every time I cook something from the book it turns out looking as gorgeous as it tastes. And how many cookbooks do you have where the recipes are so unusual (at least to Americans) but can be made, mostly, with easily accessible ingredients and not a lot of fussy techniques.

  • Reply
    Tricia Buice
    May 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I believe you about the cookbook being an inspiration – I love what you have posted. Looks delicious and interesting and exotic!!!

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