Sabih – A typical Israeli fast food that stems from Iraqi Jews’ Shabbat Breakfast


In Arabic “Sabah el Kheir” means “Good morning” but this Israeli sandwish you see in this photo, which consists of pita bread stuffed with fried slices of eggplant (in my case: I bake them after dipping them in olive oil), hard boiled eggs, vegetable salad, sometimes cooked potatoes, spicy Amba sauce (made of mango) and tahini sauce – is called SABIH and is said to have stemmed from a tradition among Mizrahi Jews, especially Iraqi Jews, who ate it on Shabbat morning.

Some say that the word Sabikh comes from the Arabic word صباح [sˤabaħ], which means “morning”, as the ingredients in the sabich are typical for an Iraqi breakfast. Traditionally it is made with haminados eggs, slow-cooked in Hamin (a slow-cooked dish) until they turn brown.

Sabikh was brought to Israel by Mizrahi Jews who moved in the 1940s and 1950s. On the Sabbath, when no cooking is allowed, Iraqi Jews ate a cold meal of precooked fried eggplant, cooked potatoes and hard-boiled eggs.

In Israel, these ingredients were stuffed in a pita and sold as fast food. In the 1950s and 1960s, vendors began to sell the sandwich in open-air stalls.

For those of you who don’t want to fry the eggplants, this is the method I use:
Preheat oven to 210 degrees C/ 410 F.
Slice the eggplants lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices, soak them in salted water for 15 minutes.

Rinse, dry with paper towels, pour enough olive oil to a wide bowl and dip the eggplant slices in it, squeezing out excess oil.
Sprinkle salt and ground pepper on both sides. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven, 15 minutes on each side. Set aside.

About vegetarian foodesigns from the land of milk and honey

Shalom. My name is Michal and I'm Israeli. I would like to share with you my passion to vegetarian food, cooking and baking from scratch, using local ingredients (whatever I can find in the market, instead of using canned ingredients)
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6 Responses to Sabih – A typical Israeli fast food that stems from Iraqi Jews’ Shabbat Breakfast

  1. How interesting – and delicious! What is the sauce on top?

  2. I had this sandwich at a little Iraeli owned restaurant in Nyack NY. I loved it! Now I have to wait for eggplant season (when hopefully the price goes down), then I’ll make it at home.

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