Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors From my Israeli Kitchen


Sababa is an ode to Adeena’s adoptive home, Israel, and the ingredients found at the open-air shuk just steps from her apartment: “juicy ripe figs and cherries, locally made halvah, addictive, fried street food, and delectable cheeses and olives.” In this debut solo cookbook, she offers up bold, sunny recipes to match. Two of my favorites are included below and use ingredients that I almost always have at home anyway. Perfect for entertaining this holiday season!


Broccoli Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Serves 4 to 6
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

It’s not uncommon in Israel to see all manner of savory levivot, or pancakes, and ketzizot(patties). This decidedly retro one, made with cottage cheese and broccoli, falls somewhere in the middle. Cottage cheese is so rich and creamy here—it really adds something to the finished pancakes—so don’t skimp on the fat. Aim for a minimum of 4%, which is usually the highest you can find in American supermarkets. It’s all about getting the proportions right for a lacy, cloudlike creation that’s as good for dinner, lunch, or a snack as it is for breakfast. 

1½ cups broccoli florets (from ½ small head), finely chopped 
1 cup full-fat cottage cheese 
2 large eggs 
¼ cup all-purpose flour 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed 
Sour cream, for serving 

In a medium bowl, stir the broccoli, cottage cheese, eggs, flour, chives, dill, baking powder, salt, and pepper until combined. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Make pancakes out of the batter, using 3 tablespoons per pancake. Fry until the edges are lacy and browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side, adding more oil to the skillet between batches as needed. Serve with sour cream and garnish with chopped dill.


Mushroom Arayes with Yogurt Sauce
Makes 8 arayes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

A night in the garden at M25 steakhouse, in the shuk, where our friend Jonathan Borowitz is co-owner and chef, always starts with their arayes, a Lebanese-inspired dish of raw ground meat stuffed into pitas and grilled. I was shocked at how well mushrooms worked in an arayes-style dish made in mini-pitas. Similar to the meat version, the filling cooks up juicy and flavorful, a perfect handheld snack that starts with the simplest white button mushrooms. I tried it with fancier versions, but I actually prefer these; they keep their shape and texture after cooking with­out trying to pretend like they’re meat at all. 

1 cup full-fat yogurt 
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs of your choice 
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

2 pounds button mushrooms, trimmed 
1 medium onion, finely minced 
3 tablespoons finely minced garlic 
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the pitas 
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro 
1½ teaspoons ground cumin 
1½ teaspoons kosher salt 
Scant 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
8 to 10 mini pitas, depending on the size of the pitas 
Salted lemon spread, tahini, and honey harissa for serving

Make the yogurt sauce: In a medium bowl combine the yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, and salt. Chill until ready to use. 

Make the arayes: On the large holes of a box grater set over a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor with the coarse grating blade (larger holes) attached, grate the mushrooms. Add the onion, garlic, olive oil, parsley, cumin, salt, paprika, and pepper. Split the pitas, leaving them connected at one end. Preheat a grill, grill pan, or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Working four at a time, divide the filling evenly among the pitas, pressing down lightly so the pita adheres to the filling. Brush the outsides of the pitas with oil and grill the arayes until each side is charred and the filling is hot, 2 to 3 minutes per side. 

Slice the arayes in half if desired and serve with the yogurt sauce, lemon condiment, tahini, and harissa.

Reprinted from Sababa by arrangement with Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2019, Adeena Sussman.