‘I accidentally put in too much chilli’
Sabich sandwich à la Huize Kerk
Makes four servings
4 pita rolls
2 tomatoes, diced
Half a cucumber, chopped
A handful of finely chopped red cabbage
100 grams of tahini
80 ml of water
1 unripe mango
Half an onion
2 garlic cloves
1 jalapeño pepper
1 tsp mustard seed
50 ml of water
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp fenugreek
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
Pinch of salt
1.5 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp soy sauce
Cut the eggplants lengthwise into pieces a little less than a centimetre thick. Sprinkle them with salt, put paper towels in between the slices and leave them for an hour. Grill the slices on high heat until they’re just past golden brown. Put in a colander with paper towels to drain the grease. Heat up the pita rolls and mix the tahini with water.
For the sauce: peel the mango and put it in a food processor with the jalapeño, onion, and garlic. Blend into a creamy sauce. In a saucepan, heat the spices and salt for twenty to thirty seconds until fragrant. Add the mango sauce and the water while stirring. Let simmer for ten minutes. Finally, stir in the lemon juice and soy sauce.
Fill up your pita roll with eggplant and the rest of the veggies, and don’t forget the sauce.
‘Mustard seed!’ Goya yells across the long, narrow kitchen to Jos, who’s rummaging through the large collection of spices and herbs. ‘And paprika, cumin, and turmeric!’ he adds. ‘Is cayenne pepper ok?’ Jos answers. ‘That’s practically the same as paprika at the Albert Heijn, right?’
The four roommates are all strategically placed in the kitchen in the back of the house, ready to do their part in the dinner-making process. Although Jos had actually been working on cleaning the bathroom, he quickly jumped in to grab some spices.
Sander explains what dinner is going to be. ‘It’s going to be a cheap meal, since everything is so fucking expensive these days’, he says bluntly. They’ve having sabich, a traditional Israeli dish: pita bread filled with grilled eggplant, salad, amba, and tahini. Eggs are also an option, but none of the residents at Huize Kerk eat eggs; they are all vegan.
Sander has been living in the house for seven years and became a vegan five years ago. He gradually convinced the other roommates Floris, Goya, and Jos. Some are stricter than others, he says, but everything in the house is vegan. They have dinner together every Monday, often joined by friends and former roommates. ‘It has high ceilings and the windows in the back are stained glass’, Jos says, explaining why the house is named for a church.
The guys don’t take themselves too seriously. ‘Onions are the poor man’s meat’, Goya jokes. He’s the most recent roommate, having moved in a little less than a year ago. Goya is the chef tonight; he also got the groceries. ‘I just started cutting up the eggplants and putting them in some paper towels. It works fine’, he says.
The rest of the dinner prep also happens fairly organically, with all roommates helping out. The stereo in the kitchen plays upbeat rock music. When the instrumental version of the Hoplahop comes on, the guys merrily start dancing to the song. ‘This is our house song’, Jos explains. ‘We immediately loved it the first time we heard it at Paradigm.’
It’s nice out, so the guys are having dinner at the big table in the backyard, surrounded by countless plants. Floris shows off the mural painted on the garden wall. It’s a large and colourful portrait painted by the guys’ artistic girlfriends. ‘We were just fucking around, just like we were in the kitchen earlier, when Jos yelled that he wanted to have Lenin on the wall.’
The guys take plates and cutlery out into the garden. ‘It might be a bit too spicy, I accidentally put in too much chilli’, Goya warns them. ‘But we’ll see. I think a person from Israel would cry if he saw what we made here.’
Vegan mayonnaise is a must during dinner: the Huize Kerk guys have it on the table every night. ‘It’s become a bit of a meme’, says Goya. ‘We even went so far as to test them all’, says Floris. Mayolijn was the eventual winner.
The guys continue to tease and make fun of each other during dinner. ‘I hate animals, they have no sense of duty’, Floris says dryly. Koen agrees: ‘Have you ever seen a moose wear a watch?’
‘I really think it’s time we throw another house party soon’, Floris suggests. His friends are into it, but first they have to finalise the plans for tonight. Goya: ‘I could go for something that’s interactive.’ They decide on a board game: Galapagos. Impatient, the guys start clearing the table.