When we think Turkish breakfast, we think of a lavish spread consisting of eggs, a variety of cheeses, jams, olives and much more. However, while this dish, çilbir, isn’t very popular in the touristy areas like Istanbul, it is a staple in eastern Turkey. Many Turks say this is the dish their mothers would whip up when they didn’t have time to make something more complicated for lunch or dinner. I must say, I would be super happy with this dish at any time of day.
The best part of this dish is that we generally have the ingredients at home all the time. When I first saw çilbir on a menu, I thought the combination sounded quite strange, but I am always willing to try things once. I am so glad I did, because it is definitely one of a kind. I have made these eggs for so many people and not one of them didn’t fall in love!
Cilbir is really easy to make, but you want to make sure you have good quality ingredients because you want all of the flavours to shine. I decided to poach my eggs the traditional way for this video, but I am usually making this dish for a crowd, so I often use poaching cups or a trick I learned from Jamie Oliver. He greases some cling film, cracks an egg in it and twists the cling film to secure the egg. Then he drops the little parcels into the water and poaches them! It actually works, but you want to make sure you grease the cling film, otherwise the egg and plastic become one.
In my cooking, I always like to tell people to season to taste, and this does not apply to salt and pepper, but to so many other things like spice levels or how much garlic you like to use. These ratios are to my personal taste, so feel free to tweak it to your liking.
Once I have made all of the dish’s components, I plate them all and then serve immediately with some toasted slices of sourdough, but your favourite bread will work too. I like sourdough because it can mop up the yolks and yogurt… Yum!
Ingredients- Serves 1
1 tbsp vinegar
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp dried mint
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp paprika
chilli flakes to taste
Bread- I like sourdough, but you can use any crusty bread
- Begin by poaching your eggs. Bring a small pot of water to the boil, add the vinegar and lower the heat so the water is not boiling vigorously. Slip your eggs in carefully and cook until the yolk reaches your desired doneness. Place on paper towels to drain excess water.
- While your eggs are cooking, make the yogurt base. Mix your ingredients together, taste and adjust, then place on the bottom of your serving plate.
- To make the butter, melt the butter along with the paprika and chilli flakes and let bubble on a low heat until the butter is infused.
- To serve, place the poached eggs on the yogurt base and then drizzle with the chilli butter. Sprinkle with salt, mint and more chilli flakes. Serve with some crusty bread and enjoy.