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Velvety Turkish Poached Eggs with Yogurt Recipe (Cilbir)

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Indulgent, rich, and velvety soft, our Turkish poached eggs with yogurt recipe (Çılbır) promises to take breakfast to a whole new level. This truly is a dish of majestic proportions, with its smooth, buttery texture and rich, creamy flavors, laced with just the right amount of heat, adored by people from all walks of life.

Turkish Poached Eggs (Çılbır) Recipe

Records of this dish date back centuries to the reign of the Ottoman Empire, and today, cilbir (Çılbır in Turkish) is the way so many Turks choose to start their busy days.

This creamy and buttery soft combination of poached eggs and yogurt may look complicated but is in fact very simple to make. Early versions of this dish are believed to have been firm favorites of various Ottoman sultans, rulers of the Ottoman dynasty, and any foods enjoyed by monarchs pretty much always have a real ‘wow’ factor about them.

What is Cilbir?

Simple and wonderfully textural, cilbir is a Turkish dish, commonly eaten at breakfast, of poached eggs served on a bed of creamy natural yogurt, mixed with garlic, coated with a generous drizzle of a sauce made from melted butter and, traditionally, Aleppo pepper.

Cilbir is something of a move away from the conventional egg-based breakfast dishes synonymous with the Mediterranean, North African, and Levant regions. Dishes like shakshuka are known for their fiery red flavors, often using sweet, acidic ingredients, like tomatoes and peppers.

Cilbir is far more of a creamy and aromatic dish, with its yogurt base and butter sauce bringing more rich, savory, and tart flavors to the surface, with the Aleppo pepper providing just a smidge of heat.

Variations

Paprika – You will commonly come across people making this dish with paprika powder. While Aleppo pepper (also known as pul biber) is the traditional ingredient, when making this dish we had to source this from a Turkish market.

If you are struggling to find sweet Aleppo pepper spice (pul biber), you can use paprika instead.

Panagyurishte-Style Eggs – This popular Bulgarian dish uses a pretty much identical combination of poached eggs on a yogurt-mixture base, coated in a butter and paprika sauce.

The difference, however, is in the ingredients, with a combination of local Bulgarian yogurt and sirene, a white Balkans cheese, combined with either fresh or powdered garlic to make the creamy bed on which the eggs sit. Panagyurishte-style eggs are also served warm, and at lunch, not for breakfast.

Recipe Ingredients

To make our poached eggs with yogurt recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • Eggs – 4 eggs
  • Yogurt – 1 cup full-fat, plain yogurt (240 grams)
  • Garlic – 1 garlic clove
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Fresh Dill – a bunch (roughly 1 tsp minced for the yogurt and 1 tsp for garnishing)
  • Butter – 3 tbsp (42 grams)
  • Aleppo Pepper Flakes (or Pul Biber) – 1 tsp
  • Bread – Turkish bread such as Simit (you can also serve it with pita, sourdough bread, or any crusty bread of your choice)
  • Vinegar – 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar (for poaching the eggs)

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Mix the yogurt with the minced garlic, salt, and minced fresh dill. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference.

Step 2 – Spoon the yogurt on two plates.

Step 3 – Make the poached eggs. In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar. Turn the heat down to medium-low (so that the water is only gently simmering).

Using a large spoon, swirl the water to create a small vortex. Then, take each egg, crack it into a small bowl, and then slowly and gently tip the egg from the bowl to the center of the vortex in the pot. Cook for about 3-3.5 minutes until the whites have set and are firm and the yolks are runny.

Remove the eggs from the water (using a slotted spoon) and drain them on a paper towel. Add a pinch of salt to the eggs while still hot.

Step 4 – Place the eggs on the bed of yogurt (two on each plate in the center of the plate).

Step 5 – In a small pan, melt the butter and add the pul biber/sweet Aleppo pepper spice (or the paprika spice if you couldn’t find the Aleppo pepper). Saute for 15-20 seconds.

Step 6 – Spoon the butter sauce over the eggs and yogurt.

Step 7 – Optionally, garnish with fresh dill.

Serving Suggestions

Simit – Want to keep things traditional? Tear off a handful of sweet, sesame seed-dotted simit, and use it to mop up the creamy yogurt, melted butter, and runny yolk.

Flatbread/Pita – Likewise, if you can’t get your hands on simit, some freshly baked flatbread is a more than worthy substitute to mop up that creamy goodness.

Herb Garnish – Very much an optional step, but if you have some leftover dill, use it to garnish the eggs and add some freshness. Some people also like to garnish with pepper flakes for a little extra heat.

Crusty Bread – The breads we have used in this recipe are traditional Turkish breads. Naturally, if you can’t find such breads, any fresh, crusty bread, such as a warm freshly baked sourdough or French loaf from the local bakery, is ideal for enjoying with this incredibly soft and creamy dish.

This dish really is a wonderfully rich and exciting way to enjoy your eggs in the morning. There are so many textures and flavors going on, but when you break the dish down, it is very straightforward to make, and a great gateway into Turkish cuisine.

Cilbir Recipe Card

Turkish Poached Eggs (Çılbır)

5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Author: Nomad Paradise
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Turkish
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup full-fat plain yogurt (240 grams)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp of minced fresh dill 1 tsp for the yogurt and 1 tsp for garnishing
  • 3 tbsp butter 42 grams
  • 1 tsp aleppo pepper flakes pul biber
  • 2 Turkish bagels like simit or 4 slices of sourdough bread or 2 flatbreads or any other bread of your choice
  • 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar for poaching the eggs

Instructions

  • Mix the yogurt with the minced garlic, salt, and minced fresh dill. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference.
  • Spoon the yogurt on two plates.
  • Make the poached eggs. In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar. Turn the heat down to medium-low (so that the water is only gently simmering). Using a large spoon, swirl the water to create a small vortex. Then, take each egg, crack it into a small bowl, and then slowly and gently tip the egg from the bowl to the center of the vortex in the pot. Cook for about 3-3.5 minutes until the whites have set and are firm and the yolks are runny. Remove the eggs from the water (using a slotted spoon) and drain them on a paper towel. Add a pinch of salt to the eggs while still hot.
  • Place the eggs on the bed of yogurt (two on each plate in the center of the plate).
  • In a small pan, melt the butter and add the pul biber/sweet Aleppo pepper spice (or the paprika spice if you can’t find the Aleppo pepper). Saute the spices for 15-20 seconds.
  • Spoon the butter sauce over the eggs and yogurt.
  • Optionally, garnish with fresh dill.
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Authors

  • Doina Johnson is a recipe developer and writer. Doina has been cooking for most of her life, and her style draws from many different influences. She cooked with her mother and grandma growing up in Eastern Europe, before adding modern, western influences to her style when living in the United States for about a decade. Then, she traveled full-time for several years, trying food in Europe, Asia, and South America, and bringing those influences into her own cooking. She strives to introduce passionate homecooks to world cuisine, generally by trying the food herself abroad and then recreating it at home and, at times, enlisting the help of local foodies and chefs.

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  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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