Turkish Eggs with Yoghurt ‘Çılbır’

This dish, çılbır, is served as a hot meze dish or breakfast snack in Turkey, but in The Turkish Cookbook Ghillie Basan describes how she enjoys it for lunch or supper with a green salad. Hen’s or duck’s eggs can be used, and you can either poach or fry them. Served with toasted flat bread or chunks of a warm, crispy loaf, lashings of garlic yogurt and a good drizzle of melted butter, it is incredibly simple and satisfying


500g thick and creamy natural plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
White wine vinegar, for poaching (optional)
4 large eggs
1–2 tbsp butter
1 tsp Aleppo Pul Biber (or Urfa Pul Biber)
A few dried sage leaves, crumbled
To garnish: salt and ground black pepper


Beat the yogurt with the garlic and seasoning. Spoon into a serving dish or on to individual plates, spreading it flat to create a thick mattress for the eggs. Keep it at room temperature as a contrast to the hot eggs.

Fill a pan with water, add a dash of vinegar (to seal the egg whites), and bring to a rolling boil. Stir the water to create a whirlpool and crack in the first egg. As the white of the egg sets around the yolk, stir the water ready for the next one. Poach each egg for 2–3 minutes so the yolk is still soft.

Lift the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon and place them on the yogurt mattress.

Quickly melt the butter in a small pan. Stir in the Aleppo Chilli Pepper or Black Urfa Chilli and sage leaves, then spoon over the Turkish Eggs. Serve immediately.

Variation: Other popular variations on Turkish Eggs include yumurtali ispanak kavurmasi, a dish of sautéed spinach and onions with eggs cooked in the middle, or a classic Palace dish of eggs cooked with pastırma.

Recipe taken from The Turkish Cookbook by Ghillie Besan

spices used

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