Çılbır is a wonderful way to start any day. Creamy, garlic infused yoghurt is topped with soft poached eggs and drizzled with a vibrant Aleppo pepper butter. It’s up there as one of the prettiest, tastiest breakfasts in the World. Learn how to make it at home…
As breakfasts go, I’m never happier as when there are eggs on offer. In Turkey I ate all manner of egg breakfasts like the amazing Menemen and the even more amazing Suçuk Eggs but one preparation stands out amongst all others. The delicious and beautiful Çılbır.
What is Çılbır
Known as simply, Turkish Eggs, Çılbır (pronounced ‘chul-bur’) is a wonderful combination of eggs, yoghurt and a buttery Turkish pepper infusion. On paper, this may sound a little weird, but in real life quite the reverse is true. My Çılbır recipe is an elegant, luxurious combination of flavour and texture. Rich, smooth and decadent. It’s light but filling and the perfect way to satiated until lunchtime.
Aleppo Pepper infusion
What makes this dish so beautiful is the buttery, vibrant sauce that's drizzled over at the end. A combination of butter (I use ghee) and Turkish pepper flakes or Aleppo Pepper. Aleppo pepper is a mild pepper flake that infuses with the hot butter and creates a magnificent, yellow sauce that not only delivers colour but a wonderful nutty, spiced flavour. Against the monotone eggs and yoghurt, it’s a visual delight.
The perfect poached eggs.
Another element that makes this Çılbır recipe so special are perfectly poached eggs. Many people are intimidated at the prospect of poaching eggs and there are countless contraptions that promise to deliver them, many of which I bought in the past!
In truth, poaching an egg is not difficult. Simply bring a small pan of water to a boil, reduce the heat so that it’s not bubbling. Add a little vinegar or lemon juice (it helps to keep the egg firm). Now break your eggs into a small bowl (put all your eggs in the same bowl - they won’t stick together). Create a little whirlpool with the water with a spoon and while it's still spinning gently ease in the eggs. They’ll spin for a few seconds and then finally settle. Now leave them alone for about 3-4 minutes. They should sit in still, not simmering hot water. Then simply remove them using a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towels.
TIP: You can poach eggs in advance and keep covered in cold water in the fridge for up to a week! Then just pop into boiling water for 20-30 seconds to warm through.
Heating the yoghurt
The yoghurt is infused with a little garlic and salt for flavour then gently heated until lukewarm. Now, the normal recipe requires a bowl over hot water to heat the yoghurt gently, but honestly, a quick 30-second zap in the microwave does the trick. I’ll cook for 15 seconds then stir, then another 15 seconds and it’s done. Just be careful if you have a powerful microwave as the yoghurt could separate - so just cook it for short bursts at a time to maintain control.
When this dish comes together and you take your first dive into the egg, the runny yolk combines with everything to create a soft, luxurious texture that is quite literally the most amazing thing when teamed with either flatbreads or a few slices of crusty sourdough. It’s the most perfect way to start any day and the best weekend brunch. This recipe serves one, but there’s nothing better than Çılbır served communal style in a giant flat bowl with copious amounts of the yellow butter sauce drizzled over. It’s a joy! You can multiply the ingredients using the recipe below.
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How to make my Çılbır (Turkish Eggs)