We Turks love eggs done many different ways; one of our favorite ways to enjoy egg is as being poached and served over garlic yoghurt, a special dish called Cilbir, in Turkish. Cilbir is generally enjoyed as a hot mezze though I like serving as part of a leisurely weekend Turkish breakfast, lunch or a light supper, along with a refreshing salad like Coban Salata, Shepherd’s Salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, spring onions and some pide bread or crusty bread. Make sure your eggs are fresh and ideally free-range for the best results (fresh eggs have a thicker white near the yolk that hold a round shape as it cooks).
I also like to prepare a simple pul biber or red pepper flakes infused olive oil sauce and pour this over the poached eggs with garlic yoghurt, just before serving. The delicious heat from the red pepper flakes complements the dish beautifully. How about making your own Simit, Sesame crusted Turkish bread rings, to enjoy with Cilbir? Making Simit at home is easier than you think. You can join my zoom cooking classes to learn how to make Turkish treats – it is Kunefe and many more coming up at my May 29th online cookery class, you can see the details here.
I hope you enjoy this simple yet very satisfying dish, Afiyet Olsun.
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed and chopped finely
- 1 cup / 8 fl. oz. plain thick yoghurt, brought to room temperature
- 2 large free range eggs
- 30 ml / 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 30 ml / 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 10 ml / 2 tsp. Turkish pul biber, red pepper flakes or chili flakes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Pide bread or crusty bread to serve
- Prepare the garlic yoghurt first – about 10, 15 minutes before poaching the eggs – and bring to the room temperature.
- In a small bowl, beat the yoghurt with garlic and seasoning. Spoon this into two serving plates, creating a round thick layer to provide a nest for the poached egg. Let the yoghurt mixture reach the room temperature.
- Fill a small pan with hot water, add the vinegar (this will help sealing the egg whites) and bring to a boil. Stir the water to create a whirlpool and crack in the first egg.
- As the egg spins and the white sets around the yolk, stir the water ready for the next one. Poach each egg for 2-3 minutes so that the yolk remains soft.
- While the eggs are poaching, quickly pour in the olive oil in a small pan and stir in the Turkish pul biber, red pepper flakes or chili flakes, over medium to high heat. Stir and let the red pepper flakes infuse to olive oil for a few minutes, turn the heat off.
- Lift the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon and place them over a couple of sturdy paper towels, to drain the excess moisture. Then gently place them over to the garlic yoghurt spread.
- Drizzle the red pepper flakes infused olive oil over the poached eggs. Serve immediately with pide bread or crusty bread by the side.
- Coban Salata, Shepherd’s Salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, spring onions would also go well with this delicious poached eggs over garlic yoghurt, Cilbir; Afiyet Olsun.
Turkish cuisine is healthy, easy to prepare and so delicious. We Turks especially love our Turkish breakfast with eggs done different ways, salads, boreks (savoury pastries) and more. I love Turkish Breakfast so much that there’s a whole chapter dedicated to it, at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. Signed hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book is available at this link and delivered worldwide, including the US.
Ozlem’s Turkish Table on Brooklands Radio
I had the pleasure of having an interview with Jill Bennet on healthy Turkish cuisine at the Brooklands Radio on Sunday, 27th November. It was wonderful to have a chance to talk and spread the word on wholesome, delicious Turkish cuisine – and had a flash back of happy memories of my amateur DJ days at Kent FM in Istanbul! – Here is the podcast link of our interview, if you like to listen to.