Cilbir (roughly pronounced chilbr) is a centuries-old dish that can be enjoyed everywhere in Turkey today. It is very easy to prepare, offers incredible flavour complexity and leaves Eggs Benedict behind for us.

It is ideal to enjoy Çılbır for breakfast, but it is suitable for any time of day and especially for warmer weather.

With a few variations, the dish consists of poached eggs, firm yoghurt and melted butter flavoured with a touch of chilli.

These are only a few ingredients, but it’s the detail that counts. Of course, you should only use the best eggs that have not travelled far to reach you and do not come from factory farming with the use of who knows what additives. The yoghurt must be Turkish or Greek style, i.e. very firm. Aleppo chilli flakes are ideal. This is a fairly mild chilli with an intense flavour. An alternative is the more common Turkish Pul Biber, but unlike Aleppo chilli flakes, it also contains the seeds of the chilli, which makes it spicier.

The yoghurt is seasoned with very little finely grated garlic and salt; the garlic must, of course, be stirred in very thoroughly in order to be optimally distributed. Even if you don’t like the flavour of raw garlic, we recommend not leaving it out completely. Then just use very little of it. The dish should not have an intense garlic flavour, but it is important for the overall composition.

The yoghurt can then be placed on a plate or in a bowl to warm it up. Close to room temperature would be ideal. Use a tablespoon to create a small hollow in the centre for the egg.

The egg is poached and we have explained exactly how to do this here. The version with the sieve is very suitable for this dish.

Butter is heated over a medium-high heat until it begins to bubble. It should start to become fragrant but not brown. Then stir in the chilli and optionally some additional paprika powder and immediately remove from the heat.

The poached egg is placed on the bed of spiced yoghurt and topped with the seasoned butter. A little dill and / or parsley is not only a visual but also a great flavour addition.

Serve with toasted bread to mop up all of this surprising delicacy.


And may the taste be with you.

Ingredients (per egg):

100 g firm yoghurt (Turkish or Greek style)

¼ clove of garlic, grated

Salt to taste

1 egg, poached

1 tbsp butter

One or more pinches of Aleppo chilli or pul biber, to taste

Optional: additional ¼ tsp paprika powder

Dill tips and / or parsley leaves

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