Turkish Poached Egg (Çılbır) | Today’s Mouthwatering Recipe from Turkish Cuisine

With today’s recipe, we are going to blow your mind! Turkish poached egg (“Çılbır” in Turkish), which probably you have never heard before, is something you will try at your home. For çilbir, pronounced “chulburr”, is a revelation and a complete sensation.

While cooking a poached egg, first you need to crack the egg into a fine-mesh strainer suspended over a small bowl
While cooking a poached egg, first you need to crack the egg into a fine-mesh strainer suspended over a small bowl

If you can’t get the Aleppo pepper, also known as pul biber or Turkish red pepper flakes, you could substitute paprika, adding a pinch of dried chili flakes. It has a mild, almost sweet heat and a distinctive lemoniness. But, these days of online grocery shopping, we’d encourage you to go for the real thing. This is the recipe that will help you overcome your potential fear of poaching eggs (see additional info below).

Once you try this delicious Turkish flavor, you will not be able to give up trying over and over again
Once you try this delicious Turkish flavor, you will not be able to give up trying over and over again

Ingredients for Turkish Poached Egg

  • 200 grams’ Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper / Turkish red pepper flakes
  • 2 large eggs (fridge-cold)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • a few fronds fresh dill (chopped)

To Serve:

  • chunkily sliced and toasted sourdough or other bread
Turkish tea is always a good idea with poached egg
Turkish tea is always a good idea with poached egg

How to Cook Turkish Poached Egg

1. Fill a wide-ish saucepan with water to come about 4cm up the sides of the pan. Put it on the heat and cover so that it heats up faster. Then, line a large plate with some kitchen roll, get out a slotted spoon and put both near the pan now.

2. Now fill another pan – on which a heatproof bowl can sit comfortably – again with water to come 3–4cm up the sides, and bring to the boil. Put the yogurt in a small bowl, stir in the garlic and salt, and set it on top of this pan, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir it until it gets to body temperature and has the consistency of lightly whipped double cream. Turn off the heat and leave the bowl as it is, over the pan.

Melt The Butter Gently…

3. Melt the butter gently in a small pan until it is just beginning to turn a hazelnutty brown (this is why, in classic French cuisine, it’s known as beurre noisette), but make sure it’s not actually burning. Turn the heat off under the pan, then stir in the olive oil, followed by the beautiful red pepper flakes; it will foam up fierily. Leave to one side while you get on with the eggs. And this is when you should be thinking of putting the toast on.

To cook Turkish poached egg, you need egg, yoghurt, garlic, and pepper
To cook Turkish poached egg, you need an egg, yogurt, garlic, and pepper

Other Steps to Make the Perfect Poached Egg

1. When you are ready to poach the eggs, crack the first egg into a fine-mesh strainer suspended over a small bowl, then lift it up a little and swirl gently for about 30 seconds, letting the watery part of the white drip into the bowl. Gently tip the egg into a small cup or ramekin and, aiming for the white, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice; I know everyone else says vinegar, but I just don’t like the taste of it on the egg, and the lemon does the trick just the same. Proceed as above with the second egg.

Turkish poached egg is a simple and delicious Turkish food
Turkish poached egg is a simple and delicious Turkish food

2. When the poaching water is just starting to simmer, take a cup or ramekin in each hand and gently slide in the eggs, one on each side of the pan. Turn the heat right down so there is no movement in the water whatsoever, and poach the eggs for 3–4 minutes until the whites are set and the yolks still runny. Transfer the eggs with your slotted spoon to the paper-lined plate to remove any excess water. Do remember to switch off the heat. Sorry to state too obvious, but you may leave it on this low without noticing.

Divide the Warm Creamy Yogurt

3. Divide the warm creamy yogurt between two shallow bowls, top each with a poached egg, pour the peppery butter around and slightly over the yogurt, scatter the chopped dill on top, and eat dreamily, dipping in some thick well-toasted bread as you do so.

Tip and Extra Information

We know the business of putting the eggs in a strainer seems like a fussy step too far. However, the crucial element in creating beautifully formed poached eggs is how fresh they are. As the longer they sit after you have laid them, the waterier the egg whites become. And since a freshly laid egg is generally held to be one that has been laid no longer than 48 hours before it’s cooked, the eggs I buy at the supermarket count.

This delicious Turkish recipe is also famous abroad (Image Credit: BBC)
This delicious Turkish recipe is also famous abroad (Image Credit: BBC)

If you gently crack an egg into a fine-mesh strainer and swirl it over a bowl, the wateriness drips away. And the jellied white that remains holds its shape more. Unless you’ve worked the brunch station at a busy restaurant for months on end, it is not that easy to turn out perfectly formed poached eggs every time. So, do not feel that anything less than perfection is a mistake. And what’s more, accept a little straggliness here and there.

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