Have you ever had Çilbir (Turkish Poached Eggs in Yogurt)? If not, boy have I got a treat for you! They say you eat with your eyes first… are your eyes dancing yet?
Believe me, this tastes every bit as good as it looks! Dense garlicky yogurt swirled into spiced butter and a rich poached egg. Dip a warm piece of toasted rustic bread into the golden sunrise of colors, and you’ve got heaven on a plate.
This may sound a bit strange, but I first heard of this dish via my dog. Years ago, I had a Kangal Dog named Cyrus. This particular dog is so highly valued by the Turkish people, that the government has declared them a national treasure. Truly that is the case, as I can recall bringing him to a Turkish festival – Cyrus was an absolute sensation! Turks from right and left would poke the person next to them and point at him as we walked by, they would stop and want to take a picture with him, and they all told me stories of near mythological proportions about a Kangal they knew back home. It was like walking around with a rock star – and Cyrus loved every moment!
It was also at the Turkish festival, that I discovered Çilbir. Originating from the kitchens of the Ottoman empire, Çilbir (pronounced Chill-ber), is often known as Turkish comfort food. The spiced butter is frequently infused with Aleppo peppers, for which paprika with a pinch of cayenne can be substituted.
This dish has such incredible flavor, colors so rich it looks like it was pulled from the morning sunrise, and it’s so quick and easy to make – you can have this stunning plate on your breakfast table in under 20 minutes!
- 1 large garlic clove
- kosher salt
- 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt at room temperature (see note)
- ½ teaspoon tahini
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric
- pinch of cayenne
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 4 slices of rustic bread, sliced
- extra virgin olive for brushing
- 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
- Using a mortar and pestle mash the garlic and ½ teaspoons of salt together until it forms a paste. If you do not have a mortar and pestle - mince the garlic and sprinkle with salt. Then take your knife placed at a 45 degree angle to the cutting board, and scrape the garlic across the board until it forms a paste.
- Scoop the garlic paste into a medium bowl and stir in the the yogurt and tahini. Allow the yogurt mixture to sit out on the counter while you complete the rest of the dish.
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and add the paprika, turmeric, cayenne, and a pinch of salt. Stir well to combine and once the butter sizzles, remove from heat (do not let it burn). Pour through a fine-meshed sieve into a small bowl (you don't have to strain the spiced butter, but it certainly makes it pretty). Keep the butter in a warm place.
- To poach the eggs, fill a deep saucepan with water and the vinegar. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into separate bowls. Once the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat. Using a spoon, swirl the water in one direction creating a whirlpool effect. Holding the bowl containing one of the eggs just above the surface of the water, carefully slide the egg into the center of the whirlpool. Do this again with the second egg. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for 3 minutes (no peeking!) Once cooked, use a slotted spoon to gently lift the eggs out of the water. Gently transfer to a paper towel to drain.
- Brush the toast with olive oil and toast in a pan until golden brown.
- To serve, spoon some of the spiced butter onto two plates. Scoop the yogurt on top of the butter and then gently place the eggs on top. Drizzle the remaining butter over the top and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with toast and enjoy!
Christine | Vermilion Roots says
Hi Kathleen, This recipe is amazing! I’m all about eggs for breakfast and this looks like the perfect morning meal. The runny yolk is calling my name!
Well hello there fellow egg lover 😉 This is certainly a nice way to switch up things for breakfast, and it makes for some great egg porn in the morning!
Cheryl Bouchard says
I just left a comment. You can disregard that one. I was having a brain cramp and thought this was a soup. (I’ve been reading lots of soup recipes and my eyes are starting to play tricks on me.) So with that said, this recipe still looks and sounds delicious.
That’s ok, Cheryl! I have at least one brain fart a day 😉 And I can totally see where after reading soup recipes, this would look like one. Actually… I bet we could make that into some type of really nice cream-base soup, what do you think?
I made the spiced butter, poured a little over scrambled eggs on toast with a dollop of indian yogurt on top. SO good! Spiced butter will be a new staple in our house! Thanks for the new idea!! : )
Oh, Jen that sounds wonderful! I’m so glad you enjoyed the spiced butter – you can also give it a try on grilled chicken and/or shrimp if you like 🙂
i tend to group together similar recipes on my pinterest account into one hub of that share and choose the best photo of the bunch to carry same. your w-a-a-a-y past stunning photos and delicious post now helm the cilbir pin hub. the only thing i am thinking as i type my thank you note is how much i need to face plant your version. can’t wait to serve it as a day-after brunch thing for overnight holiday guests this year.
Omg… thanks you! I’m SO incredibly flattered! The cilbir shot is one of my very favorites photos – I’m so glad you feel the same 🙂 I’d love to know what you and your guests think.
Amber Harding says
Spend the last hour browsing recipes on the web and I got to the conclusion that all the time in the world won’t be enough to cook everything I want! But I’ll start tomorrow with this great looking poached eggs, and next month, when I visit Istanbul, I’ll try to find them and compare 🙂
Wow – you’re going to Istanbul! My cousin went just a few months ago and she said she had the time of her life! I have yet to go, but it’s definitely on my bucket list. I would love to know what some of your favorite dishes are when you get back! Safe travels and I hope you have a awesome time! 🙂
Melissa | Bits of Umami says
First of all…. Cyrus. What a stud muffin 😉 I love me any dog that introduces me to something that looks this beautiful. The colors in this are amazing.
Yeah, he was definitely the ladies man. He never got along with other male dogs, but if a female came around – he was a total meatball! I think it’s kinda funny and endearing that my dog taught me everything I know about Turkish food. Hmm… sounds like a great book title 😉
Tina Jui | The Worktop says
This looks amazing. I have never heard of this before, but I can’t wait to give it a try! Beautiful photos too!
Thanks so much, Tina! I had never heard of it either… until I got Cyrus 😉 I’ve been totally hooked ever since!
Rhonda Melogy says
This looks absolutely amazing! Thanks so much for sharing Home Matters Linky Party. Rhonda
Thanks so much, Rhonda! The Home Matters Link Up Party has a lot of very talented bloggers, for sure!
Life With Lorelai says
YUM’d! This looks delicious. A definite must try! Please come share your blog posts over at the Home Matters Linky Party! We’d love to have you for a visit. The Door OPENS tonight at 9pm Pacific Time. 🙂
Life With Lorelai
Thank you so much Lorelai! Çilbir is quickly becoming my go-to breakfast – it’s so quick and easy.
Great site! I’ll definitely checkout the link party! Thanks 🙂
Lokness @ The Missing Lokness says
Oh my, what have I been missing? Garlicky yogurt, butter and poached egg? My husband would go crazy over this! Cyrus was such a beautiful dog! I would be all over him as well if he didn’t mind. 🙂
Thank you my dear 🙂 I hope you and your husband enjoy! And yes, Cyrus would have loved the attention 🙂
Oh.My.Gawd. I want to slap myself silly for having never heard of Çilbir before! Why!?!?!? Why have I never had this? Those eggs in that creamy yogurt sauce??? I need this. Like immediately. And daily. Kathleen, this looks epically delicious and you can bet your ‘you know what’ I’m going to be making this soon. As in later today! Cheers girl and thanks so much for sharing!
Wow… blushing 🙂 Thanks so much for your extraordinarily kind words! I’m pretty sure you’re going to love it as much as I do 🙂
Kristen @ The Endless Meal says
I don’t know how I’ve lived my whole life without hearing about Çilbir. It looks ridiculously good! My guy and I usually make a big breakfast on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays (our days off) so I’ll be trying this out this week for sure. Thanks for the recipe!
That’s great! Thanks, Kristen! I hope you enjoy the dish, as well as your days off 🙂
This looks amazing and cute dog!! Pinning 🙂
Thank you my dear 🙂
dedy oktavianus pardede says
wow, awesome idea…
this yogurt poached egg is totally worth to try recipe!!!
Thanks – I’m so glad you like the recipe! I hope you enjoy 🙂
Annie @ ciaochowbambina says
Okay…yes, my eyes are dancing…right off my face! Your pictures are stunning and this dish sounds delicious! I love the story of Cyrus! What a beautiful dog! Thanks for sharing, Kathleen! Pinned!
Thanks so much, Annie! 🙂
Helen @ Scrummy Lane says
That is such a sweet story about your dog, Kathleen! That’s just fascinating that the Turkish people prize that breed of dog so much … who would have thought it??
I have NEVER seen anything like this dish before but Greek yoghurt is my best friend and I love it in any kind of savoury dish. I’m intrigued about what it would taste like with the eggs, too. Think I might have to try this to find out!
Thanks, Helen. He was definitely a rock star at the festival 😉
Knowing your tastes, I am certain you’ll love this dish! Give it a try and let me know what you think 🙂
I’m not a food blogger, but having been reading some of your’s and Nagi’s blogs, along with others. This looks so good, I can’t wait to try it. I will have to go solo, my hubby doesn’t care for poached eggs, unless I could get them really, really well done! But I know I will love this and I love Cyrus! He is gorgeous.
Hi Cathy! Thanks so much for stopping by and I’m so glad you enjoy reading our blogs! Isn’t Nagi just the best?!
If your hubby doesn’t like poached eggs, that just means more for you 😉 Give him a taste of the toasted bread dipped in the spiced butter and yogurt… I’m sure he’ll love it 😉
Well, I made my version of this this morning….woke up hungry it it popped in my head. I had no crusty bread, but muffins. I put regular olive oil on one and one had an olive oil infused with Baklouti pepper. That was soooo good. It had a little kick, but not too hot. I may be in the Caribbean, but I still have to watch out for the heat factor for many people. I will find a way to use this often with other dishes, the flavor is fantastic!
Hi Cathy! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the dish! The olive oil infused with Baklouti pepper sounds incredible! I haven’t found any of those pepper around here, but it sure would be worth finding an alternative so I can give it a try!
It is a S. African pepper. I got the olive oil feom a company called Lovin Olive and they have so many flavors of olive oil and balsamic vinagrets. There is another blod I’ve been reading and she just mentioned another brand and had a give away, This will be my new eggs benedict-:)
Wow! What an amazing site, I’m lovin’ Lovin’ Olive! Thanks for the recommendation – this is great!
Btw, making the Çilbir into an eggs benedict sounds like a fantastic idea – I’ll have to give that a try 🙂
I’ve never heard of Cilbir, but it looks wonderful. Cyrus is adorable. I can see why he would’ve been a hit at the festival. 🙂
Thanks! 🙂 Cyrus was always a trip to walk. Even on regular outings, it was like walking around with a minor celebrity – everyone always wanted to say hello 🙂
Cyrus was such a gorgeous dog! And I love this dish, and of course I’ve had it before, because it is popular in Bulgaria, too! (because we are neighbors with Turkey) Need to make these eggs very soon, although my husband is an expert with them. Love the pictures 🙂
Thanks so much, Mira! I had a feeling you may have had this before 😉 Is it made the same way in Bulgaria?
It is made the exact same way, minus the tahini 🙂 Craving these right now, making them for lunch 🙂
Actually, Turkish Çilbir doesn’t use tahini either…that was an addition of mine;) Thanks for the info Mira! I love learning something new 🙂
PS LOVE the new blog design…. 😉
Thanks, Nagi! I’m putting to use all of your awesome tips on Food Blogger Central 🙂
Oooh….I can’t get past the Cyrus story!! OMG he is gorgeous. And all that attention!! I’m grinning away at a fool at the thought.
As well as at the recipe. You ROCK. Seriously. I find so much inspiration from you. I love this idea. (And I bought a 2 kg tub of yoghurt because it was on special – I can’t resist bargains – so between this and lebneh, I’ll be on yoghurt overload this week!)
Ha! Yeah, he was a giant goof ball.
Thanks so much! The feeling of inspiration is mutual – total foodie crush 😉 Don’t you just love bargains at the grocery store?! I’ve bought a 5 pound bag of scallions because it was $1! Talk about overload!
Rachel (Rachel's Kitchen NZ) says
Oh, I am fascinated by this dish – Kathleen and look forward to trying it. Cyrus is adorable:-)
Thanks, Rachel! I hope you give it a try – it really is delicious 🙂
Derek @ Dad With A Pan says
OMG everything about this dish looks so good. I think i scrolled up to look at the photos again like 10 times before i could finish this comment!
Aww… thanks, Derek! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post 🙂
Girl and the Kitchen says
#1… Cyrus is gorgeous!!! What a beautiful and kind looking dog! Love big dogs 🙂 And this DISH! I do not care what you call it! But it looks the way eggs should look!!! Perfectly orange and bright white! I am a bit hesitant to combine eggs with yogurt…but I trust you 🙂
Thanks, Mila! I love big dogs too, and Cyrus was a good boy 🙂 I know at first, yogurt and eggs may sound like a strange combo – but trust me, it totally works! It’s a garlic yogurt, kind of like a tzatziki base so it really compliments the rich butter and eggs. I hope you give it a try – I know you’ll love it! 🙂
Girl and the Kitchen says
I may have to try it one of these Sunday’s 🙂
The fact that this is not in my mouth right now qualifies as torture. Slow, delicious torture.
Ha! You’re cracking me up, Christine! Thanks so much 🙂
I would love to try Çilbir, even though I don’t think I can afford the calories, when I get back to where I have a kitchen (we’re at the beach and my cooking apparatus is limited to microwave, electric skillet, and blender). The Turkish food I’ve had has been wonderful, and I’m sure this is no exception.
Isn’t Turkish food just wonderful!? If you don’t want to use butter, you could probably infuse the spices with some olive oil. I hope you’re having a wonderful time at the beach, Susan!
What a gorgeous photo! I am eating breakfast right now, but I’d much rather have a plate of this! Looks yummy!
Thanks, Suzanne! 🙂
Bam's Kitchen says
Poached eggs in a delightful yogurt sauce complete with bread dippers, what is not to like!! So delicious, and my idea of the perfect breakfast comfort food. I think your dog may be on to something, we should check out more history to find out what other delicious recipes are from this region. Pinned and shared, of course!
Thanks, my dear! I have the same sentiments 🙂 Having Cyrus was like having a passport into Turkey – I learned so much about Turkish cuisine through him.
I have not tried cilbur, but I really want to try this recipe. Stunning and I love the flavors.
Thanks, Janette! I hope you give it go! It looks and sounds exotic, but you probably already have all or at least most of the ingredients already! 🙂
This looks so good! I had never heard of this until now. Thanks for teaching me something new!
Thanks, Shelby! I’m so glad that I could share something new with you 🙂 I hope you give it a try, it’s super tasty!
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says
I’d follow that dog around too and I don’t know much about Turks or their food. 🙂 This dish is outstanding and so beautifully photographed.
Thanks so much for your kind words, Maureen! Ha! Yes, Cyrus could certainly draw a crowd 🙂
Kathleen, oh my goodness. . love the Turkish history and this dish!!!! OH MY GAWD, the poached eggs are perfection and the yogurt sauce looks sooooo good!!
Thanks, Alice! The food is truly as rich as the history 🙂
Yum, this looks so delicious! I will have to try it. And your dog Cyrus is beautiful! I didn’t know that this breed was so highly valued by the Turkish people. It must have been a nice surprise to see your dog treated as a Superstar. 🙂
Thanks, Neil! It certainly was a trip walking around with Cyrus, never experienced anything like that before! 🙂
Marissa (@pinchandswirl) says
This dish looks rich and wonderful! And what a beautiful dog!
Thanks, Marissa! Cyrus was a sweetie 🙂
Thao @ In Good Flavor says
Wow! This is gorgeous, Kathleen! The color is stunning. I’d love to mop this whole plate up with a big hunk of crusty bread.
I like the way you think! 😉