Skip to content

Turkish poached eggs

January 26, 2011

Turkish poached eggs or cilbir

When I’m tired, really hungry or suffering from a bit of a late night, I crave a poached egg on toast.  The pleasure of cutting into the soft centre and letting the yolk spill over the crunchy bread (brown with butter) is sublime in my book.  Now, I’m a big fan of Lakeland, the UK kitchenware suppliers, as you probably know, but I cannot fathom why one of their best sellers is an egg poaching pod.  What makes putting an egg in a pod less arduous than putting it in a pan? Poaching an egg is so simple.  And it’s not really a poached egg this way is it? – more like coddled.  Anyway – if you are a fan of these pods I’d love to hear from you – but in the meantime back to breakfast.

I’m in Turkish food mode all of a sudden and can’t think why I haven’t really explored it before.  Since my virtual culinary tour with Joan of Foodalogue my eyes have been opened to a great treasure of new recipes, Çılbır (pronounced “chilber”) being one of them a.ka. Turkish poached eggs.

The slightly salty yoghurt mixed with the soft egg is ….I’m searching for the right superlative here…heavenly (it’ll have to do).  I used Greek-style yoghurt which added a fabulous creaminess but ordinary would do.  I’ve also seen versions with dried mint (authentic from Almost Turkish) and sage (from Eat Like a Girl – probably not as authentic but still excellent).  I took my inspiration from Claudia Roden but scaled it down from a serving of six eggs to one.  It’s a luxurious breakfast and I do urge you to try it.  I mopped up the velvety mixture on the plate with my usual brown toast but Arabic bread would do very well.

See what Joan of Foodalogue got up to in Turkey as well as everyone else on the virtual culinary tour.  Next stop is Japan – hope you can join me.

Turkish Poached Eggs with Yogurt (Cilbir)
(adapted from A New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden)

1 egg
a dash of vinegar
About 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt
A knob of butter – about thumb-size
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Use fresh eggs and poach them in the usual way. Bring a medium sized pan of water and the vinegar to the boil and then reduce the heat so the water just shivers.  Break the egg onto a plate and slide into the pan of water. Remove the pan from the heat and leave it, covered, for 4 minutes or just leave on a very low heat until the egg is set to your liking.  The water must not boil or the whites will break up.   Remove the egg with a perforated spoon. Do not attempt to poach more than 2 eggs at a time.
Arrange the poached egg on a warm serving dish or plate.
Beat the yogurt with salt and spoon it over the egg. Melt the butter and stir in the paprika. Dribble over the yogurt and serve.

Stick your knife into the centre and watch the golden yolk meld deliciously with the yoghurt.  Bet you close your eyes in bliss as you eat it.

  1. January 26, 2011 12:29 pm

    Free range eggs in Dubai? Where? I need to tell my mum! I love eggs in all forms but poaching them is my favorite. So I am really liking the yogurt mix with this! Wonder how it would taste with a tahini yogurt mix I made for falafels — hmmmnn!

    • January 26, 2011 12:42 pm

      Hi Meeta, Since the organic farm shop closed you can only get free range eggs in the supermarkets and they are air-freighted. So higher prices and a dilemma of happy hens vs food miles. There are a selection of French ones (free-range, free-range and organic) in Spinneys but the eggs are tiny. Organic Foods and Cafe do German eggs and they are pretty good (as you’d expect!) but you have to make a special journey there. I buy British free-range, organic from Choitrams and try not to wince at the till!
      As for the tahini yoghurt, sounds very interesting. With the yoghurt and the egg together the flavours are very balanced – however in Turkey they often add garlic to this so why not sesame! Thanks for dropping by.

  2. January 26, 2011 12:30 pm

    What an unusual combination. I will say that nothing beats a poached egg – especially with soft runny centres. Yummy!

  3. January 26, 2011 12:39 pm

    A beautiful poached egg Sally. I’d be happy with it breakfast, lunch or dinner.

  4. January 26, 2011 12:39 pm

    Even though as you know I can’t take runny eggs but husband loves them. So I do know the appeal of this. By the way now I ‘m a big fan of Turkish yogurt! I don’t know what it is, but I loved the fresh tangy creamy Turkish yogurt on my 10 day stay in Turkey and had it almost everyday. I dedicated a full post on Turkish inspired yogurt breakfast, thts how much I love it! And Kaymak? Oh Kaymak…that sinful cream with honey….

  5. January 26, 2011 1:01 pm

    What an unusual way to serve poached eggs – lovely!
    🙂 Mandy

  6. January 26, 2011 1:09 pm

    Nice! Will try this fantastic idea! It is perfectly low carb. We have eggs for breakfast most days and I LOOOVE me some brown butter sauce this way it has a kick! Plus I am looking for new ways to incorporate probiotics and yogurt with live culture on this does the trick!

    • January 26, 2011 1:59 pm

      I have to have my carbs in the form of toast – but yes, you are right, it’s pretty healthy. Great excuse to have it again!

  7. January 26, 2011 1:25 pm

    Wow, did you take that photo with the new cam? Your photo quality has skyrocketed, this is amazing, I love it! Such a perfectly composed and thought out picture (love the angles and curves…really awesome)

    This really made me remember the wonderful breakfast I’d had in Turkey when I was there a few years ago…eggs, with some sort of cheese and honey. It was really divine. Never tried the yogurt thing, but it looks so good that I’m just gonna have to give it a go on a lazy Friday morning!

    • January 26, 2011 1:57 pm

      Thanks Arva. Kulsum, in the comment below mentions kaymak – which is a sort of clotted cream made of buffalo milk eaten for breakfast with honey. I have GOT to go to Turkey!

  8. Nicola Philbin permalink
    January 26, 2011 1:31 pm

    Ummmm I’m not a big egg fan but I’m trying this for lunch today!!!

  9. January 26, 2011 1:41 pm

    This isn’t just Turkish, it’s a traditional Bulgarian dish too. We call it eggs “Panagurski” at the name of a small Bulgarian town. But we add a lot of garlic in the yoghurt. And I love it with a little bit of crushed white brine cheese (something like feta) just beneath the egg – thus it gets slightly warm and gooey. mmm… We haven’t done it for a long time, now you made me crave for it. Here’s what we’ll have for dinner 🙂

    • January 26, 2011 2:01 pm

      How interesting Silvia – there are so many cross-cultural influences in Turkish food. My Polish grandmother ate garlic for breakfast and she was so healthy – I might reserve this version for the weekend though!

      • January 26, 2011 3:54 pm

        I couldn’t wait till dinner and I’m making these now for lunch. I’m just waiting the water to boil. You made me really crave for these eggs!

  10. Anna permalink
    January 26, 2011 3:50 pm

    You’ve sold it to me – I’m going right now to make a poached egg!

  11. January 26, 2011 5:01 pm

    looks delicious, and much healthier than the fried egg sandwich I have just had *oops!*

    • January 27, 2011 11:32 am

      Love these too – on white bread with butter!

  12. January 26, 2011 5:02 pm

    I have to admit that I have never poached an egg. I’m too scared. However, this looks so …heavenly, I think I’ll have to face my fear.

  13. January 26, 2011 5:26 pm

    Wonderful looking and I like your poaching tips.

  14. January 26, 2011 5:49 pm

    Oh excellent! I’ve been looking for more low-carb breakfast recipes. Will have to try this one soon.

  15. January 26, 2011 10:53 pm

    mm mmm I’d make this right now for brunch if I weren’t already full!

  16. January 27, 2011 12:28 am

    Love, love, love, love, love. I like the saltiness of the yogurt, the soft pillowness of the eggs and the paprika on top. Yum again

  17. January 27, 2011 2:37 am

    Oh gosh, now this sounds fantastic. It has never in my life occurred to me to add yogurt to eggs. Never. But I love yogurt, especially Greek-style, and I love eggs…so now- I think I know what I’m making for breakfast in the morning. Thank you!

  18. January 27, 2011 3:21 am

    I love poached eggs, who would’ve thought, yogurt, salt, paprika and butter make it Turkish?!

  19. January 27, 2011 10:52 am

    Oh my Sally!

    I work most of the weekend but this will be on the menu for brunch on Sunday!!!

    A few thin slices of fried canadian bacon on the side….perfection!

  20. January 27, 2011 5:11 pm

    We poach alike. I have a friend who is going will be apartment sitting while I am away on vacation…that is when this snow storm subsides. It’s already taken two days away from me being in sunny Puerto Rico drinking my Pina Coladas by the pool…oh! to what I was about to say is that I showed her your post and now I am on my way to the kitchen to make it for her as she is expecting and cannot say no to the baby.

    I also wanted to thank you for your support.

  21. January 27, 2011 7:51 pm

    Thanks for the lovely comment on my gingerbread! I can’t believe my awful picture, with its dull wintry light, caught your eye.

    I am so trying my next eggs this way by the way.

  22. February 4, 2011 6:23 pm

    I’ve made a few Turkish meals but have yet to try this one. It was already on my hit-list and I love how you scaled this to feed 1. 🙂 Perfect!

    • February 5, 2011 8:32 am

      I’m always happy to cook for myself. I cook to eat!

  23. February 9, 2011 10:00 am

    I’ve seen this once or twice before in the blogosphere, and it has always made me drool. Yours is no exception! =D


  1. Tweets that mention Turkish poached eggs « My Custard Pie --
  2. A Culinary Tour Around the World • Turkey Round-Up | FOODalogue
  3. Changing seasons of the farmer’s market « My Custard Pie

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: