This recipe comes from Özlem Warren's book Sebze: Vegetarian Recipes from My Turkish Kitchen (£28, Hardie Grant). Photography: Sam A Harris. Recipes are sent by the publisher and not retested by us.

Özlem says: "This is one of my favourite ways to enjoy eggs. It was part of Ottoman palace banquets and a favourite of Mehmed the Conqueror. At home, çılbır is generally enjoyed as a hot meze. I also like serving it as part of a leisurely weekend breakfast, lunch or a light midweek supper – it’s a versatile dish."

This is a recipe that Özlem shared as part of her guide to Turkish food. Check it out to learn more about the complex flavours of this Middle Eastern country, including fistikli un kurabiyesi (pistachio shortbread cookies) and occe (spring onion fritters). Then discover our Turkish recipes.

Çılbır (Turkish-style poached eggs in garlicky yogurt) recipe


  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 400g strained natural yogurt
  • 2 tbsp apple cider, grape or white wine vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp pul biber or red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dill or parsley, finely chopped
  • flatbreads or crusty bread, to serve


  • STEP 1

    Prepare the garlicky yogurt about 30 mins before poaching the eggs, to bring to room temperature. Finely chop the garlic and sprinkle over a pinch of salt. Using the flat side of the knife, gently squash the garlic to turn it into a fine paste. In a small bowl, beat the yogurt with the garlic, then spoon onto two serving plates to provide a nest for the poached egg.

  • STEP 2

    Fill a small pan with hot water, add a pinch of salt and the vinegar (this will help to seal the egg whites) and bring to the boil. Stir the water to create a whirlpool and crack in the first egg.

  • STEP 3

    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 mins so that the yolk remains soft.

  • STEP 4

    While the eggs are poaching, pour the olive oil into a small pan over a low-medium heat and stir in the
    pul biber. Gently infuse for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.

  • STEP 5

    Lift the poached eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon and put them on a couple of sturdy paper towels to absorb any excess moisture, then gently lay them on the garlic yogurt. Drizzle the infused oil over the eggs and season with salt to taste. Scatter with chopped dill or parsley and serve immediately with bread, if you like.

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