Çılbır – Poached eggs in garlicky yogurt sauce

Çılbır is typically enjoyed as a hot mezze but I admit I’ve throughly enjoyed it as lunch or a light supper as well. This is the perfect remedy for all your wistful complaining about cooking with only pantry staples. The addictive and easy combination of flavours will certainly confound and delight you. While you might find it a bit fiddly to poach eggs, I assure you you’ll find this culinary exercise immensely rewarding.

What you will need – (for 2 servings)
  1. Eggs – 4 large
  2. Greek Yogurt – 200 grams
  3. Dill leaves – finely chopped, 2-3 heaping tablespoons
    (Sub with fresh parsley or coriander)
  4. Butter – 40 grams
  5. Garlic – 1 large clove, grated
  6. Aleppo pepper flakes – 2 teaspoons (sub with Kashmiri chillis)
    (highly recommend you get some Aleppo flakes when the lockdown is lifted)
  7. Salt and pepper to taste
Method –
  • For the yogurt sauce –
    Into a bowl, add greek yogurt, garlic, dill, salt and pepper. Whisk this mix for 5 mins to make it light and fluffy. ⁣⁣⁣Set aside.
  • For the butter sauce –
    Melt butter gently in a small pan until it is just beginning to turn a hazelnutty brown, but make sure it’s not actually burning. You’ll notice a nutty smell emanating from the butter as well. Turn the heat off, then add a splash of olive oil and chilli flakes; it will foam up fierily. Set aside and let it become a beautiful red-orange colour. ⁣⁣⁣

    If using Kashmiri Chillis, dry roast them on a pan for 2 mins, let them rest for a few minutes, remove seeds and crush into flakes. The sweet heat and distinct lemoniness of Aleppo pepper is not easy to replicate, so get your hands on some when you can.
  • To poach the eggs –
    Crack an egg into a small bowl and set aside.
    Boil water in a saucepan, reduce heat to a simmer and use a spoon to create a whirlpool.
    You’re looking for a gentle whirlpool, not a violent hurricane.
    Gently slide egg into the water and poach for 3-4 mins.
    Remove with a slotted spoon onto a kitchen towel to let the excess water drain.⁣⁣⁣
    (Adding white vinegar to water helps coagulate the egg whites faster, I don’t do this often but I know many people who swear by it)
  • Finally, when serving, put some yogurt sauce in a bowl, place the poached eggs on top (two per person), drizzle them with the butter sauce and sprinkle chopped herbs. Serve with some lightly toasted crusty bread.

Storage notes –

It’s advisable to make all the three components just before eating. I’m afraid none of them store well.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram and use #theslowkitchen on your posts!

Homemade Energy Bars

If you’re a snacker like me, it can be really tempting to reach for a packaged sweet or savoury snack for some mid-meal sustenance. We all crave a little something every now and then but it is often the most overlooked part of meal prepping and planning.

Snacks, most often, are packaged in wasteful plastic. The shiny interiors of your favourite snack bar or potato crisps is made my fusing aluminium and plastic together. This extremely thin fusion is hard to recycle because to separate them increases the cost multifold. When landfilled or incinerated, these bags pollute the environment and pose health risks to humans as well as wildlife. Food packaging is also the main source of the plastic pollution, often washes up on shores, clogs the ocean and is expected to exceed the weight of all fish by 2050 if we maintain the current rates.

Energy bars are extremely simple and easy to make at home. It’s no secret that knowing what goes into your food, especially if you cook it yourself, is a good step towards a balanced, healthy diet. And just because you make them at home doesn’t mean you have to miss out on interesting and fun options.

Fill your bellies, not garbage bins. Who’s with me?

What you will need –
  1. Old fashioned/Rolled oats – 3 cups
  2. Roasted almonds – 2 cups (roughly chopped)
  3. Dates – 1 heaping cup (approx 200 gms, use soft and fleshy varieties like medjool or deglet noor)
  4. Honey – 1/2 cup (sub with maple syrup/liquid jaggery to keep it vegan)
  5. Peanut butter – 1/2 cup (creamy, unsweetened)
  6. Salt – a generous pinch
  7. Seeds of choice – 6 teaspoons (optional)
  8. Dried fruit of choice – 2 tablespoons (optional)

Ideas for customisation –

Chocolate chips, vanilla, cinnamon, coffee, apple sauce, any kind of seeds, any kind of dried fruit- raisins, cranberries, apricot, etcetera

Method –
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Add nuts and oats to a baking tray and roast until slightly golden brown, about 15-20 mins.
  2. Add dates to a food processor and process till you’re left with a doughy ball. (This should take only a few seconds).
    Do not add any water to the dates. A syrupy consistency will lead to a not-so-great taste. Ask me how I know.
  3. Add all ingredients except the date paste to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  4. Add date paste to the mixing bowl a little at a time. Use a spatula to break it up and evenly disperse throughout the mix. Repeat till all date paste is added.
  5. Grease a 12×12-inch baking dish (or any flat bottomed dish) with a little oil. Transfer the mix to baking dish and roughly flatten with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
  6. Press down to make it uniformly flat. I like to use a sheet parchment paper and a flat bottomed bowl to really pack the bars, cause nobody likes a crumbly, fall apart energy bar.
  7. Pop the dish in the fridge to firm up for 30-45 minutes.
  8. Remove dish from the fridge and chop into 12 even bars.

Storage notes :

Put a parchment paper under each bar (yes, reuse the sheet you used before by cutting it into smaller pieces), stack the bars in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to a month. (But seriously, they’ll be devoured way before that)

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram and use #theslowkitchen on your posts!

Savoury Crêpes

Though my favourite type of delicate crêpe is piled high with fresh fruit, they are not just for sweet indulgences. They can be filled with the cheesiest and meatiest concoctions of your choice.

The great thing about these crêpes is that you can just throw all of the ingredients into a blender to quickly whip up the batter. I hope you give these oat crêpes a try and enjoy them as much as I do!

What you will need –
  1. Rolled/Old fashioned Oats – 1 cup
  2. Sorghum (jowar) flour – 1/2 cup
    (sub with sweet rice flour for gluten-free and whole wheat/maida for gluten full options)
  3. Light olive oil – 3 tablespoons, plus more for the pan
  4. Large egg or Flaxseed egg – 1
    (For vegan egg, mix 1 tablespoon flaxseed powder mixed with 2.5 tablespoons water)
  5. Milk of choice – 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cup, start with lesser amount and add more as needed
  6. Salt – 1/4 teaspoon or to taste

For sweet crêpes add 2 tablespoons of sugar, honey or maple syrup and reduce the salt to just a pinch.

Ideas for filling –

  • Savoury – Sautéed mushrooms, wilted spinach, grated cheddar, goat cheese, eggs, ham, bacon, shrimp, bean sprouts, tomato, basil, kale, etcetera.
  • Sweet – sugar and lime, banana and chocolate, strawberries and chocolate, pumpkin, apple cinnamon, cream cheese and berries, caramel, etcetera.
Method –
  1. Place the oats, sorghum flour, oil, egg, salt and 1 1/4 cup milk (and sweetener if you’re making sweet crepes) into the blender jar and blend until creamy. Batter should be runny unlike pancake batter. Add more milk if needed.
  2. Cover and let the batter chill in the fridge while you prep other ingredients.
  3. Heat a 9-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once your pan is hot enough to make water droplets “dance” across the surface, lightly grease it with oil and pour 1/3 or 1/4 cup batter.
  4. Hold the pan with 1 hand and pour the batter in with the other. Swirl the pan in a circular motion while pouring so that the batter covers the pan thinly and evenly. Pour off any excess batter. Try not to leave any holes.
    (After the first few crêpes you will know exactly how much batter your pan will hold)
  5. Cook on medium-high heat until the edges turn brown, about 40 seconds to 1 minute and then carefully flip using a small spatula.
    The second side will not be as evenly browned as the first side.
    (If they break while flipping, they’re either too thin or need to cook a little bit longer.)
  6. Remove crêpe to a cooling rack and continue making them with remaining batter, adjusting the heat as needed. This recipe makes about 6-9 crêpes, depending on how large you make them.

To make the savoury version as shown in the picture above –

Prepare the following items while crêpe batter chills in the fridge:

  • Wilt spinach with a little garlic and olive oil in a pan.
  • Sautée mushrooms with salt, pepper and paprika
  • Grate cheese of your choice
  • Break an egg in a small bowl

Pour crêpe batter in a pan and follow instructions as above. After flipping, quickly add all the filling as desired and carefully drop the egg in the centre. Fold the edges to make a parcel. Lower the heat and let the egg cook for 1-2 mins. Remove and serve immediately.

Storage notes :

Let each crêpe cool to avoid sticking, place in a container and store in the fridge. Crêpes can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for several weeks. Reheat uncovered in a low oven (120°C) for 15 minutes or until warm. Fill with your favourite filling.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram and use #theslowkitchen on your posts!