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!

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