Cilbir – Turkish Breakfast with Yoghurt, Poached Egg and Chilli Butter

cilbir - turkish breakfast

My latest chef crush has to be Yotam Ottolenghi. He isn’t just a good chef who celebrates food but also comes across as someone who’s warm and friendly. I discovered him on Twitter, actually. His food pictures always make me happy. He gives a vibrant new life to vegetables and heroes them in most of his dishes. I happened to stalk his recipes on The Guardian, where he’s a regular contributor, and found that all his recipes are quite simple and easy. And I stumbled on one breakfast recipe that caught my attention.

cilbir - turkish breakfast

Cilbir. It looked like a cloud with toppings on a plate. What drew me even more was the chilli butter. So, I thought I’d give it a shot. And I did. It was simply delicious. Chilli butter is a revelation and of course, me being me, I added zaatar and olive oil too. A couple of crisp toasts to scoop it all up with and I was in breakfast heaven. At first yoghurt, egg and butter all seems quite off but they do taste amazing together.


1 serving

Prep time & cooking time:

20 mins give or take. I really wasn’t keeping track.


Strained yoghurt – 1/2 cup (strain a 400 ml yoghurt tub or homemade yoghurt in a sieve or muslin cloth overnight)

Egg – 1

Butter – 1 tsp + 2 tsp

Chilli powder – 1/4 – 1/2 tsp

Milk powder – 1 tbsp

Toast – 2

Salt to taste


Strain yoghurt overnight and keep aside while you get on with the rest of the recipe.

If you can poach an egg perfectly, great. If you can’t, then crack an egg into a ladle, fill a pot of water high enough to cover the ladle once it is in the pot. Bring it to a boil. Lower the ladle into the simmering water and leave it there. Let the egg stay in the ladle and cook for 3-4 mins. Check by gently touching the middle of the egg. If it jiggles lightly then you can take it out. You want the yolk to be runny.

In the meanwhile, spread the yoghurt on a plate or in a bowl. Scoop the egg out of the ladle carefully, using a spoon and place it on the yoghurt.

Now, take a clean nonstick pan. Even a tadka pan will do. Add 1 tsp butter. Let it melt.

Add the chilli powder and mix well.

Take it off the heat and pour it over the yoghurt and egg.

Wipe the pan clean and now add the milk powder and saute on low heat.

Add the remaining 1 tsp butter and mix together till you have toasted crumbs.

Sprinkle the crumbs on the yoghurt and egg.

Add a pinch of salt on the dish and you’re done!

I had a few roasted cherry tomatoes and added zaatar as well. But it’s completely optional.

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