Çılbır (pronounced “chilber”) is one of my all time favorite comfort dishes. The perfect harmony of eggs, yogurt, and paprika is simply delicious. It offers everything you’d expect from a comfort dish; it’s easy to make, very light, and yummy. For those reasons I wasn’t surprised when I came across it in Marianna Yerasimos’ 500 Hundred Years of Ottoman Cuisine; if çılbır made it to the palace kitchen, then there’s no need for discussion over how great it is. Peotry, military, architecture put aside, Ottomans were infamous for creating comfort for themselves in every possible environment and delicious food, which brings us back to my favorite comfort food: çılbır.
The recipe below is for 1, but you can easily make it for more people by adding more eggs, yogurt, and butter.
2 tbsp vinegar
5 cups of water (or more)
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tbsp butter
1 clove of garlic, minced (optional)
-Bring to boil water, vinegar, and salt in a medium size pot. When it starts boiling, turn it down to medium heat.
-Break eggs one at a time in a small bowl, and glide them, one by one, in to the very hot but not boiling water. (If the water is boiling vigorously when you pour the eggs, you cannot have a homogeneous cooking or keep the egg together) Do not cook more than 2 eggs at a time. If an egg starts going messy in water, try to pull it together with a spoon.
-Cook them for 3-4 minutes for medium soft yolk. For a hard yolk, you need to cook them at least for 5 minutes .
-Take them with slotted spoon on a plate.
-Pour yogurt on them. (If you want to have your çılbır “a la turque”, mix yogurt with 1 clove of minced garlic; you won’t beleive how poachhed eggs go well with garlicy yogurt)
-On a skillet heat butter. When it sizzles add paprika. Stir for half a minute or less (just don’t let it burn) and pour it on top of eggs and yogurt.
-Sprinkle mint flakes on top.
As I said before it is extremely easy to make çılbır; there are only a couple of points to be careful about: don’t put the eggs in boiling water; bring it to a boil and then let it calm down and do not break the eggs directly into the pot; instead break them in little bowl and let them glide.