One of my favorite breakfast dishes of all time is çılbır—known in English simply as “Turkish eggs”. The first time I had this was not anywhere in Turkey, but in London, and I was in awe over how bold it was to combine three such indulgent things: creamy garlicky yogurt, runny poached eggs, spicy melted butter. I love all of those things individually, but together they were something else entirely—unapologetically, mindblowingly good.
When I started working with Spice Tribe, one of the products I was most excited to receive was their Maras Chile Flakes, which are the same pepper variety but sourced right from Turkey. I knew I had to use it in some sort of riff on Turkish eggs.
To be clear, çılbır does not need riffing. Its beauty comes from its simplicity, so I love that it’s a dish born from what people always had on hand. But I wanted to show off Spice Tribe’s Maras Chile Flakes while contributing some ideas that went beyond the basic recipes that were already out there, and in a way that continued to celebrate the beauty of simple ingredients without a whole lot of effort.
Step 1 -
Mix together yogurt and garlic. Set aside to allow flavors to incorporate.
Step 2 -
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high until shimmering. Carefully add the tomatoes and peppers in one layer and season with salt. Reduce the heat to medium if the oil starts to smoke, but leave the tomatoes and peppers to char on one side before flipping over. (Note: As the tomatoes start to burst, there will be some oil splatter.) Cook the tomatoes and peppers until lightly charred on two sides, about 5–7 minutes total.
Step 3 -
Move the tomatoes and peppers gently to one side of the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the butter to the other side. As the butter starts to bubble along the edges, add the Maras chile flakes and cumin seeds. Stir the spices into the pool of melted butter and continue to cook until the butter starts to foam. Fold all the contents of the pan together.
Step 4 -
Swirl the yogurt mixture onto the bottom of the serving dish(s), creating channels for the melted butter to flow. Tuck the poached eggs into the yogurt, spoon on the tomatoes and peppers, then pour the spiced melted butter over everything. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired. Serve with bread to scoop everything up.
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