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What Exactly Are Turkish Eggs And How Are They Served?

Aug 04, 2023

Eggs are one of the most iconic breakfast foods out there. You can hard boil them, scramble them, and enjoy them over easy — or you can use them to make dishes like French toast. One way that most people aren't aware that you can enjoy your eggs, however, is to turn them into Turkish eggs.

Turkish eggs are a type of poached egg dish that's served with yogurt and spices. Their Turkic name is çılbır, but if you don't speak Turkish, calling them Turkish eggs will do, as this is another common way of referring to this dish. As you can probably guess, these eggs hail from Turkey — although thanks to the internet, people all around the world now have the chance to enjoy them. Luxurious, creamy, tempered with spices and fresh herbs, this eggy breakfast is sure to become a favorite. Plus, it's so simple to make that — even on busy mornings — it can become your new go-to staple.

Turkish eggs aren't a modern dish by any means. According to popular lore, this egg dish goes back to the Ottoman Empire, when one of the main breakfast dishes served to sultans was poached eggs. Now, although poached eggs were likely enjoyed in Turkey for centuries, there is conflicting information about under which sultan the dish originated. Some say it was Mehmed II, the Conqueror, who insisted on poached eggs with onions. Others suggest it was the chefs of Abdülhamid II, who ruled from the 19th into the 20th century, who created this luxurious breakfast.

The dish consisted of a plate of yogurt topped with poached eggs and garlic and drizzled with a spicy butter sauce. Then, it was sprinkled with cilantro to add extra flavor and could be eaten with other Turkish breakfast staples like olives and pide bread. While the days of serving Turkish eggs at the sultan's palace are far behind us, this dish is making a comeback. Thanks to social media, people have begun sharing this dish and trying their hand at making it, even if they're not in Turkey.

If you want to jump on the social media train or just widen your horizons and enjoy food from a different culture, you can make Turkish eggs at home pretty easily. All you need is grated garlic, a cup of Greek yogurt, butter, chili flakes, paprika, and two eggs. You might want a few sprigs of cilantro (or dill or parsley) and some salt and pepper to add an extra pop of flavor to your meal.

Start by putting the yogurt in a bowl and adding the garlic and a dash of salt. Mix these together and pour them onto a plate. Now, melt the butter in a skillet on medium heat and add the paprika and chili. Let the mixture cook together until the butter is just melted. Set this aside and poach your eggs (you can also fry them if poaching proves to be too tricky).

Finish by topping the yogurt mix with your eggs and drizzling the butter over the dish. Sprinkle your fresh herbs on top and add salt and pepper to taste. Finally, grab some bread, dip it into the mix, and allow yourself to enjoy the luxury of this sultan's dish!