Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Vaguely Turkish Greens

March 3, 2022 by General Administrator

This is based very loosely on a classic Turkish dish called çilbir, which consists of soft poached eggs topped with garlicky yoghurt and a butter sauce spiced with Aleppo pepper. I’ve also had the same pair of toppings on pasta. Here the garlic yoghurt and spicy butter are combined with fresh greens and served on a base of lemony rice with chickpeas. Having two sauces gives this quick and easy dish a luxurious feel.

Vaguely Turkish Greens, Serves 2


about 200ml full-fat yoghurt
1 clove of garlic, mashed to a paste with ½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika (I used the ‘sweet’ variety). If you have some Aleppo pepper (pul biber), use that instead.
450g spinach, chard, or other greens
about 1 cup of cooked brown rice
¾ of a tin of chickpeas (the tins that combine black and ordinary chickpeas look particularly nice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
zest and juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper


In a small bowl, combine the yoghurt and crushed garlic. Taste it: it should be salty and garlicky. Add a bit more salt if you like and set aside.

Put the butter and the smoked paprika in a small pan or microwave-safe jug and warm gently until the butter is melted. Set aside.

Wash the greens and put them in a large pan. Steam or boil until they are tender—about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the cooked rice, chickpeas and olive oil and warm the whole thing in a microwave or on the stove. Once it’s warm add the lemon zest and juice, and season to taste.

Drain the greens, and use a wooden spoon to press out as much water as you can. I also use a pair of kitchen scissors to snip the cooked greens into smaller units as they sit in the colander, but you don’t need to do this.

Now assemble the dish: divide the chickpea rice into two bowls. Top each with half the cooked, drained greens. Dollop half the garlic yoghurt on top of each. It looks nice if you make several discrete dollops, rather than just pouring it over the top—that way you can see the greens underneath. Now drizzle the melted paprika butter over the yoghurt, making a red criss-cross across the white yoghurt and green greens. Top with a final grind of black pepper and enjoy. A glass of white wine is a pleasant accompaniment.

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