• Turtle beans with chipotle creamed corn (Murdoch Books / Ben Dearnley)Source: Murdoch Books / Ben Dearnley

Both of these recipes are traditional Mesoamerican dishes. They work perfectly together but also stand alone in their own right.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (13 votes)

I like to add crème fraîche, or the avocado, sunflower and tomatillo salsa that you will find in my book, and masses of chopped coriander to this.


  • 280 g (10 oz) dried black turtle beans (this will yield about 600 g/1 lb 5 oz cooked beans)
  • filtered water, to cover
  • 5 cm (2 in) piece kombu, rinsed, or a small pinch bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 onions, finely diced
  • a sprig of dried oregano, leaves only
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz/1⅔ cup) stock
  • a bunch flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, leaves picked, finely sliced
  • a large bunch coriander (cilantro), stems finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped
  • fish sauce or salt, to taste (see Note)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • black pepper

Chipotle creamed corn

  • 1–2 dried chipotle chillies
  • 2 sweetcorn cobs, husks removed and kernels cut (see Note)
  • a bunch coriander (cilantro), roots scraped, stems and roots chopped and leaves picked
  • coarse sea salt, to taste
  • 3 tbsp ghee or olive oil
  • 1 head garlic, roasted and peeled
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 185 g (6½ oz/1 cup) crème fraîche or kefir cream

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Soaking time: Overnight

The night before, soak the beans in tepid filtered water. When ready to cook, drain the beans, rinse them well and place in a large saucepan and cover with cold filtered water. Place the saucepan of beans over a high heat and bring to a fast rolling boil, uncovered, skimming the scum from the surface as it rises. Once the scum has stopped resurfacing, add the kombu. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the beans are soft. Turn off the heat, and leave the beans to sit in the pan until ready for use.

Cook the onions in the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, until they begin to brown. Stir in the oregano leaves, and cook for 2 minutes then add the sweet paprika, drained beans (remove the kombu first) and stock of your choice. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for 30–40 minutes while you prepare the creamed corn.

Once the beans are completely tender, add the chopped herbs and season with fish sauce, or sea salt, lime juice and some black pepper, to taste. Stir gently to combine then serve.

Heat a frying pan over a high heat and toast the chillies all over, until softened. Remove the chillies to a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to just cover. Soak for 10 minutes. Put the pan used for the chillies back over medium–high heat and, once very hot, add the sweetcorn, coriander roots and stems and toast them quickly, stirring so they do not burn, until the kernels have brown spots on them. Put one-third of this toasted mixture in a food processor or blender and blitz to a creamy consistency. Stir in the remaining mixture, and season well with salt.

Drain the chillies, add their soaking liquid to the beans, then remove the stems. For a milder taste, scrape out the seeds. Pound the chillies to a paste using a mortar and pestle. Taste for heat and use accordingly. Store any remaining chilli paste in an airtight container for later use.

Combine the chilli paste with the roasted garlic, lime juice and crème fraîche. Add the toasted corn mixture, stir well and use as is, or store in an airtight glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.



· Not all fish sauce is naturally fermented. Look for one that lists fish and salt as its only ingredients. It should smell clean, not overly ‘fishy’. I like the Vietnamese brand Red Boat 40°N best.

To remove the corn kernels from the cobs, nestle the blade of a small sharp knife between a row of kernels and push the kernels off in a row, moving the knife away from your body. Repeat all the way down each row and once a single row has been removed, use your thumb to nudge the kernels sideways off the cob. Taking the time to do this will ensure you have beautiful intact kernels that retain more of their nutrients. 


Recipe from Ferment by Holly Davis (Murdoch Books, hb, $45.00). Photography by Ben Dearnley. Read more from Holly about the joy of fermenting here.