The meatiness of these beans is enough to convert even the most dedicated carnivore to vegetarianism. While smoky chipotle chilli does make a difference to the flavour, you can just as easily use smoked sweet paprika as a handy alternative.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (52 votes)


  • 600 g (3 cups) dried black turtle beans (see Note)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2–3 tsp ground chipotle chilli (see Note)
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • steamed rice, cucumber and tomato salad, Greek-style yoghurt, to serve

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

Soak beans in water overnight.

Drain and rinse the beans. Heat oil in a large, heavy-based pan over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic for 5 minutes or until soft and starting to brown. Reduce heat to low, add the spices, muddle them around in the pan a bit with a wooden spoon and cook for a further minute or until fragrant. Add coriander stems with the roots attached, then add beans and 1 litre water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally and adding extra water if necessary, for 1½ hours or until beans are tender. Make sure you test at least three beans, as sometimes one can be soft but the rest are not ready. (The longer these beans cook, the creamier they become. You can also cook them in a low oven for about 4 hours).

Season with salt and pepper, and serve with rice, cucumber and tomato salad, a big dollop of yoghurt and coriander leaves.


• Chipotle chilli is available from Herbie’s Spices and Monterey Mexican Foods.
• Dried black turtle beans are available from Asian food shops and specialist food shops.



Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Charlotte Bell.


As seen in Feast magazine, November 2011, Issue 3.