Chilli Con Quail Beans

© Markus Biedermann

Quail beans are one of the lesser-known bean species in our country. They are a well-known and traditional food, especially in some North and South American countries. The beans owe their German name to their appearance when dried: they are light beige to pink in colour and speckled red-brown. This pattern is reminiscent of the shell of quail eggs. When cooked, they develop a uniform light brown colour. Quail beans are also called pinto beans.

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 400 g quail beans (pinto beans), soaked overnight in cold water.
  • 60 g soy chunks
  • 300 ml bouillon, racy spiced
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp olive oil 
  • 3 jalapenos
  • 3 peppers
  • 1 fennel cone
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 400 g pelati cubes
  • 1 bunch chives, finely chopped
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne or Tabasco
  • Salt, pepper


  • 2 tbsp dry sesame seeds, toasted in a pan


  1. Weigh and prepare all ingredients.
  2. Soak the beans the night before. Bring the vegetable stock to the boil, add the soy chunks and leave to simmer on a low heat, covered.
  3. Sauté the diced onion and chopped garlic in the olive oil, add half of the vegetables and tomato paste and sauté. Add the soaked, drained quail beans, fill up with the pelati and the soaked soy chunks. Season with cumin, pepper, cayenne or Tabasco. Add the salt only at the end. 
  4. Gently simmer the quail bean chilli over a low heat for about 1 hour. Add the second half of the vegetables 10 minutes before the end of cooking – continue to simmer and season to taste.
  5. Serve and sprinkle with the chopped chives.


  • Roast the cumin a little in the pan at the beginning. 
  • Soak the beans in salted water 
  • If you are in a hurry: Use tinned quail beans or tinned borlotti beans (but the taste of the quail beans is amazing!) 
  • If it’s even more urgent: Boil beans separately with sodium bicarbonate.
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