Grain, Legume and Vegetable Cooking Reference Tables

This page is intended as a reference for preparing any type of savoury stews, soups, sauces and sides by simmering vegetables, grains and/or legumes.

Quick Reference for Boiling Pulses/Grains

Boiling” is misleading as in most cases you should bring water to the boil then turn down and simmer for the specified time.

Time (mins) Pulses (dry) Grains (dry) Pulses (soaked) Grains (soaked)
120 Chickpeas Rye Groats Soy beans (yellow)  
60 Dried Whole Peas, Black/Borlotti/Kidney/White/Navy Beans Wheat Groats, Oat Groats (whole) Chickpeas Rye Groats
45   Brown Rice   Wheat Groats, Oat Groats (whole)
35 Split Peas (Green/Yellow), Whole Mung Beans Pearl Barley Dried Whole Peas, Black/Borlotti/Kidney/White/Navy Beans  
25 Green Lentils, Soy Grits White Quinoa, Millet Split Peas (Green/Yellow) Pearl Barley
20 French Lentils, Split Mung Beans Buckwheat, Course Bulgur    
10-15 Red Split Lentils Steel Cut Oats Whole Mung Beans, Green Lentils  

Full Cooking Time and Reference Table

[V]egetables, [P]ulses, [G]rains or [G*] for Pseudo-grains.
the proportional amount of water required by volume i.e. 3 means you will need 3 cups of water for each cup of dry ingredient.

For pulses and grains, “Dry” for cooking time with dry ingredients or “Soaked” for grains which have been soaked for 6-10 hours in plenty of water in the fridge to soften them up. Always drain the soaking-water and rinse the grains before cooking.

For vegetables, this column shows the loss factor from peeling, cutting out cores etc. E.g. if this entry shows “1.5” you need to buy 150g of veg at the market to produce 100g of peeled and prepared veg.

Time (mins) Food Prep Water Type Notes
2 Fine Bulgur Dry 3 G Alternatively just add boiled water and stand for 5 minutes
5 Broccoli
6 Cornmeal Dry   G aka Polenta
6 Corn (kernels/cob)
7 Asparagus
7 Zucchini
7 Eggplant
  V Peel on or off
10 Carrots
10 Red Split Lentils Dry   P Will disintegrate into Dal if cooked longer
30 Mung Beans (whole) Soaked   P  
10 Brussels Sprouts
10 Cauliflower
11 Leeks
  V Remove leaves and peel outer layer of bulb before cutting
12 Parsnip
13 Butternut Pumpkin
15 Black Quinoa Dry   G* Must usually be rinsed first
15 Steel Cut Oats Dry   G Will disintegrate into Porridge if cooked longer
18 Teff Dry   G  
20 Soy Grits Dry   P Can be cooked for much longer - won’t go soggy
20 Buckwheat Dry   G*  
20 Coarse Bulgur Dry 2.25 G  
20 Amaranth Dry 3 G*  
25 White Quinoa Dry 2 G* Must usually be rinsed first
25 Millet Dry   G  
25 Whole Green Lentils Dry   P  
25 Pearl Barley Soaked 3 G  
25 Green Split Peas Soaked 3 P  
30 Mung Beans (whole) Dry   P  
35 Green Split Peas Dry 3 P  
35 Yellow Split Peas Dry 3 P  
35 Pearl Barley Dry   G  
35 Borlotti Beans Soaked   P  
35 Black Beans Soaked   P  
45 Brown Rice Dry 2.25 G  
45 Wheat Groats Soaked 4 G aka Wheatberries or Whole Wheat Grains
50 Whole Oat Groats Dry   G  
55 Borlotti Beans Dry   P  
55 Black Beans Dry   P  
60 Whole Peas Dry 3 P aka Blue Boiler Peas
60 Rye Groats Soaked 3 G aka Rye Grains
60 Chickpeas Soaked 3 P  
60 Wheat Groats Dry   G aka Wheatberries or Whole Wheat Grains
120 (2hrs) Rye Groats Dry   G aka Rye Grains
120 (2hrs) Chickpeas Dry   P  
120 (2hrs) Mature Whole Soy Beans Soaked   P aka Yellow Soy Beans; NOT Soy Nuts
240 (4hrs) Mature Whole Soy Beans Dry   P aka Yellow Soy Beans; NOT Soy Nuts

Aromatic Vegetable Flavour Bases

Some classic vegetable (and herb/spice) combinations to start off a sauce, stew, soup etc. Generally sauteed (in the indicated fat/oil) unless otherwise specified.

Ratios of ingredients refer to the approximate volume when chopped - not individual vegetables.

Quick Reference Matrix (most herbs and spices excluded for space)
Cuisine Butter Blend. Oil Olive Oil Garlic Onion Ginger Carrot Celery Tomato Capsicum
Cajun / Creole (Trinity)
Ethiopian / Eritrean (Wat)
French (Mirepoix) ~     ~
German / Dutch (Suppengrün) ~       ~  
Hungarian (Paprikas)
Italian (Soffrito)    
~ ~       ~
Middle Eastern
Moroccan / Magrhebi (Tagine)
Portugese (Refogado)    
  ~ ~    
Spanish (Sofrito)    
  ~ ~
Detailed table, Onion based combinations
Combination Cuisine Basic Ingredients Fat Common Optional Ingr. Notes
Duxelles French Mushrooms, Onion, Thyme, Parsley Butter Fortified Wine, Cream Also used as a stuffing or tart filling
Mirepoix French Onion, Carrot or Parsnip, Celery (2:1:1) Butter / None Garlic, Parsley, Thyme, Wine/Vinegar, Tomato Paste (for Pincage) May be boiled for some uses, or cooked more gently than sauteeing. Replace Carrot with Parsnip for pale coloured sauces/soups.
Soffrito Italian Onion, Carrot, Celery (2:1:1) Olive Oil Garlic, Shallots, Leeks, Oregano, Basil, Fennel, Sage, Wine, Bay leaf Base for many pasta sauces, with added tomato or puree
Sofrito Spanish Garlic, Onion, Capsicum, Tomato Olive Oil Celery, Carrot, Chilli, Coriander seeds, Cumin, Paprika, Cilantro Many regional variations and names
Refogado Portugese Garlic, Onion Olive Oil Bay Leaves, Capsicum, Tomato, Celery, Carrot, Chilli, Coriander seeds, Cumin, Paprika, Cilantro Many regional variations and names
Suppengrün German / Dutch Leek, Carrot, Celeriac Butter / None Parsley, Thyme, Celery, Swede, Onion May be boiled when making soups
Trinity Cajun / Creole Onion, Carrot or Celery, Capsicum (1:1:1) Butter or Oil Garlic, Parsley, Shallots, Paprika Cajun Cooking uses Celery; Creole uses Carrot
Paprikas Hungarian Onion, Paprika Lard or Butter Carrot, Garlic, Poppy seeds, Pepper  
Tagine Morroccan / Maghrebi Onion, Cumin, Turmeric, Cinnamon Clarif. Butter or Olive Oil Coriander seeds, Ginger. Saffron, Paprika, Chilli “Tagine” can refer to the finished stew or the specific cooking vessel.
Wat Ethiopian / Eritrean Onion None / Clarified Butter Tomato, Cumin, Turmeric, Paprika, Chilli Onion is cooked dry at minimal heat before adding fat and other ingredients
Detailed table, Garlic-Ginger combinations
Cuisine Basic Ingredients Fat Common Optional/Alternative Ingr.
Chinese Garlic, Ginger, Scallions Blended Oil Five Spice, Star Anise, Shallots, Chilli, Cilantro, Onion
Greek Garlic, Oregano, Lemon Juice Olive Oil Cinnamon, Tomato, Zucchini, Capers, Basil
Indian Garlic, Ginger, Onion Ghee or Blended Oil Chilli, Cumin, Curry, Cardamom, Tumeric, Garam Masala
Jamaican Garlic, Scallions, Thyme Oil and/or Coconut Milk Onion, Capsicum, Chilli, Ginger, Allspice, Nutmeg
Lebanese Garlic, Lemon Juice Olive Oil Chickpeas, Parsley, Onions
Middle Eastern Garlic, Ginger, Onion, Tomato Ghee or Blended Oil Raisins, Saffron, Tumeric, Cinnamon
Thai Garlic, Galangal, Lemongrass. Kaffir Lime leaves Oil and/or Coconut Milk Chilli, Shallots

Dal Terminology

Dal (also Dahl, Daal etc)
Indian subcontinental term for any dried pulses/legumes, also specific soups prepared with them. Dal is the sanskrit word for “split”.
Whole and unhulled Dal, generally more nutritions but longer to cook.
Can be a synonym for “Sabut” or used to refer to chickpea products (e.g. “gram flour”)
Split but with the skin remaining, quicker to cook.
Split and skinned (Hindi for “washed”), quicker to cook but loses the nutrients from the skin, especially fibre.


Expanded Aromatic Flavour Bases and added the Quick Reference Matrix
Added Aromatic Flavour Bases and Dal Terms
Added Quick Pulse&Grain Reference Table.
Initial version with long form table, no prep loss for veg.