Serves 4 / Treat your family to a culinary adventure for less than $5 with this recipe for pullao, a traditional Indian vegetable and rice pilaf laced with aromatic spices and served with a red lentil sauce. If you don't have all the spices called for, don't worry — one of the great things about Indian cuisine is its flexibility.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes


1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 - inch piece of cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 cup green beans, trimmed and sliced
1/4 red or green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup cauliflower florets
1 1/2 cup quick cooking brown rice
3 cups hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 tomato, cut in wedges
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped


1 cup red lentils, rinsed
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon canola oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. To make pullao: Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add cumin seeds, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, chili powder, garlic and onions and sauté 3 minutes. Stir in vegetables and sauté 3 minutes more. Add rice and continue cooking 5 minutes. Stir in water and salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Remove pullao from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Before serving remove whole spices that floated to the top, stir in peas, and garnish with tomato and cilantro.

2. To make dal: Put lentils, water and ginger in a medium saucepan and cook 20 minutes until lentils are soft. Heat oil in a skillet until hot but not smoking. Drop in cumin, fennel and mustard seeds. Cover skillet and remove from heat. Shake pan until popping stops. Uncover, stir in garlic and cook until golden. Stir in remaining spices, salt and tomatoes. Add mixture to the cooked lentils and simmer 10 minutes. Before serving stir in lemon juice.