I have lately realized, to conquer the dinner or mealtime game in a busy household, we need to be strategic. This polenta upma with spring veggies is all about this strategy. My latest brainwave is ensure that with every thing I am trying, I get more than one meal’s worth. So, I had cooked a pot of polenta for polenta cakes. I will tell you what I did with those cakes one of these days. I hashed up the leftovers into this upma.
Bright and golden, polenta upma is just what one needs for a bright breakfast on a busy morning. You might say it is Saturday, but Saturday is run around, skip around day with the kids. Polenta and Semolina have a lot in common, both in terms of taste and texture. Hence, polenta fits in beautifully in this upma. This is essentially a polenta version of this dish! When you sub with polenta, you even can excuse yourself from feeling guilty about adding an egg over the dish. Eggy or eggless is your call!
Naturally, since it is spring, and we harvested our first round of asparagus, this polenta upma is vibrant with the brightness of spring vegetables.
I have already mentioned about my pantry clearing escapades, so, among other unnecessary things I find myself deluged with 3 and half pounds of polenta. Which brings me to my pantry clearing lesson one, make sure you organize your dry pantry staples in clear containers. That way it is pretty easy to see what is on hand. If it does not have a home, it probably does not belong there.
I wish I could bail out of the bus trip planned to St. Louis, with the kids and the robotics families. The kids would have a fit, if I suggested such. Here’s to the upma as I add more crazy to a busy month.
A polenta cooked in the style of upma, this polenta upma is a perfect cheery morning dish.
- 2 tablespoons raw blanched peanuts
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon yellow split Bengal gram lentils (sold as channa dal)
- 1 teaspoon whole white lentils (urad dal)
- 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
- 2 whole dried red chilies, crushed
- 10 to 12 curry leaves
- 1 or 2 curry leaves
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 cup finely chopped asparagus
- A handful of fresh peas
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 and 1/2 cups cooked polenta
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
- Dry roast the peanuts until golden and set the peanuts aside.
- Heat the oil and add the whole mustard seeds and wait until the seeds begin to pop. Add in the lentils and cook for a minute.
- Add in the onion and saute for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add in the chilies and the curry leaves and mix well.
- Add in the carrots, asparagus and green peas and mix well.
- Mix in the salt and the turmeric with the polenta and water. Cover and cook on low for 10 minutes.
- Remove the cover and cook a little longer until the polenta has a loose but thick texture. It should be thicker than a porridge.
- Add in the lime juice and cilantro and mix well. Stir in the peanuts and serve hot.