Tag Archives: spices

Stuffed eggplants (Bharli Vangi)

20 Aug

Cooking was not fun for me when I got married, I struggled, I have failed and cried. I felt I am letting down my parents because my dad was an amazing cook, my mother learned late in life but now she is a wonderful cook and I was in no way close to getting there. I felt frustrated so I made a decision to write some recipes down that were dictated by my mother, this is one of them and I always end up making this vegetarian curry better than the last time. So here goes.

Tip : I always cut my eggplants and dunk them in cold water until I get other ingredients ready, this helps in prepping but also helps prevent oxidizing and removes bitter juices if any.

All you need:

  1. 8 small sized eggplants/brinjal – slit lengthwise I prefer to chop off the tops (refer pic)
  2. 1 small onion finely chopped
  3. 1/2 cup roasted peanut powder
  4. 1/3 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  5. 2 tbsp grated jaggery
  6. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  7. 1 tsp sesame seeds powdered
  8. pinch of asafoetida/hing
  9. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  10. 1 tbsp red chili powder(or as required) I use mix of degghi and kashmiri chili powders
  11. 1 tsp goda masala (availale in Indian stores)
  12. salt as required
  13. 4 tbsp oil
  14. 1/2 cup water
  15. cilantro (garnish)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. In a bowl mix together the onion, peanut powder, shredded coconut, sesame seeds powder, jaggery, 1 tbsp oil, salt, red chili powder, goda masala.
  2. Drain the eggplants and stuff the slit eggplants with this mixture carefully making sure it does not break the eggplants open. Fill only until the slits are filled completely. Hold on to the excess mixture.
  3. Heat remaining oil in a kadhai/wok/pan.
  4. Temper the oil with mustard seeds, as soon as they pop add asafoetida let it sizzle, add turmeric powder and add stuffed eggplants.
  5. Fry them in oil gently for about a minute, turn, fry them again for another minute or so, add half cup of water.
  6. Add the remaining mixture. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes until they turn soft. The onions and eggplants leave a little water of their own. If it is too dry add little water.
  7. Remove the cover and cook for another five minutes until almost all the water is evaporated and eggplants are completely cooked and you have a thick gravy.
  8. Season with salt. Stir gently.
  9. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with chapati or roti.
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Mutton Sukha (Dry spicy goat chunks)

1 Mar

Goat meat is not easily available and not even savored as much in America. An alternative is lamb. However, we have a Halal store nearby(lucky me) so we manage to get decent mutton(I prefer calling it mutton than goat meat), never asked where it comes from though….but I am not really worried about it because unlike steaks, we hardly keep mutton rare or even medium rare, it is always well done in Indian homes. Also one major thing I was missing in my life was my Indian mixie(blender here). I tried Ninja, Oster and they failed big time, my friend has the Magic Bullet but the same complaint-doesn’t grind it to a paste. Indian homes need a good blender, so last year I got one from India. The store guy was so nice to adjust the wires as per US requirements of voltage and plugging. Yay! Now I make yummy chutneys, spice paste, juices, everything in my blender. Love it. My mutton received compliments, so I must have done something right. Hence sharing the recipe. The picture does not do justice to the taste because it was devoured quickly I could only manage to click this one on my phone.

mutton-sukha

Tip: You can add 2 cups of water while cooking the meat and reserve the stock to drink it as mutton soup or use it later in some recipe that requires broth.

All you need:

  1. 1 lb mutton(cut into medium size pieces,washed and cleaned, you can use boneless I prefer using meat with bones)
  2. 5-6 dry red chillies( you can adjust as per your choice but I chose to use Byadgi red chillies, really spicy, you can use Kashmiri red chillies, they give color not as much spice)
  3. 3-4 garlic cloves
  4. Ginger (about 2 inches)
  5. 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  6. 1 tsp turmeric
  7. 1 tsp red chili powder
  8. 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  9. 1 tsp fennel seeds
  10. 1 tsp black peppercorns
  11. 3 cloves
  12. 1 green cardamom
  13. 1 black cardamom
  14. 1 cinnamon stick
  15. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  16. 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  17. 2 tbsp yoghurt or curd(room temperature as it prevents curdling)
  18. 1 tsp Lemon juice
  19. Salt as required
  20. Oil as required
  21. Water as required
  22. Cilantro for garnish

Ready,Set, Go:

  1. Marinate the cleaned mutton pieces with the dry spice powders, turmeric, red chili powder, salt and ginger garlic paste for about half an hour(you can prep in the meantime)
  2. Heat a pan on medium heat and dry roast the whole spices, dry red chillies first for about a minute and then add the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon, cumin seeds and roast them until fragrant, be careful not to brown them. Keep the spice mix aside until it cools down.
  3. In the meantime, heat oil in a separate dutch oven or pressure cooker to cook the mutton.
  4. Add in the chopped onion and fry until brown, add the mutton pieces and fry them until they have a sear on them. Add salt and water(little only to cook mutton).Cook the mutton completely in the pressure cooker or the dutch oven. Mine takes about 20 minutes.
  5. Now take the cooled down spice mix and blend it along with lemon juice, ginger and garlic. Add water as needed until it forms a smooth paste.
  6. Heat a pan with oil or ghee(I always use a mix of oil and ghee)
  7. Add the spice paste to it and fry it till oil leaves sides.
  8. Add the yoghurt and mix on slow heat but continue stirring until the paste is bubbly to prevent it from curdling.
  9. Do not add the entire stock, just a little bit to keep the spice mixture moist, add the mutton pieces and fry well until the mixture covers the mutton and the moisture is evaporated.
  10. Cook for about 5-7 minutes and garnish with chopped cilantro

Vangi Batata (Eggplant Potato curry)

4 Apr

I have taken a long hiatus. After Dad passed away last year I couldn’t bring myself to write anything. However today I thought let me share what I have been eating. I have started to eat clean. On my way to reduce a few pounds. Reduced meat intake and piling on the veggies. So wanted to share this simple easy Indian recipe which takes less than 30 minutes to prep and make and is super tasty. Or I am rather too quick! Here goes.

Tip: To prevent oxidization of eggplant/brinjal immediately drop the pieces in cold water after cutting them until you prep other things for making the curry. Remove from the water before using the pieces.

All you need:

  1. 4 medium sized eggplants/brinjal – quartered
  2. 1 potato – quartered
  3. 4-5 garlic cloves – minced
  4. 1 inch ginger – minced
  5. 1 inch jaggery
  6. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  7. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  8. pinch of sesame seed powder (optional)
  9. pinch of asafoetida/hing
  10. 1 tsp turmeric
  11. 1 tbsp red chili powder(or as required)
  12. 1 tsp goda masala (availale in Indian stores)
  13. salt as required
  14. oil 2-3 tbsp
  15. cilantro (garnish)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Heat oil in a kadhai/wok/pan
  2. Temper the oil with mustard seeds, as soon as they pop add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric.
  3. Add minced ginger garlic to the oil and fry it for about 30 second or until raw smell disappears.
  4. Add the eggplant/brinjal pieces and potato pieces. Stir well.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients that is the red chili powder, goda masala, jaggery, sesame seed powder.
  6. Season with salt. Stir well.
  7. Add about a cup of water and let the vegetable curry cook for about 7-10 minutes.
  8. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with chapati, naan or roti.

Kayloli (Rice flour veggie omelette/dosa/pancake)

3 Apr

Since Indian masala omelette is a mix of spices with eggs, I could not think of a better translation of what a ‘Kayloli’ is. I am not sure why I would call it an omelette since it does not have the eggs however it has all the spices similar to the omelette and the process is similar too. Then again, I can also call it a Dosa because without the spices it will be similar to a Dosa. It could also be a pancake with spices! Well, Kayloli is a traditional GSB (Goud Saraswat Brahmin) dish, I don’t know the original roots though because Mangaloreans and Karwari families are familiar with it too. This was taught to me by my dad with his own additions to it. This is like an instant breakfast dish. I will also list the alternate version in the tip below which can be used for lunch or dinner. Let me get down to the quick and easy recipe, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

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Tip: You can completely omit all the spices and instead of rice flour soak 2 cups of boiled rice for two-three hours. Blend the rice and cup of shredded coconut just add salt and sugar to it and leave the mixture in the fridge overnight. Fry like pancakes. Serve with curries. You might like it as is. I mentioned in my About section how cuisines are similar in coastal regions. This is very similar to Appam in Kerala. I will try and post that someday.

All you need:

  1.  2 cups rice flour
  2. 1 1/2 cups milk
  3. 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
  4. 2 green chilies finely chopped (Indian chilies are hot and I like it spicy, use 1 if you don’t eat spicy food)
  5. 1 tomato finely chopped (optional)
  6. 2 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
  7. 1 generous tsp turmeric
  8. 1 tsp red chili powder
  9. salt as required
  10. oil for frying

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Combine all the ingredients, spices etc. except oil and milk first in a bowl and like you would whisk pancake batter, whisk it gently until well combined.
  2. Pour milk slowly to adjust the consistency of the batter. Make sure you don’t make it too thick otherwise it will not spread on the pan and will stick and form lumps, nor too thin or it will end up runny and the taste will be compromised.
  3. Heat very minimal oil on a non-stick pan on medium heat and pour the batter in the center with a laddle. Move the pan around or spread with a spatula till it takes the shape and size of  a pancake.
  4. Drizzle little oil on the sides to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan. Cover and cook for a minute or two or until you see bubbles on top (refer to the pic above)
  5. Flip it and cover it again for a minute or two until crispy and brown on the outside and firm so that raw batter is completely cooked.
  6. Serve hot with yogurt, Indian pickle, ketchup or any preferred chutney.

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Indian Masala Omelette

1 Apr

I had to make a quick post for reference. If I can rant about how much I love an Indian Masala Omelette, I can keep going at it for a long time, but as I said this is a quick post for reference. I can eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner, I can even gulp it down at tea-time. Ooh, I am a tea-lover, not much of a coffee person, I prefer a cold coffee over a hot one which could be insulting to all the coffee addicts out there. Ha ha, too much talking everything other than the Indian Masala Omelette! This recipe will yield only one serving. Here goes.

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Tip: Sprinkling cheese will be heavenly, just when its hot, any type of cheese will make it a melty, yummy Indian Masala Cheese Omelette!

All you need:

  1. 2 Eggs
  2. 2 tbsp chopped onion, I roughly chop it to keep the crunch, you can chop it finely whatever suits your taste.
  3. 1 green chili, finely chopped (Indian chilies are pretty hot, one is enough for the right spicy hot taste)
  4. 1 tbsp finely chopped tomato(optional, I don’t add it for my husband, the one in the picture is clearly my husband’s serving)
  5. 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  6. 1 tbsp milk
  7. 1 tsp turmeric
  8. 1 tsp red chili powder (optional, if you think the green chili is enough spice for you skip this, I love it for the extra kick, tasty!)
  9. Salt as required
  10. Black pepper powder, a pinch
  11. 2 tbsp Oil/ Butter (I love it when the sides are oily, you can cut this down to half)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Whisk the eggs till a little frothy. Add all the ingredients except the oil and whisk a little again.
  2. On medium low flame heat a round pan preferably an 8″ or smaller so that the omelette fluffs up nicely in the pan.
  3. Pour oil and swirl it around the pan, when it starts to swirl easily, that’s the right amount of hot.
  4. Pour the egg mixture in the center and swirl it around the pan making sure the entire pan is covered.
  5. Cook until the edges look firm and the omelette is fluffy and bubbly.
  6. Flip it over and cook for 20-30 seconds or until it is firm yet moist.
  7. Serve hot with toasted slices of bread or buns.

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Rajma Chawal (Rice and Kidney bean curry)

15 Aug

My north Indian friends introduced me to the real Rajma Chawal and I am so hooked on to it. It’s a favorite comfort food for many! With proteins packed in the red kidney beans, it’s a healthy way to get children and adults to like it. There are only a few places where you can get the authentic Rajma Chawal. Otherwise everyone else has their own version of Rajma Chawal. Obviously if you visit a North Indian home, you will have one of the best home cooked Rajma Chawal. This is one of the few vegetarian dishes that I absolutely adore. Eating the entire cooked rajma the next day, instead of eating the same day you cooked it, with fresh steamed rice is like you are in a mini heaven of your own! Enough of talking, let’s get to it.

Tip: Soaking twice and rinsing and draining the beans several times helps reduce the gas that is built up due to the complex sugar in the beans ( One of my friends who is a nurse told me once and its true, my tummy hardly bloats up while eating beans).

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All you need:

  1. 1 cup Rajma or red kidney beans (soak overnight in about 4 cups of water, if possible drain the water once and soak in fresh water again before sleeping)
  2. Water 4 cups
  3. 1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
  4. 2 medium sized onions finely chopped
  5. 1 large tomato pureed
  6. 2 bay leaves
  7. 2 black cardamoms
  8. 1 inch cinnamon stick
  9. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  10. 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  11. 1 tbsp coriander powder
  12. 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  13. Salt as required
  14. 3 tbsp Oil
  15. 1/2 tsp kasoori methior dried fenugreek leaves (if available, you can get this in any Indian store)
  16. For garnishing you can add cilantro or lime wedge and sliced onion.

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Wash and drain the soaked rajma again.
  2. Cook the rajma in a pressure cooker with 4 cups of water, salt, whole masala that is bay leaves, cinnamon and cardamom , most Indians use pressure cooker, you can use your own vessel to cook the beans till they are soft and fully cooked. It may take anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour. Don’t overcook them till they are mushy or it will end up looking like a dal instead of a curry!
  3. Once cooked, reserve the liquid, don’t throw it away. Drain the liquid in a separate bowl. You can remove the bay leaves, cinnamon and cardamom if you wish at this point, I like to leave it all in there.
  4. Now, heat oil in a saucepan or kadhai on medium heat. Add the onions and fry them till they change color, you can even fry them till they are golden brown, but I prefer to fry them till they are transparent to pink.
  5. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears or till 30-45 seconds. Add the pureed tomato.
  6. Add all the spices one by one, turmeric, chili powder, coriander powder and fry all the spices till they are well combined.
  7. Add the rajma/cooked beans and combine well with the mixture followed by the reserved liquid or the stock.
  8. Toss in the garam masala powder and kasoori methi(if available). Mix well. Check seasoning.
  9. Bring the curry to a good boil and simmer it for around 10 minutes.
  10. Garnish with cilantro or lemon wedge and sliced onion.
  11. Serve hot with steamed white rice or chapati(Indian flatbread).

Bread Upma (Sindhi)

2 Jul

I am a big fan of one of my Sindhi friend’s cooking. She is a complete home-maker and I love gorging on food that she makes with so much love and efforts. I have been looking around for various dishes of Sindhi cuisine, and this one is so easy. I think it is called ‘ Seval Dabal’ but I will confirm the original name. I confirmed the name, it is ‘Seyal Dabal’. Although she hasn’t checked the authenticity of this dish, I am sure she will like it and so will everyone who loves Bread Upma as we call it. Original Upma is a dish with roasted and steamed semolina flour. But this Bread Upma is different than its varieties, it does not have semolina, has bread in it and tastes completely different than the dry one that Maharashtrians make. Makes a good breakfast!

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Tip: Trim the edges of the bread if you prefer softer version, if you want to feel the bread in it, you can keep them.

All you need:

  1. 10-12 slices of bread ( I had whole wheat, white will taste better)
  2. a pinch of asafoetida ( we call it ‘hing’ in Hindi/Marathi)
  3. 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  4. 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  5. 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
  6. 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  7. 1 green chili, finely chopped ( I use serrano, even half is good for my level of spice, you can adjust as per your taste)
  8. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  9. 1 tbsp coriander powder
  10. 1 tsp red chili powder
  11. Oil to fry (3 tbsp is what I took)
  12. Salt to taste
  13. Water (as needed)
  14. For garnishing chop a few sprigs of cilantro and little lemon juice

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Tear the bread slices into small pieces, make sure they are bite size but not mouthful.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and hear them crackle, then add cumin seeds and asafoetida.
  3. Add onions and fry till they change color and become a little pink.
  4. Stir in the green chili and tomato.  Saute for a few minutes till they blend well in the pan.
  5. Add the spices, turmeric powder, coriander and chili powder. Add a tablespoon of water, it helps in blending the masala well. Saute till the tomato becomes soft.
  6. Add a cup of water and salt. Once it boils, fold in the bread slices. Check that the water is enough and won’t keep the bread dry. Don’t add so much water that the mixture turns soggy, just enough to make it soft and moist. Mix well and let it cook for a few minutes.
  7. When you feel the water is completely absorbed, turn off the heat, sprinkle cilantro and lemon juice.
  8. Serve hot.

Not just in the kitchen – Spices (Turmeric)

28 May

I cannot stop raving about Turmeric. It is becoming a popular spice slowly, but not limited to old wives’ tales, I would like to mention how useful Turmeric is even for simple daily needs. Just a pinch can make a lot of difference. I am no expert on this, but these are all tried and tested uses for centuries in India.

  • https://mefoodatarian.wordpress.com/ Turmeric leaves are used for wrapping and cooking food in it. Sometimes, even food is served on it in India. It is not only beneficial to the health but also gives a distinct flavor and an aroma which may be too strong for some. One of the regional dishes is called ‘Patoli’ in India steamed in turmeric leaf during ‘Ganpati’ festival, a celebration of Lord Ganesha, a God of wisdom, knowledge and prosperity.
  • Turmeric powder is used in almost every dish cooked in India since it adds color, flavor, aroma and has many health benefits.
  • Most common drink with turmeric in it is warm milk with Turmeric powder which is known to clear away cough, mild fever, a home remedy for many Indians including me!
  • Clothes are dyed in Turmeric for its powerful yellow color. But be careful, since Turmeric stains easily.
  • It has many ceremonial uses and is widely used for religious purposes in India especially for Hindu deities.
  • A paste of Turmeric is applied to the bride and groom traditionally to give that special glow before the wedding ceremony.
  • Turmeric can also be used as a face pack. Mixed with Bengal gram flour, milk or yogurt, it is known to clear off blemishes and has acne fighting properties. Let the paste dry on the face, wash off with plain water.
  • It is known for its various medicinal uses in ‘Ayurveda'(a form of traditional Indian medicine practice)
  • A pinch of turmeric if applied directly on cuts, stops bleeding and is known to destroy the germs that try and enter the body through wounds.
  • Moderation is the key, too much can be bitter but a pinch is enough for so many uses.

Egg curry in coconut milk

29 Nov

Life is so simple sometimes, we complicate it unnecessarily. While experimenting with thoughts, words and actions, we learn so many new things. Isn’t God amazing to have created such beautiful things in the world!? I wonder how tasty the food was without salt and spices! Man must have been so boring in the Stone age. Well, eggs are simple and we can complicate things as much as we want, but this egg curry is easy on the plate and requires very little effort. Oh, the effort of making coconut milk is worthwhile and if you have it handy, nothing like it!!

Tip: If you do not have coconut milk, you can complete the recipe with a cup of water and shredded coconut, but the consistency of the curry will change.

Image

All you need:

  1. Eggs : 4 ( I used three)
  2. Onion sliced (1 large)
  3. Tomato chopped(1 medium)
  4. Ginger Garlic Paste ½ tbsp
  5. Black Cardamom 1
  6. Cloves 5
  7. Peppercorns 5
  8. Cinnamon an inch long
  9. Curry Leaves 4-5
  10. Thick Coconut Milk  1 ½ cups or half a can
  11. Turmeric  ¼ tsp
  12. Coriander powder 1 tbsp
  13. Red Chilli powder ½ tbsp (adjust as per your choice of hotness)
  14. Salt (as required)
  15. Oil 2 tbsp
  16. Cilantro (for garnishing)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Boil eggs until hard from inside, we don’t want runny yolks. Shell them and keep aside. (The trick for me to boil eggs to perfection is 10 mins of boiling on high heat, turn the heat off, let them rest in hot water for another ten minutes, run them under cold water, easy to peel, and yolks remain yellow, don’t turn grey)
  2. Heat oil on a medium flame in a pot and add all the whole spices from nos. 5-8. Sauté for a minute or till they give out a nice aroma.
  3. Add curry leaves, be careful as they will splutter.
  4. Tip in the onion and fry till they turn pink in color.
  5. Add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears, for a minute or two, then the tomatoes and fry till they are soft.
  6. Add turmeric, coriander powder and red chilli powder and fry till oil starts to separate.
  7. Now add salt and reduce the heat and pour in the coconut milk.
  8. Let this boil for about 8-10 minutes, if you think the curry is too thick, you can add a little water but I prefer it thick!  Slit the eggs in half and add to the curry.
  9. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 more minutes so eggs absorb the flavour.
  10. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with steamed rice or roti/nan.

Sali Par Indu/Eeda

25 Jun

I was so intrigued by the name of this dish. The name suggests eggs on french cut potatoes. This was something my dad taught me while growing up. The dish comes from a Parsi (a community in South Asia) background. The original recipe has like a paste of spices blended together but my dad’s twist is a better version for me.  This dish can be made indulgent or healthy by using more or less oil and will leave your taste buds wanting for more. Eggs and potatoes go so well together, so do try it.

All you need :

  1. 4 eggs
  2. 1 big onion sliced (if small 2 would be better)
  3. 1 big tomato sliced (adjust the quantity as per onions used)
  4. 1 big potato (sliced vertically like french fries)
  5. 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste (if you prefer you could use julienne of ginger and garlic)
  6. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  7. 1½  tsp chilli powder  (as preferred)
  8. 1  tbsp coriander powder
  9. ½ tsp cumin powder
  10. ½ tsp garam masala/curry powder
  11. 1 ½ tbsp oil
  12. Salt (as required)
  13. Chopped cilantro (for garnishing)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Heat a pan and add the oil. Saute the sliced onions till they become transparent.
  2. Add chopped ginger -garlic paste and saute for few seconds.
  3. Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they soften up a bit.
  4. Then add the sliced potato pieces and saute for 1-2 mins. Cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 mins.
  5. Add all the spices one by one starting with turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder, chilli powder and lastly garam masala. Stir it well and cook until oil separates. Add salt and mix it well.
  6. Now spread the veggies evenly in the pan. Break each egg side by side on top of the spread of vegetable mixture. Try to spread the egg white as much as you can. Refer to the picture. Try to keep the egg yolks intact, they look more presentable, but do not fret if they break, it’s all going to get churned in the tummy!  Cover and cook for about 5-8 mins.
  7. Check if the entire eggs are cooked thoroughly. At this point the egg yolk should not be runny but hard.  If not done, cook for a few more minutes. The oil will also separate and come on top. Sprinkle chopped cilantro leaves on it. Serve hot with chapati, bread or roti.
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