Fish Curry

There’s nothing fishy about it 


I grew up in a vegetarian household and was strictly vegetarian until recently. Then one day just like that I decided to order a seafood pasta and haven’t looked back since. With that said I still can’t stomach fish that smells like fish, for instance, salmon, sardines, anchovies, etc. Nor can I eat oysters because they look like snot. After all food is an all inclusive experience. We eat with our eyes and taste with our nose first. 

Over time I have built my knowledge about various kinds of seafood and the flavours, spices, etc that are complimentary to each other. This fish curry recipe includes a mix of dried spices and fresh herbs. It’s similar to the Kerala fish curry called ‘meen moillee’. 


So when my mother in law and father in law were over I decided to indulge them in an all encompassing flavour explosion. I served the fish curry on a bed of basmati rice and with a side of crispy potatoes. I was so pleased to see everyone wipe their plates clean and even go back for thirds. 

Ingredients: 18   Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

  • Two large white fish fillets, without skin and cut into bite size pieces (I used barramundi)
  • 800ml of coconut light cream 
  • One onion, finely chopped
  • Two tomatoes, finely chopped
  • Three to four pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • One thumbsized piece of ginger, grated
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves 
  • Two to three green chillies, chopped
  • Two kaffir lime leaves
  • Half a bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • Two teaspoons of dried mint
  • Two teaspoons of coriander powder
  • One teaspoon of red chilli powder
  • Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • Half a teaspoon of asafoetida (hing), optional
  • Four tablespoons of mustard oil
  • Salt to season 
  • Fresh coriander to garnish (optional)

Heat mustard oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Once aromatic add garlic, ginger and onion and cook until onion is caramelised.


Add tomatoes, turmeric, chilli and coriander powder, cook until tomatoes are soft. Then add dried mint and fresh mint (leave some fresh mint for garnish), coconut cream, kaffir lime leaves and two cups of water. Season with salt as required.

Simmer the curry on low heat for 30 minutes. Now add the fish and cook on low heat for another seven to ten minutes or until the fish is cooked.

Garnish with fresh mint and coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice or roti bread. Either way this curry is one hell of a winner!

Aloo Mutter ki Tahiri (Potato and Pea spiced Rice)

A simple indulgence 

Somewhere over the last few months, I lost a little part of me. Priorities shifted from what I like to do vs. what I need to do. While I like blogging a lot, my growing toddler’s needs meant I had to put it on hold. Add to this being pregnant and bringing another little wonder into our lives. Busy has a whole new meaning in my world today. Also, truth be known, I got lazy! Free time meant catching up on sleep, watching a little TV, etc. 

So here I am, trying to rekindle my food blogging love affair. I assume you missed having your daily dose of LSD too? Today I bring to you a quick, simple yet hearty recipe of Tahiri. This dish has its roots in Lucknow, an eastern Indian city known for its artistic flair and as the seat of Nawabs ( Indian Royals). Interestingly, Tahiri is also enjoyed across Pakistan which makes me wonder if India and Pakistan could just make peace over a plate of Tahiri.

Ingredients: 16    Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6

  • Two cups of basmati rice 
  • One medium size onion, finely chopped
  • One thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
  • Two to three green chillies
  • Two medium size tomatoes, finely chopped
  • Two medium size potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 250gms of green peas
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • One large bayleaf
  • Four to five cloves
  • Two green cardamom pods
  • 1.5 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Two tablespoons of ghee
  • Salt to season

Heat ghee in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom pods. 

Once the cumin seeds splutter and are aromatic, add the onions. Followed by ginger and green chillies. Cook until onion is lightly caramelised.


Now add the tomatoes and remaining dry spices, except bayleaf. Mix well and cook until tomatoes are soft.

Then add the potatoes and peas. Followed by basmati rice, mix well. Add enough water to cover the rice. Add bayleaf, lemon juice and season with salt. Bring to a boil, cover the saucepan with a lid and cook on a low heat, until rice is cooked.


Tahiri is now ready to be served. Serve alongside plain yogurt or with an Indian pickle or just by itself. I guarantee every mouth full is lip smackingly delicious.

Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry

Keep calm and curry on…

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I am a big believer of experimenting with ingredients. Combining different spices, herbs, vegetables and proteins to create lip smackingly delicious flavours is my thing. After all variety is the spice of life

Take this curry for instance, both chickpeas and cauliflower are very humble in flavour. However combined with bold spices like cinnamon, black cardamom and smoked paprika even humble flavours are brought to life. This curry was so quick and easy, I didn’t even get a chance to take photos along the way. Not to mention we were so hungry at the end that we devoured this beauty without a photo pause. 

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Ingredients: 16 Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6

  • One cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 400gms of chickpeas (I used the canned ones)
  • One medium onion, finely chopped
  • 250gms of tomato pasata (or canned tomatoes)
  • Two pods of garlic, minced
  • Thumbsized piece of ginger, grated
  • 400ml of light coconut milk
  • One large cinnamon stick
  • One black cardamom
  • One teaspoon smoked paprika
  • One teaspoon garam masala
  • One teaspoon red chilli powder
  • Half teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to season
  • One tablespoon of ghee or two tablespoons of olive oil
  • Fresh coriander to garnish

Melt ghee in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add cinnamon and crushed black cardamom. Once aromatic add onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until onions are lightly caramelised.

Add tomato pasata, followed by all the dried spices. Mix well. Now add the cauliflower, chickpeas (drain and rinse prior to use) and two cups of water. Mix well and cover the pan, let the curry simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.

Now add coconut milk and season with salt as required. Cover the pan and let the curry simmer for another 15 minutes. Your lip smackingly delicious curry is ready to be served.

Garnish with fresh coriander and serve on a bed of steamed rice. This is a perfect way to enjoy a mid week meal.

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Masala Aloo Gobi (Indian Spiced Potato and Cauliflower)

You haven’t eaten it all till you’ve eaten Aloo Gobi…

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Every Punjabi mother  dreams of a world where she cooks all day and her children eat all day. There are few vegetarian dishes every Punjabi mother swears by. These staples made up most of my childhood and continue to delight my tastebuds even today. For instance Rajma Chawal (red kidney bean stew with rice), Kaali Dal aur paratha (creamy black lentils with crispy flatbread), Kadhi Chawal (Chickpea flour and yogurt curry with rice), Aloo Paratha ( Potato stuffed crispy flatbread) and finally Aloo Gobi (potato with cauliflower).

So far I’ve brought you recipes for Rajma, Kaali Dal, Kadhi, and Parathas. Therefore it only makes sense to add Aloo Gobi,  another lip smackingly delicious dish to sort of complete your vegetarian Punjabi repertoire. There are many different ways to make aloo gobi but my favourite is cooking it in a onion, ginger and tomato paste with loads of garam masala, cumin and coriander powder.

So without further ado here’s the recipe for masala aloo gobi.



Ingredients: 15  Cooking time: 40 minutes

Serves: 6

  • One medium sized cauliflower cut into florets
  • Cauliflower stalks, roughly sliced
  • Three to four medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • One red onion, roughly chopped
  • Two tomatoes, cut in big chunks
  • One thumbsized piece of ginger grated
  • One tablespoon garam masala
  • One teaspoon cumin powder
  • One teaspoon coriander powder
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Half a teaspoon chilli powder
  • Quarter teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to season
  • One tablespoon of ghee
  • Fresh coriander to garnish

Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter. Once aromatic add onion, cook until lightly caramelised. Now add tomatoes, grated ginger, one teaspoon of garam masala and all the other dried spices.


Once the tomatoes are soft, add potatoes and mix well. Cover the pan and cook the potatoes for five to seven minutes on a medium heat. Now add the cauliflower, stalks, remaining garam masala and season with salt. Mix well, cover the pan and cook the vegetables on a medium heat for 20 – 25 minutes. From time to time stir the aloo gobi to cook it evenly.


Take the lid of at this point, cook the aloo gobi on a high heat to crisp it up for about four to five minutes. Your lip smackingly delicious aloo gobi is ready to serve. It’s best eaten as a side along with dal, rotis and rice. Alternatively it can also be served with a nice piece of fish and some salad.

Aloo Shimla Mirch (Potato with Capsicum)

A childhood memory, a taste of home…


Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my Beeji (maternal grandmother) and Massi (maternal aunty). These two women are cornerstones of my upbringing. I owe a big part of who I am today to them. Even now every year when we visit India, I can’t help but feel the same excitement I did when I would visit Beeji and Massi during my school holidays.

Life was pretty simple as a child. Eat, play, nap and repeat. Although I think all I did was eat, eat, eat and eat. Among all the lip smackingly delicious dishes Beeji and Massi made, Aloo Shimla Mirch was my favourite. So much so I demanded that it be cooked everyday.

After all what’s not to love about potato and capsicum cooked in an onion and tomato paste. Flavoured with cumin and coriander powder. This dish right here is a perfect side dish to an Indian meal.

Ingredients: 11  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

  • Three to four medium potatoes, sliced
  • Two medium green capsicums, sliced
  • One medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • Two medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1.5 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons coriander powder
  • Half a teaspoon chilli powder
  • Quarter teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to season 
  • Three tablespoons of olive oil 

Heat oil in a wok. Add cumin seeds, once aromatic add onions and cook until lightly caramelised.

Once the onions are browned, add tomatoes. Followed by all the dried spices. Mix well and cook the onion tomato paste on a medium heat for five to seven minutes.


Now add the potatoes and mix well. Cover the pan, turn the heat down and cook the potatoes for ten to fifteen minutes.
Finally add the capsicum, season with salt and mix well. Coven the pan and cook the dish on a low heat for another 15 minutes. 


Your lip smackingly delicious Aloo Shimla mirch is ready to serve. Serve alongside dal tadka and plain yogurt, enjoy it with warm rotis or plain rice. 

Rajma (Red Kidney Bean Stew)

The Punjabi happy meal…

  

Growing up as a Punjabi kid life was very simple. There were three commandments to live by. First, beta nashta  kha lo ( eat your breakfast kiddo). Second, beta khaana kha lo (eat your lunch/dinner kiddo). Third, beta kuch aur kha lo ( eat something else kiddo). Life was all about breakfast, lunch and dinner and everything else sort of fit around it. 

Besides the three commandments one thing common in every Punjabi kids life is the Punjabi Happy Meal. No it’s not McDonalds because no self-respecting Punjabi mother would dare to feed their child that. It’s Rajma Chawal! A red kidney bean stew served on a bed of steamed basmati rice. Nothing says happy meal and happiness like this dish in a Punjabi household.

There is such depth and flavour in this curry.  It is like a mother has squeezed all the love out of her heart and put it straight into Rajma. 

  

Ingredients: 14 Cooking time: 90 minutes

Serves: 6

  • 400gms of Rajma (kidney beans)
  • One large onion, finely chopped
  • Four medium tomatoes, grated
  • One cinnamon stick
  • One large bayleaf
  • One teaspoon of cumin seeds 
  • 1.5 teaspoons of cumin powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons of coriander powder
  • One teaspoon of chilli
  • Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • Quarter teaspoon of asafoetida (hing)
  • Three tablespoons of ghee
  • Salt to season
  • Fresh coriander, chopped (for garnish)

Soak the kidney beans overnight or at least for five to six hours. This helps to break the protein, soften the beans and cook them quicker.

In a pressure cooker or a heavy bottom saucepan add the beans. Cover them with water, add cinnamon and bayleaf. Cook until the beans are soft and can be mashed between two fingers.

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For the tadka (tempering), heat ghee in a saucepan. Add asafoetida (hing), cumin seeds, once aromatic add onions and cook until onions are lightly browned.

Now add grated tomatoes, key for this stew is use the freshest tomatoes. Add all the dried spices. Cook on a medium heat for 10 to fifteen minutes.

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Add the beans and the broth. Season with salt. Cover the saucepan and let the stew cook on a low heat for about an hour.


Your lipsmackingly delicious kidney bean stew or Rajma are ready. Garnish with fresh coriander. Serve over steamed basmati rice and enjoy this happy meal with your beautiful family.

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Hyderabadi Baigan 

When memories create meals, they are one of a kind…

  

Many things in life are easy to forget but one seldom forgets a delicious dish. One such dish I found myself recently reminiscing about and relentlessly craving was Hyberabadi Baigan, also known as Bhagare Baigan. An eggplant curry inspired by flavours from Hyderabad, a former princely state in the southern belt of India.

Hyderabadi cuisine has evolved over centuries through local and foreign influences. The key ingredients of Hyderabadi cuisine are coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds. While the cuisine is more meat based, you can also find some real vegetarian gems in the mix.

Here’s my take on this Hyderabadi classic. To be enjoyed with parathas or rice,  every mouthful is lip smackingly delicious.

  

Ingredients: 15  Cooking time:  45 minutes

Serves: 6

  • 1.5 dozen of baby eggplants, quartered and soaking in water 
  • One medium-sized onion, sliced
  • Two medium tomatoes, quartered 
  • 200 gms of peanuts, roasted
  • 400 ml of coconut milk 
  • Six to eight curry leaves
  • One lemon sized tamarind ball or juice of one lemon
  • One bay large bay leaf
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • One teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Half teaspoon chilli powder 
  • One cinnamon stick
  • Three tablespoons of mustard oil
  • Vegetable oil for pan frying the eggplants.
  • Salt to season 
  • One teaspoon sugar

For tempering (optional)

  • One tablespoon of ghee
  • One teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Six to eight curry leaves

Begin by pan frying the quartered eggplants until they slightly change colour and are soft. Keep aside.

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To make the sauce, heat oil in a kadahi or a heavy based pot. If you can’t find mustard oil you can use vegetable oil, ghee or olive oil.

Once the oil is aromatic add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and curry leaves. When the spices splutter and are aromatic add sliced onions. Cook until onions are slightly caramelised.

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Now add roasted peanuts and mix well. Cook onion and peanuts for about five to seven minutes. Then add the tomatoes and dried spices. Mix well. 

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While the tomatoes soften, soak the tamarind ball in quarter cup hot water. Once soft squeeze the pulp and strain the juice. If you don’t have tamarind you can also use juice of one lemon. Add the tamarind  juice, one teaspoon of sugar and two cups of water to the tomato mix. 

Give the ingredients a good stir. Once it comes to a boil turn the gas off and let the gravy cool. Then blend until smooth. Finally add coconut milk to the gravy, season with salt and cover the pot and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes on a low heat.

  
Now the gravy is ready for the eggplants. Drop eggplants gently into the gravy. Let the gravy simmer again for 10 to 15 minutes so the eggplants soak in all the flavour.

 

Last step is to add the tadka or temper the gravy with aromatic flavours of mustard seeds and curry leaves. Heat ghee in a skillet. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once they splutter and are aromatic add to the curry and mix well to infuse the flavours.

Your lip smackingly delicious Hyderabadi Baigan are ready to be served. 

  

Kashmiri Paneer

And just like that sometimes magic happens…

 

Being back in Bombay is great, catching up with friends, eating Maa’s home cooked food and basically just being a lady of leisure.

One evening when my foodie best friend decided to come over, it was going to be an evening of endless cups of tea. Of course as we are both devout foodies it was not going to stop there. Moreover with paneer in the fridge beckoning to be cooked, we were in for some kind of treat.

On raiding my mum’s pantry, I found an assortment of beautiful fresh spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and the most fragrant, aromatic dried kashmiri chillies. Hence the name Kashmiri Paneer.

Ingredients: 15    Cooking time: 30 mins

Serves: 6

  • 500 gms of Paneer, cubed
  • 100 ml of milk
  • Two medium tomatoes, sliced
  • Two medium onions, sliced
  • 125 gms of cashew nuts, roasted
  • Four cardamom pods, crushed
  • Four to five cloves
  • One cinnamon stick
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • One teaspoon coriander seeds
  • One teaspoon chilli powder
  • Two to three dry Kashmiri chillies
  • Quarter teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
  • Three tablespoons of ghee or olive oil
  • Salt to season 

In a heavy based saucepan heat two tablespoons of ghee or olive oil. Add asafoetida, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Once aromatic add onions and cook on a medium heat until translucent.

Add tomatoes and chilli powder. Cook until tomatoes are soft. Now add roasted cashews (keep a handful aside for garnish), cardamom pods, milk and one cup of water. 

Simmer the gravy on a low heat for four to five minutes. Turn the heat off and blend the gravy until smooth. Add water if needed to bring the gravy to desired consistency. Season with salt to taste. Mix well.

In another pan add some olive oil and pan sear the paneer until golden brown. Drop the paneer chunks into the velvety smooth gravy. Note, frying the paneer is optional. The dish will taste just as good if you choose not to fry the paneer.

For the garnish, heat one tablespoon of ghee in a pan. Roughly chop remaining cashews and add to the pan. Break Kashmiri chillies into halves and add to the pan. Once aromatic pour the cashew chilli mix on to the gravy.

Your lip smackingly delicious Kashmiri paneer is ready to be devoured. It tastes best when served with flaky namkeen parathas, you can find the recipe here.

  

Vegetable Pulao

Happy New Year…

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 I am a little bit late but as they say better late than never. Here’s wishing all you gorgeous people out there a very happy, healthy and proposerous new year. 

If you are anything like me you’ve probably already broken your New Years ‘eating healthy’ and ‘losing weight resolution. After all #yolo, so just eat those carbs. The key to a healthy lifestyle is not going without anything but having everything in moderation.

Today’s recipe is one that is cooked and savoured in every Indian home. It proudly embraces carbs, veggies and is packed with loads of flavour. An easy weeknight meal or lazy weekend lunch, a vegetable pulao perfectly lends itself to any occasion. It’s also a fuss free dish as you can use any vegetables fresh or frozen and the dish will still taste amazeballs!

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Ingredients:  12    Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

  • Two cups of basmati rice
  • Half a cauliflower, cut into florets
  • One cup peas
  • One cup of carrots, sliced
  • Two tomatoes, finely chopped
  • One red onion, finely sliced
  • One large bayleaf
  • One large cinnamon stick
  • Five to six cloves
  • 1.5 teaspoons of garam masala
  • 1.5 tablespoons of ghee
  • Salt to season

Begin by thoroughly rinsing basmati rice. Let them soak for about 15-20 mintues prior to cooking. Then cook the rice, ensuring not to overcook them.

In another heavy bottom saucepan heat and melt ghee. Add bay leaf, cinnamon and cloves. Once aromatic add sliced onions and cook on a medium heat for five to seven minutes, until caramelised.

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Now add chopped tomatoes and mix the ingredients well. Add garam masala, stir well and cook until tomatoes are soft.   

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Toss the vegetables through the onion tomato paste. Season with salt and cook until vegetables are slightly tender. Personally I prefer them to be slightly crunchy, it gives the dish a great texture.  

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Now add cooked rice and gently toss them through. Your lip smackingly delicious vegetable pulao is ready to serve. Serve it hot along with a cooling cucumber raita (raita recipe can be found here )

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Pumpkin Dal

Cause’ tonight is the night when two become one and its DALICIOUS!!!

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My fridge may not always be stocked up but my pantry always is! I make sure I am always fully stocked with dried herbs, spices, lentils, noodles, pasta, ghee, mustard oil and olive oil. These are few of my favourite things. In terms of fresh produce I always tend to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. This way you get the best produce, for a fraction of a cost and there is hardly any wastage.

So one night when all I had in my fridge was half a pumpkin and curry leaves. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, until I looked in my pantry and found a can of brown lentils and black sesame seeds. Just like that this dish came together. Serve it with a side of steamed rice or naan bread or just eat it like a soup, it’s delicious.

Ingredients: 15  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

  • Half a pumpkin, cubed ( I used kent pumpkin)
  • One can (400gms) of brown lentils
  • One red onion, finely sliced
  • One tomato, finely chopped
  • 8 -10 fresh curry leaves
  • Three to four garlic pods, coarsely chopped
  • Half a bunch of coriander (stem and leaves), coarsely chopped
  • Two to three green chillies, finely chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • One teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Half a teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to season
  • Two tablespoons of mustard oil
  • One tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (for garnish)

Heat mustard oil in a pan. Add garlic, once aromatic add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, green chillies and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds begin to splutter and curry leaves start crackling, add onion, coriander stem and cook until onions are lightly browned.  

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Now add the tomato, cook on a medium heat until the tomato is soft. Then add pumpkin cubes and turmeric powder. Mix well. Finally add the lentils (rinse thoroughly before adding them to the dish), four cups of water, lemon juice and season with salt. Cover the pan with a lid and let the dal simmer for 15-20 minutes.  

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Now add the remaining coriander, stir the dal well. Let it simmer for another five to seven minutes.The pumpkin should now be really tender and the lentils broken down. This gives the dal a smooth texture.   

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Your lip smackingly delicious pumpkin dal is now ready to serve. Garnish it with toasted black sesame seeds and serve on a bed of steamed rice or with some naan or just devour it by itself. Foodgasm is guaranteed. 

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