Minestrone Soup

I am fortunate to stay next to a hotel management institute (NITHM Hyderabad). They have recently started cooking classes on Saturdays and I got to attend the basics of Italian cooking class. The classes were well conducted and I got some good recipes to try. Made this soup on a windy evening and it was the perfect comfort food one could have asked for.

Minestrone Soup


  1. For this recipe all the veggies need to be cut with the Brunoise cut. Cut 1 cup of cabbage, 1/2  red capsicum and 1/2 yellow capsicum, 10 beans and 1 small carrot into cuboid pieces.
  2. In a deep bottomed vessel, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil. When hot, add 4-5 cloves of finely chopped garlic and saute. 
  3. When the garlic is sauteed add 1 medium sized finely chopped onion and saute till the onion is pink and translucent.
  4. Now add cabbage, beans and carrot and capsicum and saute for 5 mins till they are all well coated with oil.
  5. Add 2 finely chopped tomatoes (deseed and then cut into cubes) and saute well till the tomatoes are soft. Add 1 tbsp of tomato paste.
  6. Add 2 fistfuls of macaroni pasta and 2-3 cups of water to cover all the vegetables and the pasta.
  7. Add pepper, salt according to taste and a pinch of sugar.
  8. Mix well and let it cook till the pasta is cooked. Adjust water and spices according to the consistency you want.
  9. Make cheese pesto balls with grated parmesan cheese and finely chopped basil. Add this to the soup just before serving.

Grate some parmesan cheese over the hot soup bowl before serving
Ambe Hummane(also called Ambe Upkari) has been a regular affair in the summers for ages. It is a typical Konkani dish and I wonder if mango is cooked this way in any other cuisine.This dish is made from the smaller mangoes which can only be eaten by sucking out the flesh(called ghonto in Konkani).

This summer I stored some of these mangoes after deskinning them in the freezer. They were perfect even after 4 months and tasted just like fresh mangoes.

While trying to write this blog entry, I tried to think of how can I name this Konkani dish in English and I think the English name I came up with just doesnt give the essence of this dish..anyone has a better suggestion??please leave a comment

Ripe Mango Gravy (Ambe Hummane)

1. Remove the skins of around 8 mangoes and squeeze out any pulp from the skins.

2. Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan. When hot add 1 tsp mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add 1 tsp urad dal. Add 1 green chilli, 2-3 red chillies slit in half, 10-15 curry leaves and saute till the urad dal is slightly reddish in color. 
2. Now add the mangoes and 1 cup water. Add 1 tsp jaggery (you can add more if your mangoes are not sweet), 1/2 tsp salt.
3.  Close the lid and cook for a good 10 mins on low flame.

4. You can garnish with some grated coconut and serve this as a side dish.

We have a lot of Tulu friends and this is one dish I love in their cuisine. Very elaborate dish but is so good that I dont mind spending the extra time in kitchen to cook it.

Cooked it recently for one special set of friends who love Mangalorean cuisine. 

Chicken Sukka - Dry Spicy Chicken with Coconut (Tulu Style)


  1. Clean and cut 1 kg chicken pieces into cube sized pieces along with the bone and keep aside.
  2. In a pressure cooker, take 2 tbsp oil and heat. When hot, add 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp jeera seeds and when they splutter add 5/6 sprigs of curry leaves. The curry leaves give a distinct flavor to this dish and hence feel free to go heavy on them
  3. Now after sauteeing it for 2-3 mins, add 1 finely chopped onion and some salt. Saute the onion till it is pinkish in color.
  4. Now add the chicken and saute it well. 
  5. As the chicken is cooking, dry roast 1 tsp coriander seeds, 7-8 dried red chillies, 10 pepper corns, 5-6 garlic pods, 1 inch dalchini, 1/2 tsp jeera, 4-5 cloves, 1/2 tsp khus khus(poppy seeds) with 2 tsp of onion and 2 tsp of grated coconut till the aroma of the spices fills up your kitchen. Let this cook for some time and then grind it to a coarse paste in the grinder.
  6. Add this to the chicken, mix well  and pressure cook it for 1 whistle. Pressure cooking though not the best way to cook meat, is the easiest and hence I took this option. You can just cover the pan with a lid and cook for 15-20 mins till chicken is cooked. Adjust the water according to the consistency you want. I like it to have some gravy so that it goes well with chapatis.
  7. Now again dry roast, 1 cup grated coconut, pinch of haldi and 5-6 pods of garlic and 1/2 tsp jeera till coconut is slightly brown. Grind this to a coarse paste
  8. Add it to the chicken when chicken is almost done. Mix well and cook for 3-4 mins with lid on. You can add some more curry leaves for additional flavors.
  9. You can serve this with chappatis, hot neer dosas or in this case we made Rice Rotis (Tandlachi Bhakri). Here is the recipe of these awesome Rice Rotis 
Chicken Vindaloo is a Goan dish which proudly sits on the menus of many famous Indian restaurants abroad, next to the Indian Chicken curry. I have been wanting to cook this dish for long. Recently saw this in dish being featured again in one of my favorite shows "Twist of Taste - Coastal curries" by Vikas Khanna and that spurred me to find the best recipe online and cook it.
Just finished cooking this dish and must say its a beautiful dish. The tanginess of the vinegar dominates; followed by the sweetness from the caramalised onions and jaggery and the spiciness of the chillies.

History has it that this is a Portuguese dish which means Wine, Garlic and Pork ( The original dish has no "aloo" or potatoes but I found many recipes online with potatoes. Decided to cook mine without potatoes or tomatoes. So this recipe has just the goodness of chicken with onions, vinegar and spices.

Here is my version of Chicken Vindaloo.

Chicken Vindaloo


  1. Dry roast 2 tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds,1/2 tsp fenugreed seeds,  7-8 dried red chillies (I used Byadgi chillies), 1 tsp pepper seeds, 1 bay leaf, 2 inch cinnamon, 2 cardamoms, 4-5 garlic pods, 1/2 inch of ginger for 2 mins on a low flame ensuring you dont char out the spices. Cool these spices and then grind them to a fine powder in the mixie.
  2. Marinate 750 gms of chicken with the spice mixture, salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric and 4 tbsp white vinegar. Add 1 tsp of grated jaggery and mix well. Let it rest on the kitchen counter for 3-4 hours. You can also leave the marinade overnight.
  3. Now take a pan and add 2 tbsp ghee to it. Once the ghee is hot, add 1 tsp of mustard seeds. 
  4. When the seeds start spluttering, add 3-4 cloves. Now add 3 finely chopped medium sized onions. Add some salt and start sweating the onion till it is brown. finely grate 3-4 garlic pods and another 1/2 inch ginger into the pan and saute for another minute
  5. Now add the marinated chicken and saute it for 7-8 mins.
  6. Add 2 cups of water and let it cook with lid on for 30 mins on a low flame. Keep stirring occasionally. When the chicken is cooked, open the lid and cook for another 10 mins for the water to evaporate
  7. You will be left with a fine thick gravy. Garnish it with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve with rotis or rice.

Singapore Chilli Crabs

"Singapore Chilli crabs" was the best dish I tasted in Singapore. It is called the unofficial national dish of Singapore. Recently had a craving for this dish and I went looking for crab here in Hyderabad. We dont get the kind of meaty crabs here but then had to make do with what we get here.
Looked online for Singapore Chilli crab recipes and came up with this one which is a mish mash of the different elements from recipes found online

Here is how the original dish looked
Singapore Chilli Crabs

and this is how my dish looked

Singapore Chilli Crabs

  1. Clean and scrub 3 crabs and crack the legs and claws with a spoon so that the masala can seep in. Keep aside
  2. Clean and remove the skin of 2 onions and pulse it with 5-6 red chillies to a coarse paste
  3. Take 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Fry the onion chilli paste till the raw smell of the onions goes off. I grated in 1 inch of ginger and 5-6 garlic pods too into this onion paste and fried it well till cooked.
  4. Add paste of 2 tomatoes along with 1 tbsp tomato  puree or ketchup and saute in the onion mixture. Bring it to a boil.
  5. Add 1 tsp white vinegar, 2 tsp light soya sauce, salt to taste, pinch of sugar. I also added 2 sticks of lemon grass for additional flavors. You can add some red chilli sauce too in case you prefer it hot.
  6. When the paste is well cooked, add  the crabs and mix well. Add a cup of water to cover the crabs and cover and cook for 15 mins on medium flame. 
  7. Beat an egg in a bowl. Now remove the lid of the crab gravy and add the egg with one hand stirring the gravy with the other. Cook for another 5 mins so that the extra water evaporate
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve

Here is video of one of the recipes I followed

I had never tried a microwave cake before. Recently  my dear friend Deepali Paul's son Ishaan Paul gave me this recipe. Tried it and is such an easy recipe that have already made it 3 times in the last 3 months. Its an extremely gooey cake (almost a brownie) and tastes really good with vanilla icecream.

Chocolate walnut cake (Microwave recipe)


  1. Microwave 120 gms of butter and 100 gms of dark chocolate for 1 min in a bowl and let it cool.
  2. Stir in 250 gm powdered sugar in the bowl and mix well
  3. Add 2 eggs one by one beating it all the time with a spoon. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla essence
  4. Stir in 80 gms of maida (flour) . Add 1/4 tsp baking soda and fold them both in the chocolate mixture.
  5. Stir in 50 gms of chopped walnuts. Leave some for garnishing on top.
  6. Line a baking glass tray with butter and spread the mixture. Garnish with walnuts
  7. Microwave for 4 mins and 30 secs. Take the cake out and let it stand for 2 mins before you cut it into pieces

Kadhai Paneer

Wanted to cook a good vegetarian side dish for a party the other day. Wanted to try out some recipe with bell peppers and hence decided to cook this one. The spice mix in the recipe gives it a unique rustic taste. 

Kadhai Paneer

  1. Heat a pan. Dry roast 9- 10 pepper corns, 5-6 dried red chillies, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp fennel seeds  till the kitchen is full of the aroma from the spice mix. Add a pinch of  fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi) and saute for a few secs and then let the spice mix cool down. Grind it to a coarse powder. Keep 2 tsp aside for garnishing.
  2. Heat 2 tsp of butter in a pan. When the butter melts, add half of the above powder mix and fry well.
  3. Add 1 onion cut into cubes into the pan. Fry it for some time and add 1/2 a red bell pepper and 1/2 yellow pepper. Fry well. 
  4. Blanch 2 tomatoes and then puree them and add it to the pan and cook till the raw smell of tomatoes goes off.
  5. Then add 1 tsp chilly powder, 1 tsp garam masala powder, salt to taste, pinch of sugar, and mix well.
  6. Add 250 gms of paneer cubes and mix well. Sprinkle 2 tsp kadai masala and add pinch of crushed kasuri methi and mix well.
  7. You can add cream and coriander leaves too but I skipped it.
  8.  Serve with roti
Felt like cooking a simple lunch today. Did not want to spend too much time in the kitchen and yet wanted to eat something tasty. 
Here is my quick and easy recipe which doesnt take more than 15 mins of cooking time.

Pan fried Chicken with Butter


  1. Clean and pat dry 2 chicken breasts. Cut them into 2 layers horizontally if too thick
  2. Take 1 tbsp of olive oil, add some pepper powder and 1 tsp lemon juice. Adjust the salt and marinate the chicken for 30 mins.
  3. Take a pan and add 2 tbsp of butter into it. When the butter starts frothing, add 2 pods of crushed garlic. Add the chicken breasts to the hot pan and let it cook on each side for 2 mins on a medium flame. 
  4. Add some water (you can add chicken stock for added taste) to the pan to get a good buttery sauce.
  5. Add freshly chopped basil to the pan and cook the chicken for another 2 mins each side.
  6. Serve chicken with the sauce poured over the top.

Roast Baby Potatoes

A simple baked starter for parties. Easy to cook and full of flavor.

Roast Baby Potatoes
1. Clean and par boil baby potatoes in salty water till they are about 50% cooked. Remember to take care that the potato skin should not shrivel. Strain the potatoes and keep aside to cool
2. Make a mixture of 2 tbsp olive oil with 5-6 pods of crushed garlic, rosemary, pepper, sea salt and chilli flakes.
3. Preheat an oven for 15 mins at 160 degress Celsius. 
4. Add the potatoes to a baking dish. Add the marinade on top and then bake it in the oven for around 30 mins. Midway through stir/rotate the potatoes so that they are evenly cooked. Check with a fork at the around 20 mins and adjust the timings of the oven accordingly.
5. Remove the potatoes from the oven when golden in colour and tender

A very good step by step approach is given here 
Wanted to try out different fruit cake recipes and decided to try this orange and chocolate cake recipe that I saw on Nigella's website. I have modified it heavily though the inspiration is from this page.

Here is my recipe with liberal chocolate gratings which is not part of the original recipe. The moistness in this cake makes it yumm!

Sticky Moist Chocolate Orange Cake


  1. Preheat the over at 160 degrees Celsius for 20 mins.
  2. In the meantime, add  250 gms flour, 200 gms powdered sugar,  100 gms butter, 2 eggs,  and 50 gms of Hung curd and mix well. 
  3. Add around 2 tsp of powdered orange rind, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract ,100 ml orange juice (I used canned juice but fresh orange juice will taste better), 1 tsp cinnamon powder, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda into the mixture  bowl and mix well.
  4. Mix till you get a a smooth, thick batter. In case the batter is very thick you can add some milk to get it to the right consistency.
  5. Prepare a baking tin with butter and sprinkle flour on it.
  6. Add the cake mixture in one thin 1 cm layer in the baking tin. Grate some chocolate on the batter and then spread the next layer of orange batter.Grate some more chocolate on the cake and put it into the oven.
  7. Bake it in the oven for 40 mins, but start checking at 30 mins.You can check the centre of the cake with a tester. The cake is ready when the tester comes out clean.
  8. Remove the cake to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the tin
  9. As the cake is baking, boil 100 ml of orange juice with 2 tsps sugar till the juice thickens. Keeps aside to cool. 
  10. When the cake is out, prick it with a toothpick in multiple places and then pour the orange juice. The juice will soak up immediately to give you the moist orange cake.The orange juice mixture gives the cake a good glazing.
Your delicious orange cake is ready to be devoured!

Matki Misal

Have always been a fan of the Maharashtrian misal. Today we tried cooking the matki misal. The sweet and sour taste of this dish is balanced well by the chilli to give a healthy lentil soup. Ideal for breakfast or evening snacks. This can also be eaten with a pav to make it more filling.

Matki Misal

1. For matki sprouts,  Soak 100 gms of matki(moth beans) in water overnight. Drain the water the next morning and tie this in a fine muslin cloth so that it starts sprouting,
2. Soak some 2 small marble sized  tamarind in water and then squeeze it well to make 2 tbsp of tamarind water and keep aside
3. In a pan, heat 1 tbsp oil . When hot, add 1 tsp mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter add handful of curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida. To this add 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder and a pinch of haldi and saute for a few minutes on a low flame.
4.  Add the matki sprouts and water to get a gravy with very thin consistency, Add 1 small marble sized ball of jaggery (or according to taste) and the tamarind water. Add salt according to taste. Bring it to a good boil and then turn of the flame.
5. Serve with farsan and finely chopped coriander leaves.

Tried this awesome Chicken with dried red chillies in Singapore and decided to recreate it.This is my own version which is a mish mash of a few recipes I found online.

Chicken with dried chillies


  1. Marinate 500 gms of chicken with bones with 2 tsp soya sauce, 3 garlic cloves peeled and grated, 1 tsp red chilli sauce, 1 tsp vinegar, 1 tsp pepper powder 1 tsp honey and salt and keep aside for an hour.
  2. Take 2 tsbp olive oil in a pan and heat it. When hot, deep fry 10 dried red chillies and keep aside. In the same oil deep fry 1 inch ginger which is cut into long thin slices and keep aside. Fry handful of peanuts and keep aside
  3. In the same oil, sear the chicken in batches along with the marinade till they are almost cooked. 
  4. Make a mixture of 1 tsp soya sauce, 1/2 tsp red chilli sauce, pepper, 1/2 tsp honey and 1/2 tsp vinegar or according to your taste, add 1 tsp of cornflour and keep it aside. 
  5. Add back the chillies, ginger and peanuts and the above marinade. Mix well and stir fry for 5 more minutes. Garnish with spring onions cut into long thin slices.

Paneer Methi Malai Mirch

Never get tired of paneer dishes. Was looking for something new to cook today when I came across this dish on to cook and goes well with rotis.

Paneer Methi Malai Mirch


  1. Take 2 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker. When hot, add 2 finely chopped onions and saute it till light pink. To this add 2 finely chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp chilly powder, 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder. Mix it well put the lid on and let it cook for 15 mins in a slow flame (2-3 whistles) till cooked well. This paste can be used as a base for your gravies. You can store this in the fridge for future use.
  2.  Heat 2 tsp butter in a pan. When hot, add 1 tsp of nicely crushed kasoori methi. Saute it for a minute. Add 1 cup bell peppers (red , yellow) and 1/4 kg paneer cut into cubes.
  3. Add onion florets to this mixture and saute well in the butter till the capsicum is cooked. 
  4. Now add 2 tbsp of the above onion gravy and saute well. Add some water and put the lid on and cook till the gravy reaches a boil.
  5. Add 1 tbsp cream to the gravy and mix well.Cook for a few mins and then turn off the flame.
  6. Garnish with coriander and Serve with hot rotis.

Though Yash and me are both GSBs, I am amazed at how recipes and the food we eat differ so significantly even though the distance between our hometowns must be less than 200 kms. 
Puli Koddel is one such dish which we had never cooked at our home but is a delicacy for Yash's family. So I decided to learn this one and cooked it the other day. Turned out pretty much like it is cooked at Yash's home in Dakshin Kanara.

Puli Koddel (Konkani Ash gourd Curry)


  1. Roast 3 tsp coriander seeds, 3 tsp till seeds,  2 tsps black gram dal, 2 tsps bengal gram dal, pinch of turmeric, pinch of asafoetida (hing), 1 tsp raw rice, 3 tbsp grated cocounut, 8 dried  red chillies with a little oil till brown.
  2. Grind all ingredients with 1 marble sized tamarind to a coarse paste
  3. In a vessel, boil deskinned ash gourd(I used about 1/4 of an ash gourd)  cut into 1 inch pieces with sufficient water. Add 1 lime sized jaggery while boiling.
  4. Now when the ash gourd is sufficiently soft, add the ground masala. Adjust the salt and bring it to boil.
  5. Remove from flame.
  6. In a small pan, give tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add it to the koddel and cover for the flavors to assimilate in the curry.
  7. Eat with hot rice.

Maida dosa

Just realised how life becomes easy thanks to technology...earlier I used to click photos with my camera and then download them, enhance them on my laptop and then write posts. the whole process was such a time taker that posting  became a cumbersome affair. Now with my new Nexus 5, I can click pics, enhance them and then blog from the comfort of my phone or also laptop...much easier..
Yes the quality of the pics may go down a bit but then it you need to give some to get some...


1. Take 3 cups of maida and 1 tbsp of rawa. To this add 2 tbsp grated coconut, salt, 2 very finely chopped green chillies and mix 2 cups of water.
2. Take a tempering pan, add coconut oil and 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and 1 sprig of curry leaves. Add this to the maida batter.
3. Adjust the water to get a watery consistency
4. Place tawa on flame. Smear with oil and spread the batter thinly  when the pan is hot. Once a side looks cooked (you can figure this out when the edges turn brownish), flip the dosa and cook the other side.
The rawa gives an added crispiness to this dosa. The seasoning is so good that you dont need chutney with this dosa. 

It is difficult to get fresh seafish here in Hyderabad. However got some really good pomfret the other day at Matsya darshini which is on Road no 10, Bajara Hills. Cooked a variation of the normal Konkani fish fry with slightly added south indian flavors from Kadipatta and garlic. 
We liked this variation over my normal fish fry...

Deep fried Pomfret (Konkani Style)


  1. Crush handful of curry leaves and 3-4 garlic pods using a mortar and pestle. Add pinch of turmeric, 1/2 tsp of jeera powder, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp red chilli powder,1 tsp tamarind extract and salt according to taste. I applied this paste to approximately 1 kg(before cleaning) of fish.
  2. Marinate thinly cut slices of black pomfret with this paste.
  3. Heat oil for deep frying in a pan. Mix 2 tbsp of Rawa (sooji) and 1 -2 tsp rice powder in a  plate. Roll the fish pieces in this powder and then deep fry till crispy brown.
  4. Serve hot!

Decided to cook some boneless chicken for dinner...thought that I should cook something low fat. Decided to use Dahi for the gravy and came up with this dish. 

Pretty simple dish to cook - The flavors of the dahi, capsicum and kasoori methi go very well in making this a very tasty dish.

Dahi Chicken


  1. Take 2 cups of dahi. Mix 2 green chillies slit finely. Add 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp garam masala, 1-2 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, pinch of haldi, a pinch of kasoori methi and salt.
  2. Mix 500 gms of boneless chicken in this marinade and set aside for atleast 30 mins.
  3. In a hot pan, add 2 tsp oil. When its hot, add 1 tsp cumin seeds. When they start spluttering, add 2 finely chopped onions. Fry well. Add 2-3 finely chopped garlic cloves.
  4. When onion is translucent, add 2 finely chopped tomatoes. 
  5. When the tomatoes are soft, add the above marinade with the chicken. 
  6. Cover and cook on a slow flame till the chicken is cooked. When chicken is 80% done, add finely cubed capsicum. Cover and cook for a few more minutes.
  7. You can adjust the consistency of the gravy according to your taste. You can open the lid and let all gravy cook till its dry if you want less gravy. I added a pinch of sugar to balance the tanginess.
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves and kasoori methi and serve with chapatis or rice.

As usual I love my one pot dishes for Sunday cooking - something that is easy to cook and tastes good too. Wanted to try something different today and came up with this recipe. Its my own creation and the combination of spices and vegetables my own too. Needless to say, yummy it was ;) - total comfort food for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Chickpeas Pulao with Cucumber Mint Raita

  1. Soak 1 cup of chickpeas overnight and pressure cook it in the morning for 3-4 whistles.
  2. Wash and soak 1 cup of Basmati rice in water for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Make a powder of 1 tsp aniseed, 3-4 cloves, 2 inch of cinammon and keep aside.
  4. Heat 2 tsp butter and 2 tsp ghee in a pressure cooker. When hot, add 1 tsp cumin seeds. When the start crackling add the aniseed powder mentioned above. Add grated 1 inch ginger and 3-4 pods of garlic. Add 2 finely sliced green chilies and mix well
  5. While sauteing, add 2 finely sliced onions and continue sauteing. Add some salt and saute till pink in color
  6. Add 2 finely chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup of blanched spinach and cook for 2 mins. 
  7. Add 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp garam masala powder and mix well.
  8. Let it cook for 2 mins, till the raw taste of the masalas is gone.
  9. Add rice and chick peas and add 3 cups of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles. After 2 whistles, let the pressure cooker cool before you open it.
  10. Sprinkle some  chaat masala while serving.
  11. I served this with Cucumber Mint raita, the recipe for which follows.

Cucumber Mint Raita
  1. Grate 1 cucumber; place it into a sieve and drain out the excess water
  2. Add 1 handful of finely chopped mint. Add 1 finely chopped spring onion(both whites and greens). Add 2 small green chillies finely chopped. 
  3. Now add 1 cup curd, salt, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp chat powder and 1/2 tsp rock salt. Add normal salt while adjust for salt and mix well.
  4. Refrigerate before serving

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