Thursday, November 29, 2012

Guest Post for Sailu's Kitchen: Khandeshi Cuisine

Sailaja of Sailu's Kitchen is one of the most popular blogger out there. I am sure you all are fans of her ever popular series Indian Food Trail just like me! She has showcased the everyday Indian cuisine from various regions of India.

She reached out to me to write about Khandeshi Cuisine for this series. I was very excited and nervous at the same time as its not easy to fill in the shoes of bloggers like Nupur, Meera, Sandeepa and others.   But with encouragement from some friends and Sailu herself,  decided to write. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Please hop over to Sailu's Kitchen to read about Khandeshi Cuisine.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Kanda Bhajji - Onion Fritters


(Link to Marathi Recipe)

College life reminds me of the great pleasures for Tapari Chai and Kanda Bhaji. Most of the college campuses in those days had similar look and feel to it. Main gate and lots of small shops called Taparis along he college fence. You could smell the deep fried goodies like Kanda bhaji, Batata Vada around 4pm. That was the time when students and professors would go to get the daily dose of afternoon tea. These shops had limited menu. Morning they would serve tea, coffee, pohe, upama, cream roles, Parle G biscuits. Some would make fresh omelets per order.  Sabudana khichdi served on some religious fasting days and that's about it! Tea was served through out the day, mostly by adding more tea-sugar-milk-water to the same old concoction! If someone is too keen to get the fresh batch, they had to special order and wait until its made. Stores usually run by the owner and a helper and every patron got they asked for without writing the order and in the most chaotic times! At the time tea was Rs.2 per glass, Pohe-Upama  Rs.3 per plate, Kanda bhaji 5 bhajis in a plate for Rs.2, perfect for on-budget students.

Enjoy

I am sure things have changed drastically now. I recently went to my old university and saw our usual Tapri is no longer there. Neighborhood looked very different! I don't know where do the college kids go to get their daily dose of afternoon tea.

I learned this Kanda Bhajji recipe from one of these shop vendors, he was kind enough to share secrets of not using baking soda. Even though I love these so much, I rarely make them. Recently my sister-in-law made it for my father on his birthday and I took chance to take some nice photographs. Her recipe is exactly same as mine.

2 cups Thinly Sliced Red Onion 
2-3 tsp Red Chili Powder (or per taste)
2 tsp Salt (or per taste)
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Ajwain (Carrom Seeds/Bishop's Weed)
2-3 cups Chick Pea Flour/Besan (as needed)
1/2 cup Chopped Cilantro
Water (if and only if needed)

Oil for Deep Frying

Kanda Bhajji Batter

Preparation -
Layer sliced onion in a plate, sprinkle little bit of salt and let it stand for 15-20 minutes. If the mixture is too juicy, gently drain extra juices. If not, add crushed ajwain, red chili powder and mix well.
Start adding chick pea flour little bit at a time. Add more salt if needed.
Mix the batter well. Consistency of the batter should not be watery but you should be able to make fritters with spoon.
Heat oil in frying pan, drop little bit of batter, it should sizzle and float on top of the oil.
Now add 2-3 tbsp hot oil with the ready batter, mix thoroughly.
Carefully drop 4-5 fritters in hot oil and deep fry until golden brown.
Enjoy while piping hot to warm with hot cup of tea on a rainy afternoon.

Ready

These beauties are on their way to MLLA-53 currently hosted by Simona and is brainchild of Susan

Tips - 
  1. These are also known as Khekda (crab) bhaji because of their shape. 
  2. We also add green chili-garlic-ginger paste instead of red chili powder. It tastes amazing too.
  3. Add just 2-3 tbsp rice flour, it gives nice crunch to the fritters.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Diwali!

As kids me and my brother were more interested in firecrackers than anything. I remember we used to divide the firecrackers in exactly half. No one should get even a single cracker more than the other! But that did not last very long, we both outgrew the fun of firecrackers at much earlier age. We would but just few fulbaji/fuljhadi, few anaars and few bhoo chakra and that is about it. We used that money on good books. Now a days, for me Diwali is all about food and decorating. Rangoli, Toran, and nicely decorated Diyas makes it more special for me.

Here are some traditional treats for Diwali -




Sprinkled









A Closeup  


 


Bhadang


Homemade Shev  

Wish you all a very Happy Diwali!




Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Khandesh Special: Daal Batti Or Daal Bafale


In old days, people traveled from one town to other by bullock carts and sometimes for days! And they traveled light, with minimum belongings with them. Women of the house would carry enough things to eat for everyone for a day or two. If you were going to travel more, then they carried wheat flour, toor daal, some chili powder & salt, couple of plates, couple of big vessels. Hotels and motels were almost impossible to find in smaller towns or villages. If traveling through a bigger town with market and have enough money to spend, then they bought vegetables etc. If not, then cook with whatever is available.

Daal Batti is one such dish that was prepared mainly on such long journeys. It is very similar to the Daal-Baati of Rajasthan but still different. My father-in-law narrates the whole process of making this Khandesh special dish very well. This is just an attempt to write all the details in a post.

A ditch of size 3'x3'x10" is made in the ground by digging evenly. While that is getting ready, few people will start making fire using coal, collected firewood and dried cow dung. Wait until the flames subside and coal is burning nicely then half of the coals is spread at the bottom of the ditch. Fire is now covered with Banana leaves. While this is going on, few people are preparing the dough.

Coarsely ground wheat flour, ajwain, salt, turmeric and some hot oil is mixed together in a dough. Dough consistency is kept hard and kneading very little (just like pie crust). Dough is then divided in equal parts and made into 3-4 inch balls.

Once all the balls are ready they are  spread in single layer on the banana leaves which are spread over the fire. These balls are then covered with few more banana leaves, remaining coals are spread over these banana leaves and completely covered with soil. Let it cook for an hour without disturbing it.

Meanwhile, a make shift stove is made from three big rocks and some firewood collected from around. Toor daal, water and pinch turmeric is cooked in a large pot. Add salt once the daal is cooked well. Let it cook bit more adding water as needed. Simple daal is ready!!!

Carefully open the ditch, remove coals, and take out fully cooked Battis. Everyone takes one or two or more per their appetite. The battis are done well and break easily when pressed in the palms. Its crumbled and made into a well on a banana leaf. Pour as much plain daal in the middle of the well. Add ghee if you have any and enjoy!!

Now let's see a quick demo of how these battis are made in our home in India -


Let's see the recipe -
3-4 cups of Coarsely Ground Wheat Flour
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Ajwain (Carom Seeds)
 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 cup Oil
Salt per taste
Water as needed

Daal-Batti-Prep

Preparation -
Start making fire with coals and firewood in a small BBQ pit.
Mix salt, ajwain and turmeric powder in wheat flour.
Make a well in the flour.
Heat oil in a small kadhai. Add a pinch of dry flour, if it sizzles immediately then the oil is ready.
Pour hot oil in the well. Mix carefully with spoon.
Mix little water at a time just enough to make the ball. Do not make soft dough.
Make 3"-4" size balls carefully pinching the rough edges and making the balls smooth.
By now fire should be subsiding and coals are hot and ready.
Place the balls carefully on the coals.
Keep turning the balls and avoid burning. Balls should be roasted from all the sides.

Remove from the heat, set them aside. If there is ash on the battis, wipe them with wet tissue.

How to serve/eat?
Daal Batti - Everything served

Make plain daal - Cook toor daal, add water salt, turmeric and hing. Boil for few minutes.
Brake the battis with hand, crumble into coarse crumbs.
Make well with these crumbs, add plain daal in the middle and little bit of ghee.
Enjoy as many as you am with Eggplant bhaji and Amsool kadhi.

Tips -
  1. If you do not have BBQ pit, you can bake these in oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. If making in the oven I will suggest making the balls flat. 
  3. Bake one side for 15 min, other side for 10 min. 
  4. Another way to cook these, is boil the battis in hot water until they look whitish from outside. These are called Daal-Bafale. Once these are boiled, some people deep fry them in ghee(!!). Or bake then by spraying oil over them.



Saturday, November 03, 2012

Diwali Special: Karanji


(Link to Marathi Recipe)

Karanji in Marathi
Gujiya in Hindi
Karajikayi in Kannada


Karanji comes under 'must have' for us Maharashtrians for Diwali! Diwali faral is incomplete without these crescent shaped delicacy. My mom makes karanjis and Chirote on Dhanatrayodashi day. She makes these with few different fillings and those fillings are usually made 3-4 days ahead of time making things bit easy on the day. Here are the fillings she usually makes -
  1. Fresh Coconut + Sugar + Poppy Seeds 
  2. Dry coconut + Fine Semolina + Powdered Sugar + Poppy Seeds
  3. Wheat Flour + Dry Coconut + Sesame Seeds + Poppy Seeds + Fine Semolina 
  4. Khawa/Khoya + Sugar + Fresh Coconut
  5. Khowa/Khoya + Gulkand 
Making Karanjis is more or less whole day affair and it is very labor intensive. It is labor of love for sure! You forget everything when these beauties melt in your mouth at first bite. I made detailed video of the whole process to make baked karanjis, only issue you might face with that is the voice over in Marathi :)



Let's see how the whole process starts. I am making the Karanjis with filling 3 from the list above. This filling can be prepared up to 7-8 days ahead of time.
You will need -

2 cups Jaggery (Grated fine, pieces should not be bigger that a lentil grain)
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup Dry Coconut (Flakes or grated)
1/2 cup Superfine Rava/Semolina
1/2 cup Sesame Seeds
1/4 cup Poppy Seeds
3 tbsp Almond Oil
1 tsp Cardamom Powder
Pinch of Nutmeg

Filling Preparation - 
Dry roast coconut, sesame seeds, poppy seeds separately until golden brown.
Do NOT mix these together once they are roasted.
Roast semolina with 1 tbsp ghee/oil until golden brown. Set aside separately.
Roast whole wheat flour with remaining ghee/oil. Roast it until golden brown.
Coarsely grind poppy seeds, sesame seeds and coconut (in that order).
Fit 'S' shaped blade to the food processor bowl. 
Put everything, flour, nut powders, jaggery, cardamom-nutmeg, in the food processor.
Process it for 8-10 minutes.
Sieve through larger sieve to remove bigger chunks if any.
Your filling is ready.

To make the Karanjis by traditional method, here is what you need for the cover -
1/2 cup Rava/Semolina
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Sugar
2-3 tbsp Oil 
Milk+Water mixed together - As needed.
Oil for deep frying 

Cover Preparation - 
Heat oil in small kadhai.
Mix APF, rava, sugar, salt together in a big bowl. Make a well in the mixture.
Sprinkle pinch of flour in heating oil, flour should sizzle immediately.
Pour oil in the oil in flour mixture. Mix thoroughly with spoon.
Make stiff dough using little bit of water at a time.
Cover with damp towel and set aside for at least 2 hours.
After two hours pound the dough nicely for 15-20 minutes with stone mortar pestle.

Making traditional version of Karanjis -
Divide the dough in 4 equal sized balls. 
Roll thin chapati and spread 1 tbsp oil  evenly.
Now make tight roll, and cut into 1" pieces.
Continue with all the remaining dough and you should have about 40 pieces.
Cover these pieces with damp cloth all the time. This will keep the dough soft.
Take one small piece and roll into about 3-4" diameter puri.
Hold the puri in hand, pinch on the side, and add 1-2 tbsp filling.
Carefully close the karanji. Now press it on the cutting board, and carefully remove the extra dough from the side using karanji cutter.
Continue with remaining balls. Cover prepared karanjis with cloth.
Once all the karanjis are ready,  deep fry in medium hot oil.
Karanjis are now ready! 

Making Baked version of Karanjis -
1 cup APF
1.5 tbsp Earth Balance (or butter)
1.5 tbsp Oil
Pinch of Salt
Ice Cold Water - as needed

Baked Karanji Preparation -
Add salt, oil and earth balance to APF, mix just for few minutes.
Using very little ice cold water at a time make dough. Do not use too much water. The dough is not soft. Do not over work the dough.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour (at least).
Remove the dough from fridge. Do not wor
Divide the dough into 40-45 balls, make karanjis as mentioned above.
Once all the karanjis are ready, preheat oven at 375F.
Line the baking sheet with parchment paper, arrange prepared karanjis and bake them for 15-20 minutes.
Check after 12 minutes and decide the baking time.

Tips - 
  1. You can press the karanjis with fork if you do not have karanji cutter. 
  2. You can also try 'murad' (twisted edge) as shown in the video shared above. 
  3. You can use these dough recipe with any kind of filling mentioned above.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Coffee Break: Instant Coffee with Touch of Nutmeg!

(Link to original Marathi post

My mom makes excellent traditional style coffee, the kind you boil coffee, milk, sugar, nutmeg on stovetop. All her friends and siblings 'demand' it when they visit us. My Mama's house is about 10km away from my home in our town and my Mama's used to bike to our home almost every Tuesdays as that was their day off. And as soon as they arrive they would ask my mom to make a cup of coffee for them. One day I asked her to buy Nescafe for me, I think we used to get it even before that but I don't remember much. 

Another memory comes to my mind when I start thinking instant coffee. I had gone to one of our acquaintance's home (this was before the 'Telephone Era'). She offered me cup of coffee - 1 tiny cup of milk+1 heaped spoon of Sugar (there is a special spoon that you would get back then called as 'sugar spoon', shaped like clubs in playing cards) + 1/8 or so tsp of coffee! What a concoction! If you want someone to give up drinking coffee this is 'the' solution for that. Thats when i realized my love for strong coffee. 

Soon I got bored of boiling the same old coffee in same old style thats when my mom taught me the beaten coffee (pheTaleli coffee). This recipe is combination of both the styles - beaten coffee with touch of nutmeg.


1 Tbsp instant coffee ( i like Nescafe)
1 Tsp sugar
3/4 cup milk (I use 1% milk or Soymilk)
1/4 cup water
dash of nutmeg (just grate whole nutmeg once on small grater)

Preparation - 
Start boiling milk and water together in a small vessel. Add grated nutmeg to milk when it warms a bit. Lower the flame and let it boil. While milk is boiling take coffee and sugar in a cup and add 1/2 tsp water to it and start beating  with stainless steel spoon. The mixture will change color and will look like light brown 'ready coffee' color.  Add half of the boiling milk to this beaten coffee and mix it well. Add rest of the milk and stir well. Nice thin layer of foam will be formed on top. 
Tips - 

  1. A friend told me this tip - don't boil milk with coffee in it. 
  1. You can use just milk and not add water. 
  1. If you do not want to have sugar the coffee can be beaten by itself but add 1/4 tsp of water instead of 1/2 tsp.

This coffee is on its way to Aparna's - Think Spice - Nutmeg event!


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Saturday, September 01, 2012

Raw Tomato Bhaji with Peanuts

(Link to Marathi recipe)

Raw tomatoes make regular appearance in Maharashtrian food. Raw tomato(often known as green tomatoes in Maharashtra) chutney is my most favorite. Simple sandwich tastes so tasteful with that chutney. Another favorite sabji/bhaji of mine is very similar to this one ET shared few years ago. The recipe I am going to share today is from Khandesh. I learnt to make it from my husband. I never tweaked it except adding less oil than him. My mother-in-law makes it the best and she makes sure to make it for us when we visit India.
Raw tomatoes to show up in the farmers markets in my area during tomato season. I usually plant couple of tomato plants in summer so I get staple supply of these beauties through out the summer.



Here is the simple recipe of Khandesh style raw tomato bhaji -

2-3 Medium to Large Raw Green Tomatoes
1/3 cup Toor Daal
1/4 cup Peanuts
5-6 Bird Chilies (or per taste)
3-4 Cloves of Garlic
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 cup Cilantro - Chopped
Salt per taste
For tempering - 2tbsp oil, 1/2 each cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric powder. Pinch of hing.
Water as needed

Preparation -
Dice tomatoes.
Wash toor daal in vessel that can fit in a pressure cooker. Or use a small pressure cooker.
Add green tomatoes to the washed daal and add cup of water. Pressure cook till soft.
Meanwhile roast peanuts for 3-4 minutes and set them aside.
Dry roast green chilies and set them aside to cool off.
Grind roasted peanuts, green chilies, garlic, garam masala, coriander powder and half of chopped cilantro. Use as little water as possible and make fine paste.
Heat oil in a large thick bottom vessel. Add cumin-mustard seeds, add hing and turmeric powder when mustard starts spluttering.
Carefully pour the ground peanut paste in the tempering and mix immediately.
Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on low heat stirring constantly. Oil should start separating from the mixture.
Add cooked tomato-daal mixture. Mix thoroughly. Add salt and chopped cilantro. Let it boil for 4-5 minutes on low heat. Add little water if needed.
Enjoy with chapati or rice while its still hot.

Tips -
  1. Choose juicy tomatoes. 
  2. This subji is bit on spicier side but use the number of chilies as per your taste. 
  3. Please do not add sugar/brown sugar/ jaggery. 
  4. Consistency of this subji is more like thick rassa bhaji but not watery.
  5. I enjoy it with plain dosa. 


Monday, August 27, 2012

Minimalist Caponata

Produce of the day from vegetable patch:  2 small eggplants, 2 small red bell peppers, couple of green chilies, 25-30 cherry tomatoes, 1 fresh cucumber  
Choice of fresh herbs from the garden: Thyme, basil or rosemary  
Email exchange between friends: Caponata recipe  
Dinner for the evening: Fusilli with minimalistic caponata  

I usually grow some summer vegetables. This summer I planted my veggies very late so yield is not that great so far but not bad either. I water the plants after I come back from office and check produce of the day. I have been getting almost one cucumber everyday. Quick salad, cucumbers in water, sharing with some friends and this amazing cucumber cake is what I have tried so far. I also get few cherry tomatoes everyday. Sometimes we just snack on them, sometimes we collect few to make bruschetta. Eggplants and bell peppers are rare commodity so as soon as I have few I try to use it up in something special.We friends exchanged some notes about Caponata so it was very fresh on my mind. I decided to make it with whatever I had on my hand with whole wheat fusilli. It is really easy to make and dinner was ready in 30 minutes from start to finish. Here is how I made it -



2 small Eggplants - should yield 2 cups diced
2 small Red Bell pepper - should yield 1 cup diced
25-30 Cherry Tomatoes
1 small Onion
4-5 sprigs of Thyme
4 large Cloves of Garlic
3 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Green Chilies
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (Good quality. 
Salt per taste

2 cups of Whole Wheat Fusilli
Water as needed to boil pasta

Fusilli with minimalist Caponata


Preparation -
Cook pasta according to direction on the package.
Cut onion, eggplants and red bell peppers in 1/2" dice. Discard seeds from bell pepper.
Chop chilies and garlic in small pieces.
Quarter all the cherry tomatoes, collect all the juice.
Heat oil in a pan. Add chopped garlic and green chilies.
Saute onion till translucent. Add bell pepper and eggplant and saute till cooked.
Add chopped tomatoes. Saute just couple of minutes.  Mix in balsamic vinegar.
Drain the pasta, add to cooking vegetables.
Add thyme leaves and salt to taste.
Mix well and enjoy!

Tips - 
  1. Save 1/2 cup of water before draining pasta. Add to cooked dish tablespoon at time if needed.
  2. Caponata recipe calls for pine nuts, but I did not have any so I did not use them. 
  3. Any bite size past will taste good in this.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

बिबडे - खानदेशी ज्वारीचे पापड (BibaDe)


उन्हाळ्याची वाळवणे करायची म्हणजे काय सोपी गोष्ट आहे का महाराजा! कडकडीत उन्हाळ्यात मस्त गरगर फिरणार्‍या पंख्याच्या वार्‍यात गारगार सरबत प्यायचे, आंबे खायचे असले सोडुन असले उद्योग करायचे म्हणजे खाण्याची-करण्याची जबरदस्त आवडच पाहीजे! त्यातुन 'आता काय सगळे विकत मिळते' असल्या जमान्यात तर घरी पापड, कुरवड्या, सांडगे, अमके तमके करणार्‍याचे खरोखर पायच धरायला हवेत!
लहान गावांमधे अजुनही हे उन्हाळकामांचे उद्योग केले जातात. माझी जाऊ अशीच एक उद्योगी प्राणी आहे. खानदेशातल्या तापत्या उन्हात, लोडशेडींगच्या खेळात, पाण्याच्या बेभरवशाच्या कारभारात ती वर्षाचे बिबडे, साबुदाण्याच्या चकल्या, सांडगे असले उद्योग करते. गेल्यावर्षी तिने केलेल्या बिबड्यांच्या काही फोटो काढले, त्याचे हे फोटोफिचर!

बिबडे म्हणजे खानदेशी पद्धतीचे ज्वारीचे पापड. पण ज्वारी दळून आणली आणि पापड केले असा साधा हिशोब नसतो त्याचा!
५ किलो ज्वारीचे बिबडे करावे लागतील यावर्षी अशा साध्या सोप्या वाक्याने सुरु झालेला हा कार्यक्रम पुढे काय काय वळणे घेतो ते पाहू!
आपण असे करू, एकावेळी दोन-अडीच किलोचेच रवण करू!
रवण म्हणजे काय? मला वरण माहिती फक्त भातावरचे.
आहो रवण म्हणजे पीठ, इडलीचे पीठ म्हणजेच इडलीचे रवण!!
बरं! आता पहिले काय करायचे?
ज्वारी मापून घ्यायची आणि पाण्यातून काढायची.
पाण्यातून काढायची म्हणजे काय?
भांड्यात पाणी घ्यायचे त्यात ज्वारी घालायची. थोडे धुवुन घ्यायचे आणि पाणी ओतून टाकायचे.
केले, आता पुढे काय?
हा ती तिथं साडी ठेवलीय ना? त्यात ही ज्वारी घट्ट बांधायची आणि ठेवायची २ दिवस.
उबदार जागीच ना?
हो हो!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
दोन दिवस गेल्यावर आता ते गठूळं सोडायचं आणि न्यायचे चक्कीवर रवाळ दळायला!
हो पण चक्कीवाला कुरकुरत नाही का ओलसर ज्वारी दळायला.
कशाला कुरकुरेल? त्याची वेगळी असते ही चक्की आणि नाही म्हणला तर त्याचा धंदा होईल का? उन्हाळ्यात सगळांच्या घरची असली दळणं येणार त्याच्याकडं.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
जरा दुपारी बसून त्या दळणातला कोंडा पाखडून ठेवुयात.
मग उद्या पापड का?
उद्या कसे होतील लगेच? अजुन चार दिवस लागणार!
ऑं चार दिवस??!!??
मग काय तर!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
आता ही भरड एका पातेल्यात भिजत घालायची. आणि अर्धा किलो गहू वेगळे एका पातेल्यात भिजत घालायचे.
गहू पण?
गहू नाही वापरायचे, पण त्याचा चिक काढुन वापरायचा!
बापरे! तो पण उद्योग करावा लागणार का मग?
मग पिठाला चिकटपणा यायला करावे लागते ते.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
तीन दिवसांनंतर, पहाटे 5 वाजता -
बडीशेप, तिळ, जिरे एका भांड्यात काढून घेतले का?
हो सगळे तयार आहे. मिरची-लसूण वाटून गोळा तयार करायचा. अडीच किलोचे पीठ आहे त्याला साधारण वाटीभर लागेल.
वाटीभर खूप नाही का होणार?
वाळून कमी होते तिखट त्यामुळे नाही होणार जास्त.
गव्हाचा चीक काढून तयार आहे.
ज्वारीचे मिश्रण, गव्हाचा चीक एकत्र करून घ्यायचे. मोठ्या चमच्याने, किंवा हातानेच सगळे मिसळावे लागेल. त्यातच चावीपप्रमाणे मीठ, आणि काढून ठेवलेले बडीशेप वगैरे घालायचे.

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पीठ मिसळून होईपर्यंत, पिठाच्या मापाच्या दुप्पट पाणी उकळायला ठेवायचे.
अर्धा तास सगळे एकत्र केल्यानंतर मिश्रण साधारण इडलीच्या पिठासारखे होते.
या पिठाला म्हणतात रवण! तोवर पाण्याला पण उकळी आलेली असते. त्यात हळू हळू रवण ओतायचे एक जण ओतत असताना दुसऱ्याने हलवत राहावे लागते नाहीतर गुठळ्या होतात.
आता शिजायला ठेवायचे का?
हो,  हलवत हलवत सगळे शिजवायचे, साधारण 2 तास तरी लागतात सगळे शिजायला.
2 तास?? पण पीठ तयार आहे हे कसे ओळखायचे?


पीठ शिजत येईल तसे घट्ट होते. आपण कापडावर थालीपीठ थापतो ना तसे एखादे थापून पहायचे. हाताला थोडे थोडे पाणी लावायचे. नीट हाताला न चिकटता थापले गेले म्हणजे पीठ तयार आहे.
मग आता सगळा सरंजाम गच्चीवर न्यायाचा का?
हो!  काल रात्री पोळपाट, साध्या पंचे सगळे वर नेऊन ठेवलेय ना? आज फक्त आता थंड पाण्याचे तांबे, पळ्या आणि शिजवलेले पीठ घेऊन वर जायचे.
चला मग!!!
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पोळपाटावर एक पंचा ओला करून पसरायचा. त्यावर साधारण 2 पळ्या पीठ घेऊन ओल्या हाताने थालीपीठासारखे थापायचे.

पूर्ण एकसारखे थापून झाले की बाजल्यावर पसरलेल्या साडीवर पंचा उलटा करून सोडवून घ्यायचा. बिबडा  साडीवर निट पसरला जाईल हे पहायचे.

असे सगळे पापड करायचे. पीठ गरम गरम असे पर्यंत मस्त बिबडे थापले जातात. एकदा का ते थंड झाले ली मग जाड जाड होतात.


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साधारण 9-9.30 पर्यंत सगळे बिबडे घालून होतात. उरलेले पीठ सर्वांना दाणे, तेल घालून खायला द्यायचे. एखाद्या लहान्याला दर तासाने वर पाठवून कावळे वगैरे पापड पळवत नाहीत ना ते पहायला लावायचे.
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संध्याकाळी 5 च्या दरम्यान सगळ्या बिबाड्यांवर गार पाणी मारायचे, थोडावेळ भिजू द्यायचे. एक एक बिबडा  हाताने साडीपासून अलगद सोडवून घ्यायचा.  प्लास्टिक कागदावर पसरायचे. सगळा सरंजाम घरात आणायचा.
सकाळी परत सगळे उन्हात पसरायाचे.

बिबडे खडखडीत वाळायला 3-4 दिवस मस्त उन द्यायचे.

10-12 पापड एकत्र करून दोरीने, कापडाच्या तुकड्यांनी बांधायचे. मोठ्या पत्र्याच्या डब्यात भरून ठेवायचे.
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लागेल तसे विस्तवावर भाजून खायचे!

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Fresh Black Eyed Peas Usal

Every year I look forward to summer here as if its my first summer in this country. Farmers markets are one of the most important reason. I just love to see the bounty summer has to offer. In past few years I have shared recipes of simple recipes of various leafy greens and other vegetables like long beanshyacinth beans. Matured long beans yield fresh black eyed peas. As a kid mom used to wash and give these pods to me and bother to eat. We would spend hours peeling these and eating the fresh and tender beans. Here the beans are bigger and much easy to peel than in India.

Mom makes various curries with these but this one is my most favorite. This is very versatile recipe like all her recipes. 


Black Eyed Peas in Pods
Long bean pods flaunting the tender beans. 

Fresh Black Eyed Peas
Fresh back eyed peas, ready to be used.

You will need - 
2 cups of Fresh Black Eyed Peas
1 Medium Sized Onion
2 tsp Red Chili Powder (or per taste)
2 tbsp Fresh Coconut
Small piece of Ginger
2-3 Cloves of Garlic
6-7 Stalks of Cilantro
Salt per taste
2-3 Amsool 
1 tsp Jaggery (optional)
For Tempering - 2 tsp Oil, 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds & Cumin seeds, Pinch of Turmeric & Hing, Few curry leaves
Water as needed

Preparation - 
Finely dice onion. Grind coconut, ginger,  garlic, and cilantro into fine paste.
Heat oil in thick bottom pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds. Add hing and turmeric when the mustard seeds start spluttering. Add curry leaves and sauté just for few seconds. 
Now add chopped onion and sauté until translucent. 
Now add black eyed peas, saute for 3-4 minutes. 
Add 1 cup of water. Cover and let the beans cook partially.*
Add ginger-garlic-cilantro-coconut paste, garam masala and red chili powder and salt. Mix well.
Now let the beans cook completely and then add amsool and jaggery. Boil it for a minute. 
This usal is not dry, it has little bit of watery curry. Enjoy with rice or chapati or bhakari. 

Fresh Black Eyed Peas Usal

Tips - 

  1. *If you are in a hurry, wash and pressure cook the beans for 5-7 minutes with just 2-3 tbsp water. 
  2. Same recipe can be used with fresh lima beans, fresh pigeon peas, fresh garbanzo beans, and fresh hyacinth beans.



Monday, June 18, 2012

Raw Mango Chutney

Remember back in India, almost every household had this notion 'No food should be wasted'. Scarcity and lack of availability made it into rule. I grew up with that mind set. My mom still follows it strictly. I have deviated from that a bit and I feel very ashamed when I have to trash things or even compost. My friend's daughter Shreya gets very upset when she can't finish food. Her parent have set a good example for her. She does not like to throw away food and gets very upset when she sees people doing it in restaurants. She asks, "Does this restaurant use compost box, can you please ask that uncle who are serving us?" We all feel proud of her but sometimes it is very difficult to convince her :) Hey, it is us who have created a monster, her mom says :)

Now you might be thinking, what this recipe has to do with throwing away food etc! My grandma never threw food away. I have written about mango trees in her backyard. Grandma would collect all the raw mangoes from the ground which fell prematurely. She would wash them thoroughly, share with all the neighbors, friends etc. She made this chutney almost everyday in summer. Sometimes she made quick instant pickle or quick Sakharamba. Mom also does same thing with mangoes from our tree in the backyard. I make it once in awhile. I remembered to take quick picture last time I made it, its not great picture but I assure you the recipe will tantalize your senses :)


1 cup Raw Mango (preferably sour)
1-2 Green Chilies
10-15 stalks of Cilantro
2-3 tbsp Fresh Coconut (I use frozen)
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Cumin seeds
Tiny blob of Ginger (optional)
Salt per taste

Preparation -
*Peel mango and dice it.
Chop chilies, cilantro and ginger into small pieces. 
Thaw coconut if you are using frozen.
Put everything in wet grinder.
Coarse grind, using very little water. Adjust seasoning.
Serve with idlis, adai, sandwiches.

Tips -
  1. * Usually I make this raw mango daal and use flesh around seed to make this chutney.
  2. You can make Mint chutney by adding 1/4 cup mint leaves. 
  3. I occasionally add tempering of 1tsp oil, mustard seeds, hing and curry leaves.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Brown Rice Idlis

Idli is one of my comfort food. I learned to make it from my mom and we both tweaked the recipes few times to come up with a perfect proportion. But after coming to US, I had hard time grinding it properly and fermenting it. But someone shared a nice trick with me for fermenting the batter - put half onion in the batter and keep the vessel in warm place oven like and you will get nicely fermented idli batter in 10-12 hours in any season. One problem was solved! To solve the problem of grinding, I started using idli rava and grinding everything in food processor. After making idlis successfully for years using this method, I decided to try grinding soaked rice instead of idli rava and that was successful too.

Couple of years ago I got the brown rice bag from store that was awful in taste. I did not want make rice and did not want to throw away the whole bag either. I tried khichadi, I tried making rice and make thalipeeth from cooked rice. Even though that was working out okay but all these things use very less rice. I had to find various ways to use up the whole 2lb bag. I decided to use up in idli. It worked in first try and I have been making it ever since. No white rice idlis from scratch for me, there are local Indian grocery stores for that!

Brown Rice and Whole Udid Idli

2.5 cups Brown Basmati Rice
1 cup Split Urad Daal with skin
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
Salt per taste
Water as needed.

Preparation -
Pick over and wash rice and daal separately. Soak them separately for 6-8 hours. I keep just 2" water above rice and daal level. Mix fenugreek seeds in daal while soaking.
Drain water from daal and rice in a separate vessel, do not throw it away, we will use it as required to grind.
Grind rice first in the food processor with 'S' blade. Add little water that we set aside as needed to get smooth paste.
Remove ground rice in a big non reactive container.
Now start grinding daal with little water at a time. Grind it to very fine paste. Keep beating this daal paste in food processor for 10-12 minutes.*
Now mix in the rice batter and beat in the food processor for 3-4 more minutes.
Remove in a large non reactive vessel and keep it in warm place for ferment for 10-12 hours.
Add salt to the fermented batter, and make idils as usual.
Serve warm with any of these chutneys.

Tips - 
  1. * This makes the daal fluffy and aids the fermentation process. I do it in 2 minutes interval at a time. If you have stand mixer or hand mixer, you can try using that.
  2. If weather is too cold, you can cut onion in half and put cut side down in the batter. This also aids the fermentation process. 
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Saturday, June 02, 2012

Khandeshi Style Eggplant Bhaji

(Specially made as part of Khandeshi wedding feast)

Original Marathi recipe can be found here

"Shubhamangal Savadhan" - priest is chanting wedding mantras ... for 2 minutes...5 minutes...10 minutes... and finally done in 15 minutes.
As soon as the last mantra is chanted, huge mob of people run towards dinning hall and grab the seat the first seat one gets. Try to reserve few more for your group and wait for the servers to start serving.
This is just a beginning of lunch at a low key wedding in my region ...
As soon as enough people sit down, line of servers start ...

Plate... plate... plate... plate...
Bowl...bowl...bowl...bowl...
Glass...glass...glass...glass...


Every time server sets a plate in front of you he chants plate ... next one as bowl ... next one glass ... as if people will get confused looking at them :).
You check every utensil that is given to you ... clean it with a clean towel you have got in your bag.
As soon as you are done cleaning, next set of people arrive and start serving the food -

Salt...salt...salt...salt...
Rice...rice...rice...rice...
Daal...daal...daal...daal...


Next course is either jilebi or boondi laddu, eggplant sabji and masala rice.
Second course is served twice, just in case if someone wants to have seconds.
No puri, no chapati nothing ...
As soon as you are about to get up from the seat, someone quickly grabs it as second batch of people is already standing there. It is chaotic but that chaos is also very streamlined and quite enjoyable.
Things have changed these days a bit but not too much in small towns.

In Khandesh region northern Maharashtra and idea stays same but menu differs. Chapatis, plain daal called varan and eggplant sabji is served. Here is small skit that portrays wedding lunch in Marathi (aka lagnachi pangat) -



The eggplant sabji in Khandesh is much different than the ways its made in southern Maharashtra. Here is the recipe of eggplant subji served at Khandeshi wedding -

Vangyachi bhaji


3-4 small Eggplants (preferably green eggplants)
2-3 Green Chilies
3-4 cloves of Garlic
2-3 tbsp Oil
1/2 cup Cilantro
1/2 Lime/Lemon
Salt per taste

Preparation -
Roughly grind green chilies and garlic together.
Remove eggplant stems and dice in 1/4" pieces.
Heat oil in a pan, add garlic chili paste. Saute for a minute or so.
Add eggplant, saute for couple of minutes. Lower the heat, cover and let it cook.
Check occasionally and mix.
If eggplant needs more water to cook, add little bit at a time.
Add salt and cilantro, mix well. Mash to get mushy consistency.
Squeeze lemon, mix and enjoy with chapati.

Tips -
  1. I use Badagi-Musali to grind chili garlic together.
  2. You can remove eggplant stems or leave them on. 
  3. Same recipe can be applied to pumpkin/winter squash . Just use more chilies as squash can be bit on sweeter side.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pure comfort in a bowl

Oat Bran Ukad

I love oats, seriously I do. But I get bored of eating same old thing over and over again. I need variety. I have eaten cooked oats with Peanut Chutney, Gunpowder, leftover Amati, leftover tomato chutney, almost everything leftover. After doing that for months, I decided to try something new with oats. I often make oat bran upma on weekends, but I do not want to spend that much time on a busy weekday. But I crave for something nice and warm that has a very familiar taste. My husband just cooks oatbran in boiling water with pinch of salt and enjoy it with lemon pickle. Today's recipe, oatmeal ukad is derived from cooking oat bran in water and traditional Maharashtrian dish called ukad.
Ukad is very popular snack item in Konkan region and is extremely simple to make. Traditionally it is made with rice flour and buttermilk. Warm bowl of ukad with mango pickle and papad is comfort food for me. My variation of ukad is also healthy pure comfort in a bowl.

Oat Bran Ukad

Lets see how I make it for single serving -

1/2-3/4 cup Oat Bran
1/4 cup Yogurt
2 cups water
2 Green Chilies
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 tsp Ginger Finely Grated
Salt per taste
Pinch of Sugar (optional)
For Tempering - 1 tsp Oil, 1/2 tsp Cumin, Mustard seeds, pinch of Hing, Few Curry leaves
Chopped Cilantro for Garnishing

Preparation -
Beat yogurt, add water and mix thoroughly to make Indian style buttermilk.
Smash garlic and run knife to roughly chop.
Chop green chilies fine or just slit them.
Heat oil in a thick bottom non reactive vessel, add cumin and mustard seeds. Then add curry leaves. Fry them for few seconds. Add chopped garlic and grated ginger and saute on low heat till garlic turns golden brown.
Lower the heat to minimum, add prepared buttermilk, add salt and sugar. Mix thoroughly.
Now carefully add 1/2 cup oat bran, mix well removing all the lumps.
Now increase heat to medium and start stirring constantly. Add little more oat bran 1/2 spoon at a time.
Mixture will start thickening. Cover for 5 minutes on lower heat. Consistency should be like cream of wheat/idly batter.
Garnish with chopped cilantro. Enjoy while its warm.

Tips -
  1. You use rolled oats, quick cooking oats, Just use more water to cook.
  2. This should be eaten immediately after its made. Reheating is not recommended. 
  3. Even though I made it with dairy yogurt, it can easily be made with dairy free yogurt. 
  4. You can mix oat bran and buttermilk together mix in salt and sugar and add this mixture to tempering to avoid lumps.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

आळण

मी पाचवी-सहावीत असतानाची एक गंमत आहे. मी मावशीकडे रहायला गेलेले. अचानक मावशी-काकांना दुसर्‍या गावी जावे लागले. दोघी मावसबहीणी आणि मी असे घरी होतो. ताई मोठी होती थोडा पण स्वयंपाक करायची तेव्हा. मला पण थोडेफार काय काय करता येत होते. आम्ही रात्री पिठले भात करायचे असे ठरवले. मस्त पिठले केले गुठळ्या काढायच्या असतात हे आठवत होते. ते अगदी जंग जंग पछाडून केले. पिठले कसे मस्त लाल दिसले पाहिजे कारण मम्मी-मावशी-आज्जी करतात ते पिठले कसे मस्त लालचुटुक होते म्हणून मग आम्ही अजुन रंग नाही आला करत अजुन थोडे अजुन थोडे असे करत तिखट घालत गेलो. शेवटी जाऊदे असे करून सोडुन दिले. तोवर मला वाटते बरेच तिखत घालून झाले होते. भात तयार होताच, लगेच गरम गरम खाऊ म्हणुन ताटे लावून घेतली. पहिला घास घेतला आणि डोळ्यातून टचकन पाणी!! असे सॉलीड तिखट आयुष्यात कधी खाल्ले नव्हते. मग एक घास भात एक घास पाणी असे करत अजुन तीन चार घास पोटात ढकलले. पण पुढे काही ते तोंडात घालवेना. मग मिठाने तिखट कमी होते असे म्हणुन भरपूर मीठ घातले. पण ते समीकरणही काही घश्याखाली जाईना. मग परत पाणी, घास, असे करत करत ताट रिकामे केले. झाकपाक केली आणि गप झोपी गेलो. रात्री कधीतरी काका मावशी परत आले. सकाळी उठून मावशीला सगळी गंमत सांगितली. तिने पहिला प्रश्न केला - तूप घालून का खाल्ले नाही. दुसरा प्रश्न होता - घरात दही, दूध, लोणचे वगैरे सगळे असताना तसले तिखटजाळ पिठले तसेच खायची काय गरज होती!! आणि भाजीला रंग का आला नव्हता तर आम्ही नेहेमीचे तिखट न घालता मिरच्यांच्या बियांची पूड करून ठेवली होती ती घालत होतो. मला अजुनही पातळ पिठले करताना माझ्या ताईची आठवण येते.
ही साधी सोपी रेसिपी आहे माझ्या एका मैत्रिणीची. साधारण पातळ पिठल्यासारखाच हा प्रकार. मेथी/पालक/चकवतासारखी पालेभाजी घालून केलेला असल्याने अतिशय चविष्ट होतो. वरून लसणीची चरचरीत फोडणी आणि सोबत भाकरी असली की अगदी स्वर्गसुख!!

Alan


१ जुडी पालेभाजी ( निवडलेली पाने साधारण ५ - ६ कप व्हावीत )  
५ - ६ लसूण पाकळ्या
पाव ते अर्धा कप बेसन
लाल मिरची पावडर चवीप्रमाणे
१ टीस्पून गोडा मसाला
मीठ चवीप्रमाणे
फोडणीसाठी - तेल , जिरे , मोहरी , हिंग , कढीपत्ता , हळद
पाणी लागेल तसे

कृती - 
भाजी निवडून शक्यतो पाने पाने घ्यावीत. पाण्यात स्वच्छ धुवावीत आणि बारीक चिरुन घ्यावीत. बेसन पाण्यात कालवून घ्यावे. भजीच्या पिठाहून थोडे सरसरीत असावे. त्यातच चवीप्रमाणे मीठ, तिखट मिसळून घ्यावे. गोडा मसाला घालावा. जाड बुडाच्या कढईत तेलाची नेहेमी फोडणी करावी. ठेचलेला लसूण घालून थोडे परतून घ्यावे. चिरलेली भाजी थोडी परतावी. त्यावर भिजवलेले बेसन ओतावे. बारीक गॅसवर गुठळ्या न होऊ देता हलवावे.पाणी कमी झालेय असे वाटत असेल तर थोडे कोमट पाणी घालावे. झाकण ठेवुन भाजी नीट शिजवून घ्यावी. गरम गरम भाजी भात किंवा पोळी - भाकरीबरोबर खावी. हे साधारण पातळ पिठल्यासारखे असते.

शेवटी एका छोट्या कढईमध्ये 2-3 टेबलस्पून तेल तापवावे. त्यात 5-6 लसून पाकळ्या ठेचून/चिरून घालाव्यात. वरून 2 टीस्पून लाल तिखट आणि किंचित मीठ घालावे. वाढताना वाटीत भाजी घालून त्यावर हे तेल - लसूण घालून भाकरीबरोबर खावे.

टीपा - 
ही भाजी माझी मैत्रिण मेथीची करते. मला चंदनबटवा मिळला तेव्हा मी त्याचे करुन पाहिले मस्तच लागले. 
पालकाची पण अप्रतीम लागते.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rhubarb Chutney

(Link to Marathi Recipe)

Vaishali's recent post about Rhubarb pie reminded me of Rhubarb season. I have to try that heavenly pie soon. Last year ET recommended a nice rhubarb chutney from 'My Bombay Kitchen' even gave me some sample to taste. Once I tasted it with cracker, I had to make it. I got nice fresh bunch from local farmers market and made a batch. It is very simple to make and does not require any special ingredient.We had it with cracker and vegan cream cheese. Also as topping on simple bread toast.

Here is this simple recipe adapted from Niloufer Ichaporia King's My Bombay Kitchen -

Rhubarb Chutney
1 lb Fresh Rhubarb
1 cup Brown Sugar (or 1/4 kg Jaggery)
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Cider Vinegar
1-1/5 tsp Red Chili Flakes (or Chili Powder)
1 tbsp Julienne Cut Ginger
4 Cloves
2 2" long Cinnamon Sticks
1-1/5 tsp Salt

Preparation -
Mix everything except Rhubarb in a thick bottom non reactive vessel. Initially just add 1/2 tsp salt. Let it boil on medium heat.
Wash rhubarb thoroughly. Discard leaves and slice from end of the stalk. Cut each stalk lengthwise and then in 1/4" dice.
Add the diced rhubarb in boiling mixture. Remove rhubarb pieces when they are just just done.
Cook the mixture until it thickens into jam consistency. Return the rhubarb pieces to the mixture. Check salt, add if needed. Boil it for another minute or so.
Remove from heat, let it cool and store in refrigerator in airtight container upto 7-8 days. 

Tips -
  1. I have also made this with ripe plums. But I cut down sugar and vinegar a bit. 
  2. Tomatoes or any stone fruits chutney with this combination of spices.

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र्‍हुबार्ब चटणी

English version of this recipe can be found here - http://vadanikavalgheta.blogspot.com/2012/05/rhubarb-chutney.html

ही चटणीची रेसिपी निलोफर इचापोरीया किंग यांच्या '' मधून घेतली आहे. माझ्याकडे उपलब्ध असलेल्या सामानानुसार मी थोडेफार बदल केले आहेत. 

१/२ किलो र्‍हुबार्ब
१/४ किलो गूळ किंवा १ कप ब्राऊन शुगर
१/२ कप साखर
१/२ कप Cider Vinegar
१-१.५ टीस्पून लाल तिखट
२ टेबलस्पून आल्याच्या कापट्या (ज्युलियान कट)
४ लवंगा
२ २" लांब दालचिनीचे तुकडे
चवीप्रमाणे मीठ (१ ते १.५ टीस्पून)

Rhubarb Chutney

कृती -
र्‍हुबार्ब सोडून बाकीचे सगळे एका जड बुडाच्या स्टीलच्या पातेल्यात घ्यावे. आधी फक्त १ टीस्पून मीठ घालावे. मंद आचेवर सगळे एक उकळी यायला ठेवावे. दरम्यान र्‍हुबार्बचे मुळाकडचा आणि पानांचा भाग काढून टाकावा आणि फक्त दांडे घ्यावेत. स्वच्छ धुवुन साधारण १/४ इंची तुकडे करावेत. गरजेप्रमाणे मधोमध उभे कापावे. आता हे उकळत्या मिश्रणात घालावे आणि हलवत रहावे. चटणीत तुकडे मोठे रहावेत असे वाटले तर र्‍हुबार्बचे तुकडे बाजुला काढून पाक आटवावा. साधारण जॅम इतपत घट्ट झाले की र्‍हुबार्ब परत त्यात घालावा. एक उकळी आणली की बंद करावे. पूर्ण थंड होऊ द्यावे शेवटी चव घेऊन मीठ, तिखट गरज असेल तर घालावे. फ्रीजमधे ७-८ दिवस टिकते.

टीपा -
  1. र्‍हुबार्ब मिळत नसेल तर प्लम्स वापरून ही चटणी करता येते आणि ती पण मस्त लागते.
  2. पण त्यासाठी व्हिनेगर कमी घालावे (२ टेबस्पून वगैरे) आणि साधी साखर घालू नये फक्त गूळ घालावा.
  3. र्‍हुबार्ब असे दिसते आणि फक्त स्प्रिंगमध्ये मिळते.  

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