Aji de habas secas ( Spice dried fava beans)

Aji de habas secas ( Spiced dried fava beans)

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Every time I went to visit my Dad’s side family in Colomi, I was shocked by the beauty and simplicity of everything. They grow potatoes and fava beans and we would go to visit them at harvest time. The smell of freshly dug potatoes and the crunchiness and tenderness of a fresh raw fava beans made those trips the best experiences of my childhood. They would dry some of the best fava beans and potatoes for seed and the other ones would be cooked. This is a recipe with dried fava beans, it goes so well with tiny little potatoes. Enjoy it.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups dry fava beans

5 medium yellow  potatoes (10 small yellow potatoes)

1/2 lb round steak

2 cups chicken broth

1 onion

1 tomato

2 tbsp vegetable oil

3 tbsp paste of red spicy pepper

1 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp cumin

1 garlic clove

1/2 tsp sugar

2 tbsp chopped parsley

1 small bunch of scallion

Preparation:

A night before measure the dry fava beans into a pot. Add boiling water and cook for a minute and drain the water. Cover with cold water and let it rest overnight.

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They will double the size and the skin should be easy to peel. Peel coverings and set aside

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Put the ingredients together for the sauce

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Cut the meat by hand in thin small sliced pieces.

Peel the potatoes and cut them in 3 pieces or keep them in a piece if they are the small.

Peel and dice the onion and dice the tomatoes into small pieces.

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Heat 2 tbsp oil and add the red spicy paste, garlic and cumin. Cook for 2 min and add the onion, cook for 5 min until onion is clear.

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Add the meat and mix. Cook for another min and add the tomatoes

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Cook for about 3 min until meat is tender, add the oregano, salt, sugar, pepper and parsley.

Mix and add the fava beans.

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Add the chicken broth and the potatoes and mix. Cover the pot and cook until potatoes are cooked. It’s so much better if you use small potatoes, they will cook faster and they are going to be bite sized.

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If it dries during this process, add more chicken broth or hot water.

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Serve warm with rice or just by itself. Top with scallions or green onion that are cut and washed. Enjoy!

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Pique a lo Macho (Pique Macho)

Pique a lo Macho (Pique Macho)

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If you say the word Pique Macho in Bolivia everyone will tell you what is it and that the best pique macho is from Cochabamba (of course I’m being biased). And everyone might also have an amazing history related to  this dish. The first day that my husband I met we went with a couple of friends to La Casa del Gordo, a restaurant very well know for its pique macho. After trying to convincing him that one dish would be enough for the 4 of us we ordered two. While we were playing cacho waiting for our food I bet Dave that there was no way we would finish the dish. When the plates arrived I remember seeing the surprised face  of Dave admiring the mountains of food. We did our best and he won the bet because after 1 hour of digging and digging we finished. The amount of meat, potatoes and locotos with their juices make this plate incredible and also made me look at this boy that I just met differently there are not to many non-bolivians that will finish and eat and entire pique macho. Enjoy it!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 lb top round first cut steak (any soft lean beef will do great)

8 large potatoes

4 uncured beef hot dogs (you can use pork hot dog)

4 eggs

1 large tomato

1 small red onion

1 small green pepper  (1/2 large pepper)

1 locoto or jalapeno (optional)

1/2 cup beer (I used Corona for this recipe but any light beer will work)

1 tsp white vinegar (for meat)

1 tbsp cider vinegar (for the salad)

1 tbsp vegetable oil (for the salad)

2 tbsp vegetable oil

3 cup vegetable oil to fry potatoes

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp cumin (optional)

1 garlic clove peeled and mashed (optional)

On the side

Llajua

4 slices of baguette

Preparation:

Put together the ingredients

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Peel the potatoes and cut in large wedges.

Peel the onion and slice in the juliana style (think strips), do the same with pepper and tomato

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Slice the hot dog in thin slices. Slice the hot dog giving it an edge, we don’t want them round.

Clean the meat and cut in cubes of 2 cm each side this is very important we don’t want the pieces too small or too big we want them bite size.

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Mix the vegetables together and set aside. Once all the ingredients are ready we start cooking.

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Start by frying the potatoes. You might end up cooking two batches, since we want them to cook slowly so they are crispy outside but slightly soft inside. This will help the potatoes to absorb the juices.

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While cooking the potatoes, hard boil the eggs and peel them and cut them in wedges or round shapes. I prefer wedges.

When the potatoes are half cooked start cooking the meat.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a skillet and when the oil is hot add the meat. We want to seal the edges and brown them but not burn them. This takes about 5 min

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Once they are brown add half of the salt and pepper. If you want, add the cumin and garlic, I like the flavor that this adds to the meat. Reduce the heat to medium high

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By this point the potatoes should be cooked and in the hot oil we cook the hot dogs. This step is important. We need to cook the hot dogs for about about one minute so they are nicely browned on the edges and crispy. Take to a paper towel.

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Add to the meat 1 tsp white vinegar and 1/2 cup beer and the hot dogs. If you are cooking in an electric stove you can turn off. If you are cooking in gas cook for about 1 min. We don’t want to be dry, we just want the alcohol of the beer to be reduced.

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Mix the vegetables with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tbs vegetable oil salt and pepper.

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Serve immediately after the meat is cooked it is important to serve  hot.

Put one layer of potatoes, add the mix of meat and hot dog and add 4 tbsp of the juices from the pan. Top with the salad and decorate with the hard-boiled egg.

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I like it as simple as this you can put mayonnaise and ketchup on top, I like putting this on the table so it’s optional for people to add. The best way to eat it is with a nice llajua and pieces of marraqueta (roll) to absorb those juices and when it gets too spicey, a good beer goes so well with it.

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There are so many variations of this dish in Bolivia but I like this way for its simplicity.

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Mechado de pierna de cerdo (Bolivian Style Roast Ham)

Mechado de Pierna de Cerdo (Bolivian Style Roast Ham)

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The first time I tried this recipe was when I was in my first year of college. My friends and I got together to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I had seen my mom do this recipe and I thought it would be easy to replicate. Our first mistake was to buy a 20lb ham with the skin and everything for just four people. We started cooking around 9 pm thinking we would have it ready in a couple hours but we did not realize that it would take 4 hours to cook and that we would run out of natural gas in the process. We opened champagne and we had our grapes at midnight but we did not eat until 1:30 am but by that time we were all tired and went to bed. The good thing is that we had amazing left overs for a while. This dish really doesn’t take that long to cook and is so delicious that you can use the left over pork to make the amazing Sandwich De Chola (Cochabamba style).

Serves 6

Ingredients:

4 lb ham rump half (with the skin)

1 tbsp salt

1 large onion

1 large tomato

2 large carrots

1 small green pepper

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

3 garlic cloves

1/2 cup of spicy red pepper (paste)

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 tsp sugar

1 tbsp vinegar

1 cup corona beer (any beer)

For the side?

3 sweet potatoes

12 small potatoes

1 head of lettuce

1/2 red onion

2 tomatoes

1 tbsp cilantro

salt and pepper

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp vinegar

Preparation:

Put together the first ingredients

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Make cuts in the ham all around big enough to put some of the cut vegetables in the holes. Rub the ham with the tbsp of salt and set aside.

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Peel the onions and carrots.

Cut the carrots, tomato, and pepper in a large thick size, about 1/2 inch thick. Put them in a large bowl and mix. Set aside.

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Put together all the spices.

Peel the garlic and mash with a garlic press.

Cook the red spice paste in 1 tbs oil add the garlic. Let it cool.

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Add the spices, the cooked red spice pepper and the beer to the vegetables. Mix.

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Insert the mix of vegetables in the cuts made in the ham. Cover it and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F

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Place the ham in a container and bake cover for 2.5 hours covered. Uncover the last half hour. Broil the last 4 min to crisp the skin. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 min.

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One hour before the ham is ready, roast the potatoes with their skin on and cut them in half at 375F. Prepare the salad.

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Cut the ham in slices and place it in the plate. This goes so well with everything and there is usually plantain in this recipe. My husband and I had leftovers the next day with mashed potatoes and it was delicious. Enjoy with a nice cold beer.

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Ensalada 7 granos

Ensalada 7 Granos (Ensalda de la Abuelita Alejandra)

IMG_1022Every dia de todos santos my mom would take me to la Cancha (market) to buy the ingredients for my grandmother’s favorite recipe “la ensalada de 7 granos.” I loved going with her to pick the grains for the salad. My favorite part was the display of the grains and the free samples of cooked grains from the doñitas (vendor ladies).  For my mom this was her way to remember my grandmother. My grandmother had a stand in la Cancha were she sold vegetables from 6 am to 6 pm. I grew up knowing my grandmother through this recipe since I never got to meet her. My mom would talk a lot about her from when we were on our way to get the ingredients to the time she would set the table with the salad. So since my earliest memories, I have called this salad “La ensalada de la abuelita alejandra” It brings happy memories of my mom and my grandmother.

Ingredients

Serves 8

1/2 cup kidney beans

1/2 cup pinto beans

1/2 cup canolini beans

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup garbanzo beans

1/2 cup fava beans

1/2 cup cooked barley

1 vidalia onion (or red onion)

1 large tomato

2 tbsp chopped cilantro (or Quilquina)

1 jalapeno pepper without the seeds (you can use half a green pepper)

3 tbs olive oil

1 tbs cider vinagrette

salt and pepper

Preparation:

You can find all the ingredients canned except the barley.

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Soak 1/4 cup of barley a night before and cook until soft. Rinse and let it cool

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Meanwhile peel the fava beans  (since the canned fava beans come with the skins on). In bolivia we eat them with the skin but the here the canned version’s skin is too hard.

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Rinse the other beans and put them together in a large bowl. Add the barley and fava beans.

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Dice the onion, tomatoes and pepper.

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Added to the bean mix and top with the cilantro or quilquina and mix slightly

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Wisk together the oil vinegar, salt, and pepper and add to the mix before serving.

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You can serve it just as a salad or as a side. It goes really well with steak. You can add or switch any bean and replace it with what you have on hand.

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The last time I was in Bolivia, I went to market with my mom and took this photo.  This is how cooked beans are sold in the markets and how they beautifully arranged in their own fabric bag. You can buy any type of cooked bean or corn.

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Pukacapas

Pukacapas

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The name of this empanada is Spanish-Quechua. Puka in Quechua means red and Capa in Spanish has two meanings: layer, cape. I think the name evolved because you have a nice round red layer that is the shape of a cape that covers the empanada, so it makes sense to called them Pukacapas.

We love our mid afternoon snacks and I love this pukacapa recipe because of the filling.  I used to eat it with an helado de canela (cinnamon gelato) or a good juice made of dry peaches called Mokhochinchi.

 

 

Makes 15 units of Pukacapas

I will describe the process step by step on give the ingredients for each step
Filling
1 medium red onion shredded ( ⅓ cup shredded red onion)
8 oz Fresh cheese or Monterrey Jack

2 tbsp shredded hot pepper
1 tbsp chopped quilquiña or cilantro
1 egg
Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl and put aside.

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Red dough wash
2 Tbsp paprika
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp water
Mix all ingredients and set aside.  It has to be well mixed.

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Dough
2 Cups flower
5 Tbsp Crisco
2 eggs yolks
3 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tsp salt
1 1/2 Tsp dry yeast
¼ Cups water

Sift the flower in a mixing bowl. Shape the flower in volcano shape. Heat the crisco close to boil. Add this hot oil to the flour, you will see how the flower effervesces. Mix with a wooden spoon.

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Disolve the yeast in the water.

Add this mix to the flour  along with the eggs yolks , salt and sugar. Mix until all the ingredients are well mixed in the dough. It’s very important to knead the dough forcefully on the table the dough for at least 5 min. (My Mom slams the dough down on the table, throwing it from up high for about 3 minutes). Make a nice ball and divide in 30 pieces.

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Shape each piece in small balls and with a roller pin, flatten each piece until it’s the size of the cup,. If the dough is a little bit too sticky, add some flour to your surface working area.

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After all of them are flat, add 1 tbs of the filling mix in the center of the 15 discs, making sure ther is a nice pile with no filling on the edges of the disc. Use another disc to cover and press well to seal the edges. After sealed, do a nice braid twist around the edges of the dough. If you don’t know out to braid the dough, you can use a fork to press the edges down.

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Preheat the oven to 350F

Put the pukacapas on a baking sheet and using a brush, cover with the paprika and yolk mix.

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Bake them for 15 min the bottoms look golden.

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Puchero de Carnaval

Puchero de Carnaval

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“Estos carnavales quien inventaría…”

One of my favorite holidays in Bolivia is Carnaval and Martes de Ch’alla. Each part of Bolivia celebrates it differently but we all agree on the part of being thankful for all the good things we have and we are thankful to our mother earth (Pachamama) for them. And what a better way to celebrate than having fun and harken back to our childhood playing with water ballons or buckets of water. This is the only time that I saw my parents being tricky and hiding and making alinces to try to soak as many people in the family as possible. After so much fun and being all so wet and cold a good abundant hot and spicy dish hits the spot (te cae como del cielo!) The nice crispy meat mixed with the warm rice and the crunchiness of the cabbage all topped with a nice hot yellow sauce, warms any belly and body. Some Puchero recipes call for chuño or peramota (pear) even peach, you can be very creative with it. I miss the Carnaval season but at least with this recipe I can warm my belly and bring memories back with each bite of Puchero!

 Serves 6

Cooking time 2 hours

Tips: While the meat is cooking you can get ready the potatoes, cabbage, yellow sauce. Usually, I do the rice last since once that starts cooling down it gets thicker. Fry the meat before serving or fry ahead and keep it warm. I like the crispness of the meat so I usually fry right before serving.

Instructions by key ingredient:

Chickpeas

Ingredients:

I/2 cup dry chick peas (you can substitute for one can of chickpeas if running out of time)

2 cups warm water plus 1 cup for cooking.

And hour before cooking soak the chickpeas in warm water

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Once the skin is starting to get loose, peel the chickepeas. This take some time so I recommend  doing it a day ahead.

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After they are all peeled, put them in a pot with a cup of water and cook for about 20 min. Don’t over cook since you will add this to the rice and you want it crisp. (The best way to tell is when the midlle part of chickpea has a light color)

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Briscket, potaoes and cabbage

2 1/2 to 3 pounds Briscket (buy from a farmer because it tastes better and cooks faster)

2 carrots

1 white onion

2 celery sticks

8 cups water or any broth

1 1/2 tsp salt

8 red potatoes

1  cabbage

1/2 tbs cummin

1 tsp salt

Peel and cut onion, carrots and celery. Put them all together in a large pot with salt and water and let it cook for about an hour.

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Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and peel the leaves off the cabbage and set aside

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After meat is tender, remove the meat and vegetables from the broth. Let the meat cool down

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Add to the broth: the potatoes, cabbage, cummin and correct to the desired salt level. Cook until potatoes are cooked. Drained the broth into a container and save.

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While potaoes are cooking prepare the rice and yellow sauce.

Aji Amarillo (Yellow Spicy Sauce)

1 mediun red onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin

2 cup yellow spice sauce (see recipe for picante de pollo)

1 cup of briscket broth

2 tbs canola oil

Dice the onion very small, mince the garlic. Cook the onion and garlic with canola oil.

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After onions are cooked add the yellow sauce, cumin and salt. Add broth and cook until the sauce thickens and don’t let it get sticky. Add more broth if necessary.

Rice and chickpeas

2 cups rice

4 cups water

2-3 cups briscket broth

2 tbs canola oil

1 1/2 tsp salt

Boil 4 cups of water in a large pot, add salt. Wash 2 cups of  rice in cold water. Add the rice to boiling water. Stir the rice avoiding getting stuck on the bottom. Cook for about 10 min or until start its starts drying and add the vegetables oil and 2 cups of broth. You want there to be with some broth and don’t let the water go away entirely.

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Cook for another 5 min and add the Chickpeas. If needed it you can add more broth to keep the runny consistency of the rice. It has to be less tick than rissoto. Cook for 10 min.

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While the rice is cooking

Slice the briscket into 16 thin slices, 2 per person. Slice the against the grain

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Salt each piece and fry with 1 tbs of oil until golden on both sides.

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Putting the plate together

First add potatoes and cabbage topped with the rice

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Add the meat and Yellow sauce

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You can also switch the way you present this dish. In Bolivia this was my favorite way my mom would put the rice and the sauce  on top and hide the meat, cabbage and potaoes under it. I must confess I used to hate boiled cabbage when I was a child. So this was her way to make us finish the entire plate.

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Feliz Martes de Ch’alla, feliz Carnaval!

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Chan’ka de Pollo

Chan’ka de Pollo

 

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This is one of my favorites soups, my mom will make it when I was  feeling  a little bit sick, usually has Chuño and Fava beans instead of peas, but it works great with green peas. Enjoy ! Disfrutenlo!

 

 

 

Serves 4

4 Free range chicken legs
4 Large potato peeled
½ Cup fresh or frozen peas
1 Large Green onion  we will use the white and green part.
4 Cups of water or Chicken broth.
salt
pepper

Cooking Instructions:

Get ready the ingredientes:

Put the 4 cups of water to boiled add the chicken salt some pepper and the white part of the green onion chopped. Let it cooked for about 15 min and add the peeled potatos and cook until they are soft.

Meanwhile Chopped the green part of the green onion:

Add the chopped green onions and the frozen peas to the soup and turn off the stove. Let it cool for about 10 min serve warm with one chicken leg one potato and some green onions and peas on the top. This delicious soups goes really well with a spicy Lllajua.

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