Dal Makhni

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I have made this dal quite a few times yet I missed blogging about it. I checked and rechecked the blog to confirm I hadn’t written about it before. Well, I haven’t as yet and so here it is. The best part is that the daughter too loves it and we make it for lunch.

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Recipe from here

Serves 3-4

WHAT WE NEED

3/4 cup Whole black urad dal

2 tbsp Rajma / Kidney beans

3 cups Water

1 Onion, medium

2 Green chillies

2 tsp Ginger garlic paste

2 Tomatoes

1/2 tsp Cumin seeds

2-3 Cloves

2 Cardamom

1″ Cinnamon stick

1/2 tsp Red chilly powder

1/2 tsp Kasoori Methi

1/4 cup Milk

3 tbsp Unsalted butter

Salt

Water

WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the urad dal and rajma overnight or for 8 hours in sufficient water
  • Pressure cook both with 3 cups of water for 5-6 whistles or till the dal is fully cooked
  • Mash and keep aside
  • Chop the tomatoes and blend in a mixer to a purée
  • Chop the onions finely
  • Heat butter in a pan and add cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon
  • After 1-2 minutes, add the chopped onions and green chillies
  • Add the Ginger garlic paste and sauté till the raw smell goes away
  • Add the pureed tomatoes and red chilly powder
  • Cook till the fat separates, around 5 minutes
  • Add the smashed lentils and 1/2 cup of water
  • Add salt and simmer for 15-20 minutes till it reaches the desired consistency
  • Add more water if gets too thick
  • Add milk and let it simmer for another 10 minutes (usually cream is added but I substitute with milk which is easily available and works well for me)
  • Add kasuri methi and turn off the gas
  • Serve hot with rotis or rice
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme,’Indian Regional Dishes’.

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Palak Dal

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My daughter has reached that age where she has become super picky about what she eats and one of the things she doesn’t like is spinach. So I have to find different ways to make her eat spinach. This dal is one of those attempts. She loves the regular toor dal and so I figured it was best to add spinach to it and make life easier for me.

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Serves 3-4

WHAT WE NEED

1 small bunch spinach

1 Onion, large

1/3 cup Toor dal / pigeon pea

1 tbsp Cooking oil

1/2 tsp Mustard seeds

1/4 tsp Cumin seeds

1-2 Green chillies

1/4 tsp Turmeric powder

1/4 tsp Red chilly powder

Salt

Water

WHAT TO DO

  • Cook the toor dal / pigeon pea with 2/3 cup water in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles.
  • Mash the dal and set aside
  • Wash and chop the spinach finely and set aside
  • In a large pan, heat the oil and add mustard seeds
  • Add cumin seeds and slit green chillies
  • Chop the onions and add it to the pan
  • Fry the onions till translucent
  • Add the spinach and fry till it wilts
  • Add the cooked lentils, turmeric powder and red chilly powder
  • Add salt and bring it to a boil
  • Simmer for 7-8 minutes
  • Take off the heat
  • Serve warm with rice or rotis
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Indian Regional Dishes’

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Snake gourd & Red lentil Kootu

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All my life I hated eating kootu though my mother never gave up trying to feed it to us. Then I got married and became fully incharge of the kitchen which is when I realised how easy and nutritious and tasty the kootu is. It has a beautiful blend of vegetables and lentils, not to forget the ever evolving spice blend and a crackling tadka to top it all. So I have earned my mother’s wrath by making kootu more often than she ever did.

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Serves 3-4

WHAT WE NEED

200 gms Snake gourd

1/4 cup Masoor dal / Red Lentils

2 tbsp Roasted gram

1 tsp Coriander seeds

1/2 tsp Cumin seeds

1-2 Dried Red chillies

2 tsp Coconut oil

1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds

1/2 tsp Bengal gram

1/2 tsp Urad dal

1 sprig Curry leaves

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Cook the lentils till it is mushy and can be mashed. If using a pressure cooker, add 3/4 cup of water and cook till 2-3 whistles
  • Chop the snake gourd into thin semi circular pieces and cook it in water for 8-10 minutes
  • Dry roast the roasted gram, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and red chillies individually for 1 minute each
  • Let cool and grind to a coarse powder
  • Add the snake gourd to the cooked lentils in a vessel and let it cook for 5 minutes
  • Add salt and the spice mix and simmer for 7-8 minutes
  • The water in the lentils and snake gourd should suffice. If t turns too thick then add water to dilute it
  • Take it off the heat
  • In a small pan, heat coconut oil and add mustard seeds
  • Once it splutters, add the Bengal gram and urad dal
  • When the lentils turn brown, chop and add the curry leaves
  • Pour the entire mix on to the lentil mix
  • Serve warm with rice and ghee
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Indian Dishes’.

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Mixed Vegetable Sagu – Karnataka Special Meals

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I am back to Blogging after what seems like ages though it’s actually been just a month. This week I will be posting three different thalis or combo menus. When Valli announced this theme, she was benevolent to allow us to post one recipe from our previous thali menus. So when I checked on the few thalis I posted, I realised I had not posted this awesome recipe of the mixed vegetable sagu from the Karnataka special meals I posted a while ago. The amazing thing about this sagu is that it has quite a few vegetables, is delicious, quite easy to make and best of all it goes with poori, dosa, rotis and rice. So what I do is make a big batch of it for a Saturday / Sunday and have it for breakfast with dosa, for lunch with rice / poori and for dinner with rotis. The meals seem different but involve less effort from my end and I can enjoy the weekend too. Yay!

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The Sagu is not very spicy and so works well with kids too. If your kid loves coconut like mine does, it is a perfect way to sneak the vegetables in. Sagu is a also made with potatoes only but I love the mixed vegetable option better because I eat way too many potatoes as is. So here goes –

Serves 4-5

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

2-3 Carrots, medium size

4-5 Cauliflower florets

1 Potato, big

8-10 French beans

1/4 cup green peas

1 Onion, big

1 Tomato, big

1 tbsp Oil

1/4 tsp Mustard seeds

1/2 tsp Urad dal, split and skinless

1 sprig Curry leaves

Salt

To grind

1/2 cup Grated coconut, loosely packed

1″ Ginger, skinned and finely chopped

3-4 Garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp Cumin seeds

1 tsp Coriander seeds

2 tbsp Roasted gram

1 tsp Poppy seeds

2 Green chillies, chopped

1″ Cinnamon

2-3 Cloves

1 Cardamom, green

2 tbsp Coriander leaves, chopped

WHAT TO DO

  • Chop the carrots, potato, beans and cauliflower florets
  • Add salt and steam them for 12-15 minutes or and set aside
  • Take all the ingredients specified under ‘to grind’ above and grind them to a fine paste with little water and set aside
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds
  • Once it splutters, add the Urad dal and curry leaves
  • Chop the onion and add it to the pan
  • Once the onion is translucent, add the chopped tomato and let it cook till the tomato is soft
  • Add the cooked vegetables and ground paste
  • Add a little water if necessary. The Sagu needs to be at a thick gravy consistency
  • Adjust for salt and let it come to a boil, around 7-10 Minutes
  • Simmer 2-3 minutes and turn off the gas
  • Serve hot with rice, roti, poori or set dosa
  • Enjoy!

This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Thalis’.

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Dun Thel Bath | Ghee Rice with Green Peas

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The theme for this week is Sri Lankan cuisine. When I picked this theme, I did not know that the cuisine is very similar to Indian, more specifically South Indian cuisine. Because the country is an island, there must be coconut trees in plenty which is reflected in the cooking too. The same goes for the seafood as well. There is an influence of Malaysian and few other South east Asian cuisines as well which makes the Sri Lankan table a multi flavoured one.

This dish is a ghee (clarified butter) rich rice with green peas which is similar to the Indian Peas Pulao. It is slightly differentiated with the addition of raisins in plenty. I have reduced the raisins and added some cashews because the daughter loves it and she is having an increasing amount of say in what is cooked everyday. This rice pairs beautifully with any vegetable but we had it with some homemade plantain chips which was absolutely lipsmacking.

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Serves 2-3

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

1 1/4 cups Basmati rice
2 cardamons
2 cloves
1 tsp cumin seed
2 tbsp ghee
1 cup green peas
2 tbsp Cashews & raisins
Salt & Water

WHAT TO DO

  • Cook the rice with 2 cups water and set aside
  • Cook the green peas in hot water for 5-7 minutes and set aside
  • Heat the ghee in a heavy bottom pan
  • Add the cardamons, cloves and cumin seeds and fry for about a min
  • Add the green peas and fry for 2-3 minutes on medium heat
  • Add the rice and salt and mix well.
  • Turn off the heat after 3-4 minutes
  • Serve hot
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Sri Lankan Cuisine’.

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Moroccan Zaalouk

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We try and explore the cuisine of a different country each month in our Blogging Marathon and I try to take up the theme, if only to bake a new kind of bread from a new country every month. This month’s cuisine is Moroccon and as I was browsing through various recipes, I realised how similar it is with Indian cuisine. I found this recipe for an eggplant and tomato salad called Zaalouk which is quite similar to Baingan Bhartha made in India. Coincidentally the husband picked 2 large eggplants on his trip to the supermarket and I decided to kill multiple birds with one stone.

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This is a salad in Moroccan cuisine and is said to go very well with bread. I simply topped it on my toasted homemade bread and I have to tell you it is divine. I would have frowned on having baingan bartha for breakfast but this zaalouk with bread is a treat. The key difference between the two is the amount of tomatoes used in the dish. While we use 1 or 2 tomatoes for an entire eggplant, this dish calls for 3-4 making the taste significantly different, not to mention delicious.

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Recipe adapted from here

Serves 4-5 people

WHAT WE NEED

2 large Eggplants

5-6 Ripe tomatoes

4-5 Garlic cloves

1 tbsp Cumin seeds

1 tsp red chilly powder / paprika

Oil

Salt

Water

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Rub some oil on the eggplants, poke a few holes with a fork and roast them on high flame till they are cooked
  • Remove the skins and mash well
  • Heat 2-3 tsp of oil in a pan and add cumin seeds
  • Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan
  • Add finely chopped tomatoes and chilly powder and let cook for 5-6 minutes on low flame
  • Add the roasted eggplants and mix well
  • Add salt and a little water and simmer for 5-7 minutes
  • Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot
  • Enjoy with some bread!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Moroccan Cuisine’.

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Paneer Manchurian

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If you are a vegetarian in India who loves Chinese food (Indo-Chinese, to be accurate) you have to order a manchurian gravy with either fried rice or hakka noodles. It is as if no other dish exists. I have gone to countless dinners with friends and family and every time we landed at a Chinese joint, it was fried rice, hakka noodles and vegetable manchurian. The only thing we would debate about was if we needed the manchurian with or without the gravy. If we were in a spend-all mode then we would have spring rolls for starters and manchurian with gravy for mains else it was ordered without gravy. And Indian restaurants in their forever adapting jugaad mode came up with paneer, cauliflower and baby corn varieties for manchurian giving us a wee bit relief from the usual mixed vegetable one.

So this paneer manchurian is an ode to every meal with family and friends that I had back in Mumbai with the same dishes over and over again.

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Recipe adapted from here

Serves 2-3

WHAT WE NEED

200 gms Paneer

4-5 Garlic cloves

1″ Ginger, grated

1-2 Green chillies

1/3 cup Spring onion greens

1/2 Capsicum, finely chopped (optional)

2 tsp Soy sauce

2 tbsp Tomato sauce

1 1/2 cups Water

1-2 tsp Sugar

1/2 tsp Vinegar

2 tbsp Cornflour

Salt

Oil

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Cut the paneer into cubes
  • In a small bowl, mix together 1 tbsp cornflour, 1 grated garlic, grated ginger and salt
  • Add the paneer and coat it well with the cornflour mixture
  • Deep fry or shallow fry the paneer till it is light brown and set aside
  • In a pan, heat 2 tsp oil
  • Finely chop and add the garlic and green chillies
  • Once the garlic starts to brown, add the spring onions and capsicum
  • Stir it frequently and let it cook for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the soy sauce, tomato sauce and 1 cup of water and mix well
  • Mix 1 tbsp of cornflour with 3 tbsp of water and add to the pan
  • Cook on simmer and let the sauce thicken
  • Add the vinegar, salt and sugar and mix
  • Add the paneer and simmer for 2-3 minutes
  • If the sauce is too thick add 1 tbsp of water at a time till it reached the desired consistency
  • Turn off the gas and garnish with some spring onion greens
  • Serve hot with hakka noodles or fried rice
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Street Food’.

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Veg Hakka Noodles

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There was a small little Indo-Chinese joint near my college which served the usual fare of Hakka noodles, fried rice and manchurian. The lovely part was that one plate of noodles or rice was just Rs. 25 and even better that it was sufficient to satiate two college kids. The best part of that was that they even served us half plate for half the amount. So if one couldn’t find someone to share the meal with you could always half it. The joint was small with very little seating capacity and the taste was just about fine but it was so much value for money that you had college kids flocking there at all times.

So when I picked this street food theme for this week’s Blogging Marathon, I wanted to blog about my days in Mumbai and the street food there. Somehow I have not managed to fully explore the street food in Chennai or Bangalore. I am guessing that a bit of comfort and money became barriers to the eating anywhere and everywhere. I was in Mumbai during my teens and early adulthood when one would not be very flush with money and also have that spirit of adventure to try stuff. As I grew older the ambience and comfort became as important as the food and the love for street food diminished. This trip down memory lane is making me get back to that exploratory mode. So maybe I will get around Bangalore and find some delicious food in a hole in the wall in the near future. Wish me luck!

Till then you can enjoy the recipe for this awesome Hakka noodles. Though it is usually made with wheat noodles, I have replaced that with flat rice noodles because the daughter and husband prefer it more. Also I figured we have modified the Chinese cuisine so much beyond recognition that one more change won’t hurt as much. Right?

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Recipe adapted from here

Serves 3-4

WHAT WE NEED

200 gms  Flat rice noodles

3-4 cloves Garlic

1  Dried red chilly

1/4 cup  Spring onion greens, finely chopped (extra for garnishing)

7-8 Button mushrooms

7-8 Baby corns

4  Baby Zucchini

1  Capsicum, medium

2 tsp  Soy sauce

1/2 tsp  Vinegar

Salt

Pepper

Water

Oil

WHAT TO DO

  • Heat a large vessel with 4-5 cups of water and add salt and few drops of oil
  • Once it comes to a boil, add the noodles and cook as per package instructions (usually between 5-8 minutes)
  • Once the noodles is cooked, drain the water and pass some cold water through the noodles to stop cooking
  • Add a tsp of oil and mix so that the noodle strands don’t stick to each other
  • Finely chop the garlic, mushrooms, baby corn, zucchini and capsicum
  • In a pan, heat 2-3 tsp of oil
  • Add the dried red chilly and finely chopped garlic
  • Once the garlic starts turning brown, add the spring onions and stir for a minute
  • Add the rest of the vegetables to the pan and mix well
  • Let it cook on high flame. It should take about 5 minutes to be cooked but still retain a bite
  • Add the soy sauce and mix
  • Add the noodles, vinegar, salt and pepper
  • Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Turn off the gas and garnish with spring onions
  • Serve hot with vegetable or paneer manchurian or any other gravy of your choice
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. The flat rice noodles can be substituted with any other noodles of your choice
  2. Other vegetable options include carrot, beans, etc.

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Street Food’.

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Goan Egg Curry

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Any decent cook needs to have tried and tested recipes for classic dishes which are used so frequently that one can make it in her sleep. I have been searching for a fool proof egg curry recipe for quite a while now but somehow the recipes I tried so far failed in one of the key criteria – husband and kid should like it, has to be easy to make, should not involve tough to get ingredients. Finally I found this one and it has succeeded on all three counts. Except coconut milk, all ingredients are usually always available in my kitchen and thanks to my everlasting love for Thai curries, I have coconut milk as well. If you don’t have coconut milk, increase the grated coconut quantity by 3-4 tbsp and add regular milk. 

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Protein – Egg 

Recipe from here

Serves 3-4

WHAT WE NEED

Coconut milk                    1/2 cup

Tamarind paste                      1 tbsp

Green chillies                          2-3

Cumin seeds, roasted             2 tbsp

Dried red chillies, roasted    2-3

Coriander seeds, roasted       2 tbsp

Poppy seeds, roasted              1 tbsp

Coconut, grated                       3/4 cup

Garlic cloves                            6

Chopped ginger                      1 tbsp

Oil                                             1/4 cup

Onions, finely chopped         2 cups

Curry leaves                            2 sprigs

Tomatoes, finely chopped    2 cups

Garam masala                         1 tsp

Turmeric powder                   1 tsp

Eggs, boiled & shelled            6

Salt

Coriander leaves to garnish

WHAT TO DO

  • Grind together the grated coconut, ginger, garlic, green chillies, roasted cumin seeds, roasted dried red chillies, roasted coriander seeds and roasted poppy seeds to a fine paste
  • Heat oil in a pan and add onions and curry leaves
  • Cook until onions are translucent and add the tomatoes
  • Cook till the oil separates, around 6-7 minutes
  • Add the ground paste, garam masala, turmeric powder and salt and cook till the oil separates again
  • Add two cups water and cook till it boils
  • Simmer for 10 minutes and add coconut milk and tamarind paste 
  • Let it come to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the eggs and garnish with fresh coriander 
  • Serve hot with rotis or paratha
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’.
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Mor Kozhambu

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This is me saying hello from Mumbai. I got here over the weekend to spend a week with my parents. Every time I plan a visit to my parents’ place, I have visions of having strong filter coffee while reading the newspaper in the morning, lounging around the sofa the entire day watching pointless television serials, getting my favourite dishes piping hot and fresh and spending time with my friends talking about everything and nothing. But what actually happens is I am rushing from one place to another cursing the Mumbai traffic, gulping down the coffee in a minute,  shopping in a frenzy and meeting so many people but talking jut a few sentences and rushing again. The only thing that remains constant is mom managing to make all my favourite dishes despite any crazy schedule we have.

One of my favourite dishes is this mor kozhambu. I love my mom’s version but I never manage to nail it and so I picked this recipe online despite my mother fuming. This is the last week of this Mega Marathon and I am showcasing miscallenous proteins – from diary based to flour based to eggs. 

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Mor Kozhambu ( curd based sambhar) is a creamy concoction of curds, coriander seeds, some lady’s fingers and few spices. It goes very well with beans parupu usili and rice.

Protein – Curds

Recipe from here 

Serves 3-4

WHAT WE NEED

Lady’s fingers                     5-6

Canola oil                            2 tsp

Curds                                    3 cups

Turmeric                             1/4 tsp

Salt

Coconut, grated                  1/2 cup

Green chillies                      3-4

Split pigeon peas                 1 tsp

Coriander seeds                  2 tsp

Cumin seeds                         1 tsp

Raw rice                                1/2 tsp

Coconut oil                            1 tsp

Mustard seeds                      1/2 tsp

Curry leaves                          2 sprigs


WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the split pigeon peas, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and raw rice in hot water for 10 minutes
  • Cut the lady’s fingers into 3″ pieces and fry them in the canola oil for 4-5 minutes with salt till it is cooked
  • Drain the water and grind the soaked ingredients along with green chillies and coconut to a fine paste. Add little water, if needed
  • Take the curds in a vessel and whisk it well
  • Add the turmeric powder and salt and mix well
  • Add the lady’s fingers and ground paste and mix well
  • Cook on medium low flame till it comes to a boil
  • Simmer for 3-4 minutes and take off the heat
  • Heat coconut oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds and curry leaves
  • Pour it over the mor kozhambu
  • Enjoy it with rice, Adai or sevai

NOTES

  1. The lady’s finger can be replaced with ash gourd or chow chow. These do not need to be sautéed. Cook them in a little water for 5-6 minutes and add to the curds

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the theme, ‘Protein Rich Dishes’
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