International / Recipe

Onion Pakora Recipe

Learn how to make an authentic Onion Pakora recipe, a crispy fried Indian / Pakistani snack. Pakoras are made with chickpea (gram) flour, onions, and spices you already have on hand. Or make vegetable pakoras with some of your favorite vegetables!

The best authentic crispy onion pakora recipe (pakoda) served with a delicious pakora sauce. Pakoras are delicious, easy, vegan, and gluten-free! |

No matter the day of the week or the season, Pakoras (both onion pakoras and vegetable pakoras) always call for your attention on any day. This is the best pakora recipe and it makes for the most delectable afternoon snack or appetizer as an accompaniment to your favorite Indian or Pakistani dinner.

This is my mother’s onion pakora recipe; when she first married into my father’s Indian and Pakistani family, she learned from my favorite aunt how to make the best pakoras. This is truly a comforting midday snack meant to be enjoyed with your favorite chutneys and a cup of strong milky tea.

Across India and Pakistan, enjoying cup of chai with a pakora or two is a popular street snack of choice. Onion pakoras are a popular variety, but other quick-cooking vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, red bell peppers (capsicum), and spinach make for delicious pakoras.

pakora with chutney from

Pakora Recipe: What Are Pakoras?

Pakoras (pakodas) are a savory fried Indian / Pakistani fritter that is commonly enjoted as an afternoon snack or as an appetizer. They are commonly served with chutneys (sauces) and strong tea. For this pakora recipe, I made onion pakoras because it’s what I love, but you can use this batter recipe as a guide to make your favorite kind of vegetable pakora (more about veg pakoras in the recipe notes).

vegetable pakora in hand from

Ingredients for the Best Pakoras

When it comes to making pakoras, it’s as simply as mixing everything together. There’s a few basic ingredients you’ll need for this pakora recipe:

  • Besan (Gram Flour / Chickpea Flour) – This gives pakoras their signature Indian / Pakistani flavor. I prefer Indian brands of Gram flour as they tend to be superior than many American or European brands; if you shop at an Indian market, this shouldn’t be difficult to find. However, any brand of chickpea flour will work in a pinch. Depending on the brand of flour, you might need to add more water (as stated in the recipe) to get a perfect consistency for the batter
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – these add a nice amount of smokey background heat. The amount in this recipe is not intense, it adds just the perfect amount of flavor.
  • Fine-Grain Sea Salt – For flavor and to balance out the other flavors in the pakoras.
  • Baking Powder – This gives the pakora batter a nice airy texture and makes the pakoras airy and delicious once they are fried.
  • Green Chili Pepper – Just one, with the seeds left in, is the perfect amount of fresh heat and flavor for these pakoras. If you are sensitive to heat, use half and devein and de-seed the chili pepper. Be careful not to touch your face or eyes afterwards! If you prefer more heat, add a little more.
  • Cilantro leaves (Coriander) – This adds a nice herbal freshness to the pakoras; you will smell its delicious fragrance while you’re making the pakora batter.
  • Yellow Onion / Quick Cooking Vegetables – I love a delicious onion pakora as they are a childhood favorite of mine, but feel free to zhoosh up your pakoras by using your favorite quick cooking vegetables (refer to the recipe notes).
  • Luke-Warm Water – This makes the pakora batter. You want a batter that is thick like heavy cream (double cream), so do keep that in mind when mixing everything together. The water called for in the recipe is more of a guide– the end result of a thick almost-runny batter is what you should truly keep in mind. This varies due to climate and brand of flour used.
Pakora with chutney and sriracha sauce from

How to Make the Best Onion Pakora Recipe for Crispy Pakoras

Pakoras are incredibly easy to make. They require a few components: the pakora chutney, the pakora batter, and the fry.

Pakora Chutney – The chutney I’ve shared with this recipe is far from complicated. It is a deliciously modern ketchup chutney; simply mix together ketchup, water, chaat masala, some sugar, and salt, and you have a delicious dip for your pakoras.

The Pakora Batter – Pakora batter comes together in no time, so you’ll want to heat up the oil while you’re preparing the batter. For the batter: gram flour (chickpea flour), crushed red chili flakes, salt, baking powder, green chili, cilantro (coriander) and vegetables (in this case: an onion) are mixed together with water until the batter reaches the consistency of heavy whipping cream / double cream.

Frying Pakoras – The oil for the pakoras should be between 360ºF / 180ºC and 375ºF / 190ºC when you fry off spoonfuls of the pakora batter. I like the clean flavor of sunflower oil, but any neutral-tasting oil like safflower, peanut, canola, or vegetable oil would work perfectly here. When frying the pakoras, make sure to not overcrowd as each pakora will end up greasy.

Frying pakoras from

Tips for How to make the Best Pakoras

Use quick-cooking vegetables for pakoras – While onion pakoras are a delectable treat, feel free to substitue your favorite quick-cooking vegetables here to make veg pakoras. Raw potatoes and sweet potatoes would not work very well here, unless they are already pre-cooked. Boiled potato slices, carrots, red bell peppers (capsicum), cauliflower, or spinach would work beautifully to make delicious pakoras.

Use a thermometer – using a candy thermometer will ensure your oil is at the perfect temperature before spooning the batter into the hot oil. Alternatively, you can test the oil by carefully inserting the handle of a wooden spoon into the hot oil. The oil should bubble around it when it is ready to be used for frying the pakoras. If the oil bubbles very rapidly, you’ll need to lower the heat before spooning the pakora batter into the hot oil.

Make sure to not over-crowd the pan with pakora batter – this will lower the temperature of the oil and you might end up with greasy pakoras (there’s nothing worse than a greasy onion pakora!).

Don’t use paper towel to drain your pakoras – when it comes to fried foods like these pakoras, paper towel simply makes fried foods steam and get soggy. To ensure your pakoras stay crisp, drain them on a cooling rack placed over a baking pan. This will allow the excess grease to drain without making them soggy.

Pakora Recipe from

How to Serve Pakoras

I love that pakoras can bring brightness to a dreary day and act as the ultimate comfort food. They’re a delicious treat I grew up on. We’d eat them as a midday snacks with a cup of hot masala chai. I love how imperfect and rustic a pakora is once out of the hot oil– it’s simply irresistable. Traditionally, pakoras are served with various chutneys (sauces) such as the sweet and spicy pakora chutney accompanying this recipe and a steamy hot cup of masala chai.

Pakoras on Platter with chutney from

More International Recipes

Yield: Makes 24 Pakoras

Pakora Recipe

Pakora Recipe | Onion Pakora Recipe

It’s amazing how we inherit recipes through family. My mother inherited this crispy onion pakora recipe through marriage. When she married my father, she learned how to cook Indian and Pakistani food and she’s very good at it. She can make a mean pakora and her curried chicken is out of this world. My mother learned this recipe from my aunt S., who is a phenomenal home cook.

Do note that depending on the brand of gram flour / chickpea flour you use, you may need to add more water than what is called for in the recipe (up to 1 cup / 250 ml); just keep in mind that you want the pakora batter to be runny like heavy whipping cream / double cream.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


Ketchup Chutney

  • 1/2 cup / 120 ml ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ tablespoon chaat masala
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Pakora Batter

  • 2 cups / 250g besan (also known as: chickpea flour or gram flour)
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¾ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 green chili pepper, sliced
  • ½ cup / 15 g cilantro (coriander) leaves, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced into 1/8-inch half moons
  • 1 cup / 250 ml luke-warm water (may need up to 1 cup / 250 ml more)
  • Sunflower oil (or any neutral oil like vegetable, safflower, canola, etc.), for deep frying


Make the Chutney:

  • Mix all of the chutney ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Make the Pakoras:

    1. Fill an 8-inch cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottom pan half-way up with oil. This is no time to skimp on the oil; we are deep frying here. Heat the oil to 360ºF -375ºF / 180ºC - 190ºC.
    2. In a large bowl, mix together the besan, red chili flakes, salt, baking powder, sliced chilli pepper, cilantro, and sliced onion.Onions, gram flour, spices, cilantro (coriander) for pakora recipe from
    3. Slowly add in the water, while mixing with a wooden spoon or your finger tips. Vigorously mix for a couple of seconds. The batter should be thick, yet runny like heavy cream (double cream) and there should be some air bubbles visible on the surface of the batter. How to make onion pakora batter from
    4. Once the oil is heated, carefully place in heaping tablespoonfuls of batter into the hot oil (feel free to use an ice cream scoop for this; this is not exacting, though). Try not to overcrowd the oil because it will result in greasy pakoras. Fry until the pakoras are a pecan-brown. Drain the pakoras on a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet .
    5. Repeat with the remainder of the batter. Serve the warm pakoras right away with the Ketchup Chutney (or your chutney of choice) or sriracha, and a warm cup of milky tea.


    Vegetable Pakora Variations:

    Feel free to use your favorite quick-cooking vegetables in place of the onions to make your own delicious veg pakoras. Potato and sweet potatoes might not work very well here, unless they’re already pre-cooked.

    While I am partial to onion pakoras, feel free to experiment with the batter. Boiled potato slices, carrots, red bell peppers (capsicum), cauliflower, or spinach would work here.

    The Sauce / Pakora Chutney:

    I prefer this easy ketchup chutney as the pakora sauce for dipping, buy my grandmother loves eating pakoras with sriracha sauce, which is also lovely. I prefer the Shan brand of chaat masala, which can easily be found at an Indian or Pakistani grocery. If you can’t find chaat masala for the pakora sauce, a mixture of ketchup and sriracha sauce tastes great too.

    Nutrition Information:


    24 Pakoras

    Serving Size:

    1 Pakora

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 81Total Fat: 4.9gSaturated Fat: .5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 76mgCarbohydrates: 6.5gFiber: .9gSugar: .2gProtein: 2.5g

    Updated May 31st, 2020: This post has been updated from the recipe archive, it was originally posted on March 24th, 2011, then on May 19, 2016.


    • Belinda @zomppa
      March 24, 2011 at 9:46 pm

      Thanks for sharing this recipe!! I have a bag too sitting here…and seems calling to be made into pakoras!

    • tea_austen
      March 24, 2011 at 9:48 pm

      I just got home, hungry, and this is the first thing I see when I sit down at the computer.
      Dang. Now I’m REALLY hungry.
      Might have to be my dinner too…

    • Kirsten
      March 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm

      I am completely in love with your food tastes. Every single recipe that you post speaks to me and your photos make my mouth water…oh lord! Thanks for the fantastic posts and your rockin’ palette. You can have me over for dinner any time. – Miss Slice

    • tea_austen
      March 24, 2011 at 10:03 pm

      Okay, a question (because I really might make these for dinner): when you say red chili flakes, is that the same as crushed red pepper, or something else?


      • kamran
        March 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm

        yep! will edit that into the recipe… :)

    • Reshmi Varghese
      March 24, 2011 at 10:11 pm

      Lovely Pakoras..reminded me of my Mom making those on weekends :)
      Thanks for sharing..


    • Sonia@7spice
      March 24, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      I’m salivating now!!!

    • Lauren
      March 24, 2011 at 9:53 pm

      These look so wonderful, and if I’m not mistaken, gluten-free too :). The weather is the same here – doing that dance between spring and winter, today complete with freezing rain and brilliant white snow on the ground. The odd snow in May isn’t unheard of, though it does make things interesting!

      Also, you’re really coming into your own with the photos Kam. That last one? Absolutely love.

    • heidi leon
      March 24, 2011 at 11:31 pm

      oh God, since Règis and I moved to Asia we have become very acquainted with Indian food (meaning we often go to get our fix at one of the many Indian restaurants in town), the sad thing is I´ve always wanted to give a try and cook this type of food at home but I thought it was too much trouble.

      However, I think these onion pakoras can be a nice start.

      I only have one question: if I can´t find gram flour; can I substitute it for other type of flour or is it crucial for flavor and texture?.

      • kamran
        March 24, 2011 at 11:42 pm

        Hi Heidi, I wouldn’t really substitute as it really would compromise on taste and texture … If you can find dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), you can make your own chickpea flour (if you’re willing to do a bit more work).

        To make chickpea flour, you’d need about 3 cups of dried chickpeas and a coffee grinder, a food processor, or a blender. In small batches, simply grind the chickpeas until pulverized and smooth. Run through a sieve to remove any of the large particles and process again, and use as needed.

        I hope that helps. :)

    • kickpleat
      March 24, 2011 at 10:49 pm

      This looks so delicious!! I love pakoras and the sauce sounds good – though I love the raisin sauce you sometimes get with pakoras. Yum!!

    • Mika
      March 25, 2011 at 2:51 am

      Oh, pakoras…I love them…I usually put more spices in mine, but yours seems great and you know better than me how to make them…I love to eat them with yogurt too, but I have to try your super quick ketchup chutney!!

    • Jess
      March 25, 2011 at 5:35 am

      You grew up on these? That is awesome. I suppose onion pakoras are not really six-thirty-in-the-morning food, but if I had a bag of chickpea flour in my kitchen right now, I might just make them so.

    • shweta j
      March 25, 2011 at 5:49 am

      yum, all i need is a cup of hot,strong mint & ginger tea to drink with the pakoras. Thank you for the recipe : )

    • Brian @ A Thought For Food
      March 25, 2011 at 8:12 am

      I too have neglected the chickpea flour in my cabinet. I was going to do something with it months ago, and got freaked out and backed away. Thanks for inspiring me to give it a try.

    • Sense of Home
      March 25, 2011 at 8:56 am

      I have never heard of pakoras, they look very good and I think they would have been good with the chicken curry soup I made last night.


    • d.liff
      March 25, 2011 at 9:21 am

      These look so good, but finding the ingredients and making them seems difficult. Maybe I can find a good local Indian restaurant that serves them :)

      • kamran
        March 25, 2011 at 9:29 am

        Hi d.liff – All of the Ingredients are readily available at supermarket/grocery store except for the Chaat Masala, but I did mention that you can easily serve this with sriracha. And as mentioned in an above comment, if you are unable to find chickpea flour (which is usually found in the health foods isle of the grocery store… I use Bob’s Red Mill), you can make your own. As for the preparation, it’s less difficult than even making bread! All you have to do is chop and mix, which I am sure, many people would agree is quite easy.

    • torviewtoronto
      March 25, 2011 at 5:47 pm

      looks fabulous we enjoy onion pakoras

    • heidi leon
      March 25, 2011 at 8:28 pm

      thanks for answering my question Kamran, I think I will have to make my owm chickpea flour. How fun!.

    • Anita Menon
      March 26, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      I adore your non fussy way of writing and presenting the recipe. No fan fare, nothing-just the recipe and the related clean pictures. It feels genuine and I feel like giving it a try. Onion Pakoras or Bhajiyas, as it is known in some parts of India are a rainy day favourite or quick fix snack ( not that quick fix too). I make them lots of times and use potatoes, Big Green chillies, aubergines, raw banana apart from onions. But whatever you use, this tastes so appetising with a hot cup of tea. I ran through your recipe to see if I was doing it right along or not. Guess, I am not far behind :). But the ketchup chutney is an interesting add.

    • sangeeta
      March 28, 2011 at 4:22 am

      Hi Kamran…this is my first visit to your blog and loved this onion pakora nostalgia…we love them too but the chutney is mostly green coriander tangy one :)

    • Maris (In Good Taste)
      March 31, 2011 at 9:28 am

      Thanks for showing me something very new to me!

    • Melody Fury //
      April 4, 2011 at 9:24 pm

      Love chickpeas, never used chickpea flour. Now I have a great reason to. mmm

    • Joy, The Herbed Kitchen
      April 11, 2011 at 8:06 pm

      Kamran, your pakora are gorgeous. My favourite vendor at my farmers’ market sells pakora that is out of this world but dare I say, your’s look even better and just a touch more rustic. I’ve always had them with a sweet mango chutney and I’m curious about the ketchup chutney. It’s one my daughter will definitely appreciate!

    • Jeff
      April 16, 2011 at 10:38 pm

      Those look amazing! Sign me up right now!

    • Cat
      April 20, 2011 at 4:22 am

      Sounds mouthwatering, can’t wait to try this one out, thanks!

    • shayma
      April 26, 2011 at 2:51 pm

      hi kamran- i visited your blog a while ago- when the design was different- congrats on the new design and on “turning two”. youre so talented- and i mean that in the most non-patronising way possible. x shayma

    • panu
      August 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      I love the pictures and the way you describe food. Came across your blog randomly and now I am hunting back through the archives and okay, I think I want to add you to my list of loves at my blog hope you don’t mind.

      • kamran
        August 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm

        Thanks so much for your kind words and the add onto your list of loves, panu! :)

    • Aaisha @BakingPartTime
      November 28, 2011 at 8:57 am

      Craving pakora right now and yours look so good. Might have to run to the store tomorrow morning so I can make these for dinner. I love adding chopped potatoes or cauliflower to my batter. My dad is a huge fan of eggplant slices dipped in the batter and fried. I love that there are so many options.

    • Lucky Khan
      March 9, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      can i substitute tandoori masala for chaat masala ??

      • Kamran
        March 10, 2012 at 7:03 am

        Lucky- I wouldn’t, as Chaat Masala and Tandoori Masala are two very different spice blends!

    • frank
      April 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Love the pakora recipe also done some paneer pakoras and made a dip that was learned in glasgow.250g yoghurt,100g tomato sauce, 15g mint sauce,5g kashmiri chili powder mix all together and place in fridge for half hour add a sqeeze of lemon juice and mix just before seving.

    • Gurdeep
      April 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      Awesome – I love Punjabi food and these are great.

    • renu
      June 19, 2012 at 7:16 am

      Just tried this recipe(first time i have ever made these) and they taste yummy, in fact on par with my mum’s pakoras, so thank you very much.

    • Chickdiesel
      July 18, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Goes perfect with my dinner planned for my family tonight! Going to make them with spinach too, because my bous love them with more green veggies and dipping them in tamarind chutney! :-) Thank you for sharing your recipe!

    • Dana
      July 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      Just amazing! Served them to my guests on my birthday last weekend and they were a HIT!! Everyone loved them and they came out perfect at the first try. Thank you so very much. Will be frying some more this weekend too.

    • Darya
      November 27, 2012 at 9:07 am

      So, I’ve been making these delicious Pakoras ever since I saw this post, and they are much appreciated !!!
      Now that I’ve started my own little blog adventure, I had to share it as well. Most of the text is in French, but I do give a brief English version at the end.
      Thanks for the deliciousness!

    • Olive Nelson
      April 21, 2013 at 10:13 am

      Hi Kamran
      Glad that I surfed for a pakora recipe. I am supposed to be a good cook too (sorry for the immodesty) but your recipe sounds mmmmmm sooooo delicious. Gonna try it TODAY.
      The reason for looking for a pakora recipe was bcos I ate some delicious fresh potato pakoras from a diner at an Indian supermaket. They were sooo good. I am trying to figure out how they were a perfect golden brown and the potatoes cooked through? I am guessing that the potato strips were seeped in boiling salted water before adding to the batter. What do you think?
      Would love to hear from you. Thank you. Olive

    • Deb
      August 31, 2013 at 10:48 pm

      Found your site somehow, Pinterest maybe, and this pakora recipe, and I’m so glad I did! Made them tonight and they were delicious. In fact, that’s all we had for dinner too – stood there at the counter eating them as they cooled. I prefer the mint/garlic/cilantro chutney so I made that instead. Can’t wait to try more things from your blog! Thank you!

    • surbhee
      November 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      Can baking powder be substituted with something else?

    • Rachael
      November 29, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      I just finished making these, and, oh my god, are they delicious. I didn’t have and chaat masala OR siracha, so I just mixed some ketchup, chili paste, and cumin, and it tasted great!
      Thank you so much, I can’t wait to make these again!

    • Tiana
      May 27, 2014 at 3:45 am

      Thank you these were so darn good! I added parsley and garam masala because I love my pakoras spiced. The ketchup chutney scared me – haha. I made a tamrind chutney instead. Thanks for the tips- the pic of the onions was useful- more recipes should do that.

    • Brant (your thai-ness)
      June 1, 2014 at 2:01 am

      Thanks so much for sharing this.

      I have studied Thai cooking quite a lot and am now delving into Indian food. I remember some very delicious onion pakoras I had in an indian restaurant in Langkawi, Malaysia (not to mention some supurb butter chicken I had in Mandalay, Myanmar) in recent years, and I googled your recipe when searching for some guidance, how lucky for me..

      I mostly followed it by rote, but used red onion and some ground thai chili powder to what I thought was excess.. before tasting the final outcome…

      the Chaat Masala and Besan, I first tried to find in the local indian food store, but they only had huge sizes of packages.. weirdly enough, I found some right sized pkgs of haat Masala and Besan at the local walmart in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

      So first attempt to far, they were outstanding! as good as the restaurant memory, and not at all hard to prepare, your instructions made it quite easy..

      To turn superb into elegant, I would recommend you just find your mom’s or aunties recipe for mint chutney, and post it as the 2nd dipping sauce to be served in conjunction with that excellent ketchup Chaat Massla concoction..

      By the way, if your aunty or mom want to show a foreigner like me who appreciates exotic cuisines some of their recipes just let me know and I will be on my way to visit!

    • Cynthia
      May 20, 2016 at 12:47 am

      These look so good. Mom knows best. I love your story and how yours got this recipe by way of marriage. So lovely. Me and my husband love Indian food and our kids are learning to like it more. The spicier the better as far as I’m concernd haha! I do try my best at cooking it once in a while so I’ll try this recipe on Saturday. Do you have any other sauce recommendations?

      • Kamran Siddiqi
        May 20, 2016 at 3:09 pm

        Hi Cynthia– That’s fantastic. Traditionally, these are served with a milky black tea (usually masala chai) along with tons of chutneys. Usually green chutney or a tamarind chutney, or my family’s ketchup concoction. Another great dipping sauce would be a mix of ketchup and sriracha, which is great too! Hope that helps :)

    • Vana
      October 16, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      I had this for the first time last night. It tastes delicious. We had a sweet & spicy tambrind sauce drizzled over the pakoras. Yummm!

    • Noha
      March 20, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      I tried these and they were great! I paired them with homemade tzatziki sauce (grass fed yogurt, cucumber, mint, salt, garlic) and it was perfect, helped mellow out the spiciness. I have a question: how long does the batter keep? I didn’t want to fry it all at once because I didn’t think I could eat the whole thing. Should I cover it and put it in the fridge or freezer?


    • ankit kumar
      March 30, 2017 at 1:26 pm

      Hello, I tried this onion pakoras recipe and it tastes just awesome. I also recommend everyone to try this at least one time you will love this.

      Thanks for sharing such amazing pakoras recipe.

    • Chris Waghorn
      June 23, 2017 at 11:06 am

      These look and sound so delicious. I really could go a bowl of them while sitting in front of the TV watching sport with mates.

    • Keith Hill
      September 27, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      Recipe works perfectly. I had batter left over so kept it in the fridge overnight and it was great the next day.

    • Amit Pattnaik
      July 8, 2018 at 5:57 am

      The Onion pakodas do look really enticing. Now that the monsoon is here, the evenings (especially those of the weekends) call for such hot and spicy pakodas.. What could be better than just sitting by the balcony and enjoying the rains, sipping hot tea and such pakodas. Thank you so much for the recipe :)

    • Karthick
      November 1, 2019 at 12:51 am

      Wow. this is our favourite snacks in rainy season. Having this in the evening its awesome

    • Parveen
      May 24, 2020 at 6:09 am

      SO DELICIOUS. Just made your mum’s pakora recipe with a batch of strong chai for my family. Can’t wait to make these again. Pakistani Pakore are truly the best. Thank you to you and your mum! Sending many thanks from the UK!

    • Farah
      June 8, 2020 at 1:26 am

      WOW delicious >Thanks for positing i try it soon

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