Lahmacun Recipe

This pizza-like, thin, round dish, topped with herbs and minced meat (also known as Armenian Pizza, Turkish Pizza, Lahmajun and Lahmajoon) is very famous in Armenia and Turkey. In fact, that’s how I first found it. My first visit to Turkey with my schoolmates left a lot of pleasant memories. Aside from staying at 5 star hotels and having a big allowance to splurge on anything I wanted (through high school sponsorship), I fell in love with the Turkish kitchen.

Lahmacun Recipe
 
It was a very warm June day. After a walk on the pier, we were invited to a restaurant called “Gaziantep”. From many meals we were offered, Lahmacun really stood out for me. Although I admit that I was very hungry, the smell, the taste and the healthy ingredients in Lahmacun impressed me so much that it quickly became my all-time favorite Armenian/Turkish dish. I love it so much that every time when we travel, I look for Armenian and Turkish restaurants that serve Lahmacun. To my disappointment, only very few restaurants in the United States actually serve Lahmacun…some say they are not equipped for it, some say that they only make it for some customers that special order it. Anyway, I do not want to sound like an advertiser who stops you at the mall and shows a product down your purse :P Make it, and decide for yourself if there is anything not to fall in love with!

Like any other pizza-like recipe, it is certainly nice to have a brick oven to bake Lahmacun, but I can assure you, it is absolutely doable in a simple conventional oven. Do not get upset if something doesn’t go the way you wanted. You can always alter the recipe, according to your own need and taste.

If you have any questions, please drop a comment below and I will be more than happy to answer it.

Yield: 10-12 Lahmacuns
Prep. time and baking duration: about 2 hours

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • 0,5 tsp sugar
  • 1+1/2 cup of warm water
  • 4,5 cups of flour (you can use pain wheat)+
  • Little oil to brush the dough

Ingredients for the topping:

  • 12 oz of minced beef or lamb (I always use 85 % lean beef)
  • 1 big onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 Tbsp of butter
  • 1,5 cups of fresh curly parsley
  • 1 cup of fresh mint
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 tsp of chili pepper
  • 1 jalapeno (optional) (I personally use pickled hot peppers instead of jalapenos)
  • 1 tsp paprika (optional)
  • 1 tsp of cumin (optional)
  • salt according to your own taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • little oil to brush the dough

Directions for the dough:
In a small bowl mix yeast and the sugar. Add 1/2 cup of warm water, stir well, close the lid (or cover with plate). You can leave the bowl on the counter but I usually put it somewhere warm. Warmness accelerates the process and better activates the yeast. Activating yeast is important to have a better rising dough. Keep the mixture warm for about 15 minutes without opening the lid. When the time is up, you should have a nice foamy liquid. Even if you do not, still keep it and make the dough. It will still work.

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In a large bowl combine the remaining water, flour and the yeast mixture.

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Mix everything well and kneed it into a nice soft, springy dough. It should be soft as your ear lobes. Add flour or water as needed. A well-kneaded dough will be much easier to work with later. Keep this in mind!

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Coat the dough with just a little bit of oil, cover with damp cloth and leave it to rise in a warm place. I usually cover the bowl with the lid and bundle it up nicely to have a good volume dough. Give it a rest for around 1 hour before you take it out from the cover. When you do take the dough out, make sure it has doubled in size.

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Once the time is up, open up the lid and punch the dough a little. Flour the working surface and drop the dough. Cut it into pieces smaller than a tennis ball but larger that a golf ball. You should have about 10-12 pieces.

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Roll each one and place on the floured surface. Cover with a damp cloth and let it stand until your topping is ready (20 min). Turn the oven on and keep it at 420 F.

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Directions for the topping:
Meanwhile, prepare the topping. This picture really makes me smile. I love vegetables. I also love that ground beef in there :)

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Wash the greens well and chop them nicely. I usually wash and soak parsley with mint in water prior to using them. This way all the dirt remains in the water.

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Cut the onion and garlic in pieces, put the pieces into a chopper and chop until nicely minced.

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Heat the skillet in medium-high, melt the butter, add onion+garlic mixture, saute for about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low, close the lid and simmer for 2 more minutes. Take the skillet off the burner and cool the onion mixture.

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Peel the skin off tomato and cut it to very small pieces. A lot of people like to seed the tomatoes. I don’t like it, since it also removes all the juice from the tomato. But if you feel like seeding the tomato, go ahead.

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Have all the ingredients in one big bowl. At this point, add chili pepper, salt, cumin, lemon juice, paprika, chopped jalapenos (or chopped pickled hot peppers) and mix everything very well. I am stressing this – the ingredients MUST be well mixed!

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The dough is well rested at this point. Take one by one and roll into a round, flat circle or an oval measuring up to 5 mm in height. I like my Lahmacuns very thin. This way they come out a little crispy. My husband likes them much softer so I make his portion a little thicker but no more than 5-8 mm.

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Some use pizza stones to bake Lahmacuns. While it is a good alternative for the original brick ovens, in my opinion, it is not very practical. So, I suggest using regular baking sheets. Sprinkle some non-fat cooking spray (or just a little oil will work), place rolled dough on the sheet, slightly brush with some olive oil (canola oil works too) top up with 2 Tbsp of the ready topping. Spread the topping evenly and very thinly.

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I place 2 doughs in one regular 11″x17″ size baking sheet. If you have bigger sheets and want to use those, you are more than welcome to do so. 3 baking sheets are enough to keep the whole process going pretty fast. Put two baking sheets in the oven at a time. The top one usually gets baked faster. When you take the ready batch out, rotate the bottom one to the top and place a new batch on the lower rack.

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The oven should remain at 420F – not too high and not too low. Since you are going to be constantly opening the oven, the temperature ideally will stay at about 370F. Cooked Lahmacuns are crispy at the ends and softer in the middle. Corners usually get nicely tanned. Take them off the baking sheet to a wider container and cover with a towel until you are done with every single one of them. Humidity under the towel will soften Lahmacuns, making it very easy for you to roll them around the fresh ingredients you might want to use.

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Pace yourself, the process is a little overwhelming. But the end result is worth every minute of your time in the kitchen. We really enjoy Lahmacuns rolled around onions, some fresh curly parsley and hand-squeezed lemon juice.

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Bon appetit!

Comments

  1. ha umrindan baraka topkur, hamirga barmogini tiqmasdan rasmga tushir keyingi sapar :)

    yaxshi chiqipti, lekin mangayam yumshorogi yoqadi. a to slishkom crispy milklarimga qattiq botib qirib tashiydi :))

  2. Vaaayyy daxshat! :D
    Huddddiiiii o’zimizani ona lahmacunlaga o’hshab chiqibdi, yonida ayran ham qipsiz :( havasimni keltirib…
    Mayli bookmarksga qo’shib qo’yi :D bo’sh bo’ganimda qilib ko’raman!
    Raxmat recipe uchun…

    • Ona lahmacun qanaqa bo’ladi Libra? Boshqacha bir turimi?

      • bugun blogizni aylanib yurib endi ko’ribman savolizni :D
        Ona Lahmacun deb o’zimizni qadrdon lahmacunni etgandim lol)))
        yangi recipelar chiqibdi ^^ mazza qilib ko’rib chiqvomman…
        Kstati, maslahatlaringiz uchun katta raxmat, Nikon D3000 oldim sonunda… :) Ishlaringizga omad…

  3. this turkish pizza is great… i want to make it! thanks for the new cuisine. Turkish food is a brave new world!

    • Deana, indeed Turkish kitchen is very rich. I wish I could go to school to learn to make more Turkish dishes :) So far I am recollecting my memories from Turkey! I love the country and I love their cuisine.

  4. Yay! This recipe comes in time for me to try out this weekend! But I might just half the recipe for just the both of us!

  5. By the way, do you use all-purpose flour or bread flour for these?

    • Ergül hanim, I used all purpose flour for this recipe. Please try and let me know. Would be great to get a perspective of expert in Turkish cuisine :D I hope you enjoy it!

      P.S. I make extra even if I know it is more than my family can eat. My husband loves to have it the second day, too :)

  6. Merhaba! Do you bake them all complete with the toppings on the first day for the extras? How do you warm them up the following day? It is a good idea to make lots of these tomorrow because I will be away from Wednesday and it will be good to keep him happy with these ;)

    • Lola Mansurov says:

      Merhaba Ergul hanim :) I do make all of them in one batch with the topping on. Since the topping has a lot of herbs+meat, I do not recommend leaving it for a later use. Just make the whole batch. Wrap nicely so that water doesn’t get into them, and put leftover lahmacuns into the freezer. It will stay there with no problems until you need it. If you want to consume them, you can either place them into the heated oven (350F) for couple of minutes, or you can microwave them. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask. I am here working on some other articles and will be able to answer your questions promptly.

  7. Love this !

  8. Most professionally written recipe on Lahmacun that I’ve seen. Thank you. I can’t wait to try it.

  9. Hi, Lamachuns are so yummy to eat and very simple to make. This is the best oven cooked lamachun recipe so far that I have tried. My kids and husband love them. When we were in Turkey this and pides were the only things the kids would eat.

  10. I am totally impressed by your effort to make Lahmacun this well.
    Good job!!!
    Iffet

  11. This is quite controversial, but “lahmajoon” or however one would like to spell it in English is actually Armenian Pizza. This will be disputed, especially by Turks, however it is common misconception and many chefs do, in fact, claim that they are aware it has been descended from Armenia. Just thought you’d like to know. :)

    • Nasim Mansurov says:

      Gina, thank you for letting us know. To make it fair, I went ahead and added the recipe to “Armenian Cuisine” and changed some of the language in the recipe. Hope it doesn’t offend anyone anymore :)

    • “This will be disputed, especially by Turks, however it is common misconception and many chefs do, in fact, claim that they are aware it has been descended from Armenia”

      It is actually Arabic (“laḥm ˁacīn”, means meat and bread in Arabic) and modernized by Turkish (at the times of the Ottomans) but I have no problems if you call it Armenian, Greek or even German (yeah, in Germany some Germans even argue that these stuff are invented there but claimed by Turkish)

      We, Turkish, share an important portion of our cuisine with the neighbors (Arabic foods with Armenians and Mediterranean ones with Greeks) so there always will be some dispute. Even if the name itself explains everything =) I am lucky that I had the chance to live in a region where examples of so many cultures were present together.

      • Personally I do not care where things come from. What matters is people share and we learn from each other and enjoy fab tasty food. I’m actually making a version of lahmacun myself as I regulary eat out at Turkish restaurants as they are plentiful in London and I love it all ;-)

        I do believe it is traditionally served as lamb in turkey not beef but how people want to enjoy their version is their right of course.

        Enjoy ;-)

  12. I have been looking for a good recipe for these for years – ever since my back-packing trip around Turkey over 20 years ago. They quickly became my staple on the trip. And what a staple! I remember sprinkling sumac on top, giving them a tangy-peppery added kick. I am waiting for the dough to rise as we speak! Your photography is equally mouth-watering during the process.

    • Lola Mansurov says:

      Jeremy, I am thrilled that you like the process and the pictures. I hope your lahmacuns will come out even better :) Just watch out for the last step. Lahmacuns shouldn’t be over-crispy. Keep in them in the oven for about 10-12 minutes max. Let me know if you have any questions what-so-ever! I am right here to answer them.

  13. Jihan Yalpur says:

    Dear Lola
    This is the best so far for a lahmacun recipe…its looks easy for a house wife like me…my husband (he is turkish) told me that only certain people can make the lahmacun…and i cant wait to try this recipe tomorrow (as i had just finished cook karniyarik today)…and serve for him & waiting for a comment…coz all this time….he is the only jury for my cooking…Thanks again
    Jihan
    Bali,Indonesia

  14. Made them for my kids and me. Very nice recipe. I used a different base for the bread based on an artisan bread.
    2.5c wholewheat flour
    4c all purpose flour
    1,5 tbs yeast
    1tbs sugar
    .25 c olive oil
    2.75 c luke warm water
    2 tsp salt
    Put water, yeast, sugar, oil and salt in a 4 qt container. Mix in flour. Let rise covered
    until 3x size. Put in fridge until ready to use. No need to Knead the dough. Keeps for a week or so in fridge. Made about 14. Otherwise used your topping.

  15. Hi
    just stumbled across this whilst looking for a lahmacun recipe..when i lived in germany i had it all the time and now back in the UK i miss it so much!! just wanted to know if it is the same process if substituting beef mince with lamb mince instead?

    also how easy/difficult it this..i am a novice cook!!

    Yasmin x x x

    • Lola Mansurov says:

      Yasmin, I am sorry for I am getting back at you a little late :( This recipe is pretty easy. With the step by step images it shouldn’t be very hard.

      Yes, you can substitute the beef with the lamb and it will turn out just the same!

  16. just got back from turkey didnt think i could make them the same but it worked thanks for the reciepe
    cok guzel ,tesekuler

  17. Am going to try Lahmacun tomorrow.

    Will let you know how they turn out.

  18. Hi,
    thank you for the reciepe! Is this picture the real picture of your lahmacun? If, so,i wanted to aks you a question. I love those small dishes that are used for onions and lemons. Where did you get them? They are so beautiful!

    • Lola Mansurov says:

      Welcome to my blog, Irina! All the pictures in this blog belong solely to us/me. Those small dishes were gifts from my mother and unfortunately I don’t know where possibly you can buy them :( I believe mom got them from Dubai.

      • Lola-jan, all your pictures are really beautiful! I looked through the rest of the reciepes and love them all, this is just what i always cook (I am Russian and my husband is Iranian and we lived in Turkey for a while, so our food range is somewhat middle eastern and central asisan). I was surprised though that you haven’t include the Russian borsch! :D Anyways, I love your blog and will be checking back to see what’s new! Good luck! Irina

  19. I live in Sydney Australia, there are a lot of Turkish restaurants here, however unfortunately none of them know how to make a lahmacun, what they sell as lahmacun is more like a crap “kiymali pide”, same goes with their “doner kebabs”

    Thanks for this recipe, I’m going to try make it myself, wish me luck

  20. Hey,I live in Turkey and your recipe is nice :) But,everyone should come to the Turkey and eat Lahmacun in Turkey.You will like it more :P

    • I agree with you! I went to Turkey 4 times spending altogether about 6 months in Istanbul; this and donar kabob was a twice a day habit!!!! Turkish food is absolutely wonderful, if you get a chance go there and you will be amazed with the culture and great food!

  21. This is truly a great recipe! Thank you for posting this treat! I am so happy I found it! Again thank you!!!

  22. Hi when you say a ‘cup’ how bıg ıs a cup? I’m ın Turkey and am desperate to try thıs recıpe!!! 1 cup ın Turkey would be a 200ml cup. Thanks, Lori.

    • One cup is 240 mL. In Turkey, that’s a bit less than 1 standard water glass, 2.5 small tea glasses, 2 large tea glasses, or 3.3 Turkish coffee cups.

  23. I’ve tried to find me a good recipe for lahmacun, tried making couple of different times..
    But this .. THIS WAS IT!!!
    It was amazing, my family loved it, even my two boys that never had a chance to experience turkish food were in love with lahmacun.
    Thank you so much for taking me back to turkey and their amazing food, and for the pics that took me step by step and made my experience a lot easier ! :)

  24. hi, i dont know if its me bt ive read the recipe 3x (or maybe i keep on missing it) bt at wat point do u cook the meat or do u jst add the meat raw wen u add “all the ingredients in one big bowl” followed by chilli, salt, cumin… and it cooks itself at the end wen its in the oven
    plz reply asap coz im tinkin of makin dem in less dan 10 hours

    • From my experience with other recipes, you do not cook the meat; it cooks together with the dough when you put it in oven

  25. GARRY HARGROVE says:

    Hi, Lola: this is most curious. I was searching the web for recipes for lamajun (or lamacun), and came across your recipe, which I intend to try out when I recover from a recent total hip replacement. What is curious, though, is how I was first was introduced to lahmajun back in the late 1950’s. At the time my family and I were living in Aurora (out on the plains, east of Denver), and a Armenian family moved in next door to us, and they were kind enough to introduce us to lamajun. Our family loved this exotic Armenian pizza, but somewhere along the way, my mom lost our neighbor’s recipe.

    So here I am, 50 years later, looking for a lamajun receipe on the web and find yours – and there you are, living in Denver – not so far from where I first encountered it in the first place.

    I will let you know how it turns out.

    Regards,

    Garry Hargrove

  26. This dish is Armenian- NOT Turkish!

  27. hey i love this…..i went to istanbul 1998 and i had this there and i have longed for it eversince – thankyou for making me come – i have made this 3 times now and every time it makes me love this more and more xoxoxox

  28. Lisamaria says:

    I just made this was absolutely amazing thanks somuch for the ingredients! I had my first lahmacun in amsterdam lol it was amazing.!

  29. Hi

    Thanks for the recipe. I am trying to cook this as I write this ( I have put the lahmachun in the oven to cook). However, I’m a little worried because when I open the oven door to check I can smell raw meat….Hopefully it won’t smell raw at the end! Also, your end result pic looks very flat (the toppings). I have grated the ingredients, but it still looks quite thick on the dough. Will this flatten as it cooks?

  30. I made these lahmacun today , They came out perfect
    its heavenly ^_*

  31. Andrei Smirnoff says:

    Thank you for the great recipe. I recently tried lahmacun in Vancouver, Canada – http://lamajoun.com. I really liked the version without mint.

  32. looks delicious I’m about to make some. Love the pictures.

  33. Just wanted to say thank you for sharing this recipe. My wife and I used to live in Germany, and in a four year period I probably consumed three to four Lahmacun a week. I am so excited to try this out!!!

  34. Thank you for the recipe. I hardly find them in London and yet there are so many Turkish restaurants and take away. There are times I wake up with severe craving for Lahmajun and Pizza doesn’t do it on those days. I am making this these days, frustrating days are over.

  35. The lahmacun was delicious; thank you for sharing your insight and wisdom for this wonderful recipe.

  36. Hudda Khaliq says:

    It was very tasty. everyone like at home but i want to clear few things.
    1: what is the prepation time in oven.
    2: Pizza was crispy at the end which was very difficult for small children to eat.
    3: In oven meat take 20 minuts to make ready after that dough become very crispy.

    Regards,

  37. They turned out great/ Thank you so very much for sharing this ;)

  38. habib rahman says:

    i reale live this bred

    i want to eat at at home

    i wil try to cook this

    i eyet this in turkiya 2 years befor

  39. Harun H Özerkan says:

    Well done and “ellerine saglik” in preparing this blog. I would like to ask you one question. How would it work with wholemeal flour? One more thing, i agree with Ege, what is this agresiveness about where this beautiful dish comes from. One should enjoy food not fight over it. The funy thing is you would never see this kind of behavour from our Armanian neighbours who are actualy living in Armania or Turkey. Some how it is always the ones that are living else where and have been brought up with haterate. I feel sorry for those who live under the shadow of other peoples truth.

  40. Harun H Özerkan says:

    Well done and “ellerine saglik” in preparing this blog. I would like to ask you one question. How would it work with wholemeal flour? One more thing, i agree with Ege, what is this agresiveness about where this beautiful dish comes from. One should enjoy food not fight over it. The funy thing is you would never see this kind of behavour from our Armanian neighbours who are actualy living in Armania or Turkey. Some how it is always the ones that are living else where and have been brought up with haterate. I feel sorry for those who live under the shadow of other peoples truth.

  41. Thanks so much for posting this recipe! My friend and I cooked this– the flavor was great! We weren’t able to get the crust to be as thin as yours, so our dough was incredibly crispy, but it was still delicious!! I may refrigerate my dough next time to slow down the dough cooking time, since the meat mixture cooked relatively fast. Thanks again!

  42. I am very impressed by your web site. I am Turkish and have been leaving in USA since 1988. You are giving all the details in your recipes. You give a small introduction for every dish. Your explanations are great. Exellent…. exellent job. Keep up the good work. I have a web site too however mine is very new compare to yours. My purpose is introduce multicultural Turkish cusine to Americans. Turkish Cusine is melting Pot. Some people like to say this dish is from there this originated from this country. Is that make a difference. To me no. I find this kind of arguments none sense. I call my recipes Turkish becase I learn from my grand mother my mother in my country. Every body can make it her way that is ok too. That is called cravitity. We should look for Good food healty food. You are already doing this.
    Best Regards
    Meral

  43. Thanks! The recipe was great! I have one question though, I know its rare but what do you do with the uneaten lahmacuns? How long do they last? I made some yesterday and put them in a plate and wrapped in saran but didn’t refrigerate, trying to see if I should refrigerate or if they are not even edible anymore… never can be too careful with meats!

    • Lola Mansurov says:

      Z, do refrigerate whatever is left behind. If you are not going to eat it immediately, you can saran wrap it and put in the freezer. When the time comes and you are ready to finish it off, just defrost it in the oven and you are good to go.

  44. Marc Powell says:

    Hi,

    My girlfriend and her family are Turk-Cypriots originally from Stoke Newington and whenever we visit we always ensure to get Lahmacun from the local Turkish restaurant. I wanted to enjoy this delight on a more regular basis and hunted down this brilliant recipe! Thanks again for providing such easy to follow steps and not scrimping on the detail.

    Regards,
    Marc

  45. I’m Mexican, this looks good, I’m making this shit tonight.

  46. Adamantios says:

    Great recipe for lahmacun, a dish popular from Armenia, through Turkey and Syria, and over to us Greeks of Cyprus. Food is food, politics doesn’t come into it. We all have a right to a claim on this dish, due to our past shared history. Thank you again

  47. hey dear, i love lahmugeen of turkey it is my favourite food,
    i am traveling to Turkey next month, and for sure i will eat lots of lahmuggeen.
    thanks for sharing

  48. Good morning. My family spent over 5 years in Turkey from 1968 to 1972 and again from 1973 to 1975 as my Dad was in the Air Force. We lived in a small town called Yalova just across from Istanbul on the Sea of Marmara. We also lived on the Air Force base called Karamursel. Anyway, I always loved lahmacun and noticed that it tasted differently depending on what part of the country you were in. Yalova’s lahmacun was my favorite but I also enjoyed it in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. They were all similar in taste but with subtle differences. Not that it matters because I can’t wait to try your recipe. I do remember though that we rolled our lahmacun up before we ate them, and in Istanbul they were rolled up before we bought them. Anyway, through the years after we left Turkey my Mom would make us Kofte with Turkish rice and with Borek and sometimes Dolma. She passed on the recipe to me and I’ve continued making it for those ‘special’ meals every now and then. I know my family will love lahmacun and I’m grateful for you providing the recipe. I’ll let you know how it turns out! All the best to you, Bill

  49. My mom is Armenian and I grew up eating lahmajun. It is readily available in Armenian restaurants, but of course, there needs to be an Armenian population where one lives for there to be Armenian restaurants. I live in Fresno, California and every Armenian restaurant in town serves it. There is a deli that makes the best lahmajun. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Thanks for your post and thanks for adding that it is part of Armenian cuisine because it is actually Armenian.

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