Vegan Cabbage Kimchi : A Recap

Vegan Cabbage Kimchi : Recap // Mono + Co

I have been making vegan cabbage kimchi with a non-vegan recipe from the very popular Korean food cooking site Maangchi.  While the flavor is uniquely complex, the method is definitely not.  Just mix everything together and …. wait.  A day on the counter at room temperature is enough for the lactic acid bacteria (the good guys) fermentation process to create that pungent/tangy flavor of a classic kimchi.

I went through a phase when there was always cabbage kimchi in my refrigerator until I ran out of Korean red pepper flakes.  It was a good few months before I got my hands on this crucial ingredient again.  I found myself fumbling through a few sites just to recall the modifications and pointers that I so often referred to during the beginning of my kimchi making days.  It’s easy to take them for granted so here’s a list of them put down for future references.

+ How to make Kimchi Vegan?

Simply replace the fish sauce with light soy sauce and omit the fermented shrimp from the seasoning ingredients.  I came across this vegan fish sauce recipe from Vegan Miam that was used by Minimalist Baker for her easy kimchi recipe.  I decided to stick to the light soy sauce since I think the fermentation process will probably make the difference too subtle to be noticed anyway.  But the vegan fish sauce recipe will be very handy when making Pad Thai.

+ What about Buddhist Vegetarian?

Before I tried out vegan temple meals in Korea, I always thought vegetarian kimchi comes in white color, form of pickled cabbage in vinegar with a piece of red chili as garnish.  I have no idea who gave me this concept.  By now I know that kimchi dishes made without the garlic, chives, and scallions in fact come with red pepper flakes, looking just like traditional kimchi.  This is the only recipe I can find online to make kimchi without Osinchae, and this link briefly mentioned fermented soy bean paste and mushrooms.

+ Cabbage : to chop or not to chop

When it comes to the prepping the cabbage for kimchi, there are two ways:
One, for Pogi Kimchi/Traditional Kimchi, you can divide a big head of cabbage into quarter chunks by making a few slits at the base where the core is and tear the cabbage apart by hand, then sprinkle coarse sea salt in between the leaves and leave them aside for 2 hours to let it sweat or,
Two, you can chop the leaves into bite-size pieces and soak them in a pot of brine for 1 hour.  This is the method for Mak-Kimchi /Fast Kimchi.

For both methods, I like to press the leaves with a heavy pot (photo below), this helps to squeeze out water from the whole cabbage or to keep the chopped leaves fully immerse in the water instead of floating.  The cabbage is ready when the white stems turn soft and you can bend them without breaking.  The important thing is to rinse the leaves thoroughly to remove the salt and then drain the cabbage well.  What you are left with is a pile of limp leaves which you can then proceed to spread with the kimchi sauce.  A detailed salting process is documented here with lots of photos and lots of cabbages, which brings me to the next point.

Vegan Cabbage Kimchi : Recap // Mono + CoVegan Cabbage Kimchi : Recap // Mono + CoVegan Cabbage Kimchi : Recap // Mono + CoVegan Cabbage Kimchi : Recap // Mono + Co

+ How many heads of cabbage do you use?

I don’t make cabbage kimchi in bulk due to the lack of storage space in the refrigerator and I can’t leave them on the counter forever at room temperature as they need to be stored under cold temperature to slow down the fermentation process.  Otherwise, they will become too sour for my liking.  Since the kimchi continues to ferment in the refrigerator, I also can’t leave them there forever.  So I use at most 1 large size napa cabbage, which seems a lot at first but not so after the salting process when water is drawn out from the leaves.

Since Maangchi’s recipe is suited for 3 to 4 heads of cabbages, I will always have leftover kimchi sauce.  The good news is that the sauce keeps well refrigerated for up to 3 months.  Sometimes, I’ll even double the sauce recipe and freeze it in freezer safe containers so that come next kimchi-making session, I only need to thaw the sauce and do the soak-cabbage-in-brine step for a quick kimchi fix.

Vegan Cabbage Kimchi : Recap // Mono + Co

+ How to store Kimchi?

After mixing, the head of cabbage fits perfectly into my 23cm glass casserole for its first day of fermentation at room temperature (28C-30C), or 2 airtight containers that I transfer to store in the refrigerator subsequently to slow down the fermentation process.  Keep an open box of baking soda inside the refrigerator to absorb the smell of kimchi before it gets absorb by other food.

Vegan Cabbage Kimchi : Recap // Mono + Co

+ Can Kimchi go bad?

I personally don’t enjoy overly-fermented kimchi where sourness overpowers everything.  I can usually finish mine within a month, given how little I make in the first place (by Korean’s standard of course.)  According to here, Kimchi can turn bad, although it’s rare, that’s why the Koreans have their kimchi refrigerators.

Vegan Cabbage Kimchi : Recap // Mono + CoVegan Cabbage Kimchi : Recap // Mono + Co

Besides eating cabbage kimchi as a side dish, it can be used to make other dishes such as this soba, this sandwich, this pancake, etc.

Here is the recipe I modified from Maangchi’s.  I drastically reduce the amount red pepper flakes (she used 2 cups) so that my kids can enjoy this wonderful treat as much as I do.


Simple Kimchi

napa cabbage
coarse sea salt

Porridge
2 cups water
2 tablespoons glutinous rice flour
2 tablespoons raw sugar

Seasoning
24 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/2 cup + 1 heap tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped chives
5 stalks green onions, chopped

If making quick kimchi, chop the cabbage into bite-size pieces and soak in water mixed with sea salt.  The brine should be really salty to taste.  Soak for 1 hour.

If you like to have kimchi with whole leaves intact, make a cross slit at the base of the cabbage, and tear the cabbage apart with hands from the core, you will have 4 portions of cabbage complete with green leaves and white stem.  If the head of cabbage is really huge, I will divide it into 6 sections.  Rub coarse sea salt in between the leaves, paying more attention at the thicker white stem portion.  Leave the cabbage in a shallow pail/pot.  Optional: place a heavy cast iron pot on the vegetables to squeeze out the liquid in the cabbage.  Leave this aside for 2 hours, turning the cabbage over once or twice in between.

In the meantime, prepare the kimchi sauce.  In a saucepan, add water and glutinous rice flour to form a uniform mixture.  Bring to boil while stirring the whole time.  Once the mixture starts to boil and thicken, add sugar and simmer for 1 minute.  Turn off heat and let porridge cool completely.

To make seasoning sauce, mix cooled porridge, minced garlic, grated ginger, red pepper flakes, soy sauce and stir well.  Add chopped chives and green onions next to mix.

When the cabbage is ready, rinse the leaves 3 times to thoroughly to remove salt.  Drain well.

To make mak kimchi with chopped cabbage leave, toss the leaves with half of the kimchi sauce prepared earlier in a large mixing bowl.  Transfer to a clean container.

To make kimchi with whole cabbage leaves, scoop some kimchi sauce with a clean tablespoon and drop it on the cabbage, spread the sauce evenly on each leaf with hands (gloves optional), roll it into a tight ball and place it in a clean pot/container.  Repeat with the rest.

Cover the container and leave it on the counter to ferment for one day at room temperature.  Taste test, if the fermented flavor is to your liking, you can then transfer the kimchi to be chilled in the refrigerator where fermentation will slow down.

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Taro Raisin Buns

Taro Raisin Buns // Mono + Co

Fluffy soft pull apart bread for breakfast again, this time with raisins.

Taro Raisin Buns // Mono + CoTaro Raisin Buns // Mono + Co  Taro Raisin Buns // Mono + CoTaro Raisin Buns // Mono + Co


Taro Raisin Buns

270g plain flour
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
120g steamed taro
1 tablespoon raw honey
60g whipping cream (38%)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
15g cold butter cubed
50g raisins
optional: rolled oats for garnish

** Soak raisins in a bowl of warm water for 30 minutes.  Drain and gently squeeze dry to remove excess liquid before use.

In a mixer bowl, place plain flour, instant yeast, mashed and cooled steamed taro, raw honey, cream, beaten egg and knead with a dough hook attachment on the lowest speed (KA 1).  Stop the mixer when the ingredients come into a ball.  Let the dough rest for 15-30 minutes.

After resting the dough, sprinkle the sea salt on the dough.  Start the mixer running on its lowest speed again to knead the dough for 1 minute, before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage, this is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Add raisins while mixer is running and knead for about 1 minute to incorporate the raisins into the dough. Remove the bowl from mixer, cover and bulk rise for 1 hour.

After an hour, the dough will rise and increase its volume, punch it down to release the gas, and transfer to a clean work top.  Flatten the dough to push out gas trapped inside the dough, either by hand or a rolling pin.  Flour hands and worktop to help with shaping if the dough is sticky.  Divide the dough into 6 equal parts, shape each into a ball and place it in a greased tin or pan, seam side facing downwards.  Let this sit in a draft-free place to rise for another 50-60 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 25 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely before slicing or serving.

Store in a covered container if not consumed immediately, to keep the loaf soft and the crumbs from drying out.

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Hand Sewn Produce Bag : Plain Design

Hand Sewn Product Bag // Mono + Co

Instead of Tenugui, I hand sewn another version of produce bag with another 100% cotton fabric found under the curtain section of Daiso.  Like the scallop border, so I sew the bag without drawstring loop to keep this design intact and simply seal the sides using the blanket stitch.

Hand Sewn Product Bag // Mono + Co

Reinforce the bag opening by going through the fabric with several repeated stitches using contrasting colored thread.

Hand Sewn Product Bag // Mono + Co

And they turned out nicer than I thought.

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Anpan

Anpan // Mono+Co

Pillowy soft dough with sweet red bean paste filling.  Anpan used to be a must-buy for me before the varieties of buns increased along with the number of bakeries islandwide.  Bought this packet of red bean paste from Daiso and used my favorite dough recipe with mashed taro to bake 6 buns in a rectangular pan.

Anpan // Mono+CoAnpan // Mono+CoAnpan // Mono+CoAnpan // Mono+Co Anpan // Mono+Co Anpan // Mono+Co Anpan // Mono+CoAnpan // Mono+Co Anpan // Mono+Co


Anpan

290g plain flour
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
150g steamed taro
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 egg
50g water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
20g cold butter, cubed
35g x 6 red bead paste **
white sesame seeds

** I use ready-made Azuki red bean paste from Daiso.

In a mixer bowl, place plain flour, instant yeast, mashed and cooled steamed taro, raw honey, beaten egg and knead with a dough hook attachment on the lowest speed (KA 1).  Slowly add the water with the mixer running, you may need more or less of the water stated in the recipe.  Watch the dough, when the ingredients come into a ball,  stop adding and turn off the mixer.  Let the dough rest for 15-30 minutes.

After resting the dough, sprinkle the sea salt on the dough.  Start the mixer running on its lowest speed again to knead the dough for 1 minute, before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage, this is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Remove the bowl from mixer, cover and bulk rise for 1 hour.

After an hour, the dough will rise and increase its volume, punch it down to release the gas, and transfer to a clean work top.  Flour hands and worktop with flour to help with shaping if the dough is sticky.  Divide the dough into 6 equal parts.  Flatten a piece of dough on the work top and place 1 x 35g red bean paste in the middle.  Wrap the azuki bean paste inside the dough and shape it into a ball.  Place it in a greased tin or pan, seam side facing downwards.  Repeat for the remaining 5 pieces of dough.  Let them sit in a draft-free place to rise for another 50 minutes.

Just before baking, sprinkle some white sesame seeds on top of each bun.  Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 23 minutes.

Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely before serving.

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Taro Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns // Mono + Co Hot Cross Buns // Mono + Co Hot Cross Buns // Mono + Co Hot Cross Buns // Mono + Co Hot Cross Buns // Mono + Co

Jumping on the hot cross bun bandwagon with my taro enriched bread recipe.  I realized that my 6″x9″x3″ rectangle pan is perfect for baking this recipe!

This hot cross bun is made plain, without raisins and mix spice.  So I serve it with butter and kaya, local style.


Taro Hot Cross Buns

270 plain flour
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
120g mashed taro
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 egg
50g water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
20g butter
for cross:
1 tablespoon plain flour
water

In a mixer bowl, place plain flour, instant yeast, mashed and cooled steamed taro, raw honey, beaten egg and knead with a dough hook attachment on the lowest speed (KA 1).  Slowly add the water with the mixer running, you may need more or less of the water stated in the recipe.  Watch the dough, when the ingredients come into a ball,  stop adding and turn off the mixer.  Let the dough rest for 15-30 minutes.

After resting the dough, sprinkle the sea salt on the dough.  Start the mixer running on its lowest speed again to knead the dough for 1 minute, before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage, this is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Remove the bowl from mixer, cover and bulk rise for 1 hour.

After an hour, the dough will rise and increase its volume, punch it down to release the gas, and transfer to a clean work top.  Flatten the dough to push out gas trapped inside the dough, either by hand or a rolling pin.  Flour hands and worktop with flour to help with shaping if the dough is sticky.  Divide the dough into 6 equal parts, shape each into a ball and place it in a greased tin or pan, seam side facing downwards.  Let this sit in a draft-free place to rise for another 50-60 minutes.

Make a flour paste with plain flour with just enough water to smooth but not runny paste.  Pipe the paste on the top of each bun to make a cross.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely before slicing or serving.

Store in a covered container if not consumed immediately, to keep the loaf soft and the crumbs from drying out.

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Pumpkin Sourdough (No Recipe)

Pumpkin Sourdough // Mono + Co Pumpkin Sourdough // Mono + Co Pumpkin Sourdough // Mono + CoPumpkin Sourdough // Mono + CoPumpkin Sourdough // Mono + Co

No recipe because while mixing the dough, I got lost halfway jotting down how much flour I have topped up.  Did I stop after 2 tablespoons? Or was it 3?  But I remember starting the mixture with 270g of flour.  Without adding water, the dough was already wet with liquid from the starter, pumpkin, and honey.  I enjoyed the bread: sweetness from the pumpkin that ends with tangy flavor. Crumb is moist and slightly burnt crust was thin and flavorful.  Definitely worth trying again to find out the amount of flour I added.

Ingredients + steps for my future reference:
+ plain flour, unknown amount
+ 150g fed starter
+ 120g mashed steamed pumpkin
+ 2 tablespoons raw honey
Mix and left to autolyse for 1 hour.
+ 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Knead with mixer until the salt is incorporated into the dough.
+ 18g cold cubed butter
Knead till window pane stage.
Transfer to a covered container and leave in the fridge for 1 day.
Next day, remove from fridge, shape the dough gently into a ball, creating a smooth and stretched outer surface.
Line the bottom of a dutch oven with rice flour.  Place the shaped dough inside, dust surface of dough with rice flour, score the loaf to liking and bake covered for 40 minutes in a preheated oven at 250C.  I made a 30 degree cut to create “ears”.
After 40 minutes, remove the cover and bake for another 20 minutes at 220C.  When done, transfer the bread to a rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour, before slicing or serving.

Pumpkin Sourdough // Mono + Co

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Flaxseed Taro Loaf

Flaxseed Taro Loaf // Mono + Co Flaxseed Taro Loaf // Mono + Co Flaxseed Taro Loaf // Mono + Co Flaxseed Taro Loaf // Mono + Co

I applied a step from making sourdough bread to this yeasted recipe: only add salt to the dough after the autolyse stage.  It didn’t seem to make any difference to my taro bread recipe, but I thought my dough reached window pane stage slightly earlier than usual.  Someone else commented the same thing here so this could be making an impact on my bread just that I didn’t know. There is really no harm adding the salt later (I think) so I will be doing this for all my future bread recipes.

The flaxseeds were a last minute add-on.  Got them on a 20% offer, $5.44 for a 500g pack, and they are organic.  The bread rose tall enough after 50 minutes into its final proofing but I find the bread top too bare.  Before sending it into the oven, I mist the loaf with water and sprinkle a tablespoon of flaxseeds on top.


Flaxseed Taro Loaf

270g plain flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
100g steamed taro
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 large egg
70g water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
20g cold butter, cubed
1 tablespoon flaxseeds

In a mixer bowl, place these ingredients: plain flour, instant yeast, mashed and cooled steamed taro, raw honey, beaten egg and knead with a dough hook attachment on the lowest speed (KA 1).  Slowly add the water with the mixer running, you may need more or less of the water stated in the recipe.  Watch the dough, when the ingredients come into a ball,  stop adding and turn off the mixer.  Let the dough rest for 15-30 minutes.

After resting the dough, sprinkle the sea salt on the dough.  Start the mixer running on its lowest speed again to knead the dough for 1 minute, before adding cubed butter, one by one.  Knead until the dough reaches window pane stage, this is when the dough becomes very smooth and elastic, and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Remove the bowl from mixer, cover and bulk rise for 1 hour.

After an hour, the dough should rise and increase its volume, punch it down to release the gas, and transfer to a clean work top.  Flatten the dough to push out gas trapped inside the dough, either by hand or a rolling pin.  The dough is quite sticky, flour hands and worktop with flour to help with shaping.  Shape the dough into a log and place it in a greased bread tin, seam side facing downwards.  Let this sit in a draft-free place to rise for another 50-60 minutes.  When the bread has risen to the rim of the baking tin, brush some water on the surface and sprinkle flaxseeds even on top.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 30 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan immediately after baking, and let it cool on a rack completely before slicing or serving.

Store in an airtight container if not consumed immediately, to keep the loaf soft and the crumbs from drying out.

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Step-By-Step Guide : Hand Sewn Produce Bag

My hand sewn drawstring bag turned out more useful than I thought.  Originally made to store my homemade bread, I have started using them for buying loose items like dried beans and mushrooms from the dry goods store.  I have also started using them for the fresh produce shop, for broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, carrots, fresh mushrooms….

I used this Tenugui from Daiso, measuring 87cm x 35cm.  Since they already come hemmed at the sides, sewing work is minimal.  I chose to sew a drawstring version so that the produce will not fall out from the bag.  An alternative is bag clip, this will be an even simpler project as there will be no need to sew a loop for the cord.

Fold and iron the shorter sides to create a loop for the string to go through later.

Start sewing.  I sew with a blind/invisible stitch so that the stitches can hardly be seen on the right side of the fabric.

Here is a great instructional video to illustrate the how-to.

If I use white color thread, the stitches will hardly be noticed.  Repeat the series of blind stitch on the other end.

To sew the side seam, I used the blanket stitch.  And here’s another video.

Stop sewing when you reach the loop section.

Repeat for the other side.

Flip the bag out.

I used a safety pin to guide a cotton ribbon through the loop.

Tie a knot with the ends and the cotton drawstring bag is done.  Handwash and line dry before use.

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Walnut And Dried Longan Sourdough

Walnut and Dried Longan Sourdough // Mono + CoWalnut and Dried Longan Sourdough // Mono + CoWalnut and Dried Longan Sourdough // Mono + Co

The natural starter rose to more than doubled it’s original volume but I still have balance bread.  What to do when the bread baking schedule cannot catch up with the starter’s feeding schedule?

i. The easiest way is to skip a day of baking.
Discard starter to leave just 1/3 of the weight that you normally need (mine is 150g, so I discard to leave 50g of starter in the container)  for baking, feed it with equal amount of flour and water (mine will be 50g of flour and 50g of water) and leave it in the fridge.  By the time I need it for the next day or the day after, I simply return it to room temperature on the counter and once it rises to double or pass the float test, I will use it to mix the dough.  If the baking break is too long, and the starter does not appear to be active or doubling its volume, 1 or 2 more feedings might be required to reactivate its strength.  To do so, discard to leave  1/3 of the weight of the fed starter required by the bread recipe and feed with flour and water.  Repeat this once or twice a day until the starter regains back its strength.

ii. Make sourdough pizza dough like this.

iii. Make sourdough pancakes or waffles.

iv. I chose to bake a sourdough that requires 2-3 days of long fermentation time so that my bread consumption can catch up with my productive baking timetable.  After using 125g of my 150g fed starter for a Tartine’s walnut sourdough recipe, I feed it with another 20g flour and 20g of water to maintain a 60g starter.  This can then be kept in the fridge or leave it on the counter for next day to be fed for a different bread dough.

For this Tartine’s sourdough, I adapted from here, (I like the timetable he puts up) halved the recipe and added dried longans for sweetness.  Just like my previous Tartine recipe attempt, the dough was too wet to be shaped or handled at my 30C room temperature, so I let it final proof and ferment in its shaggy state in the container without shaping, only to gently gluten stretch it into a boule just before baking and it worked out fine.


TARTINE WALNUT DRIED LONGAN SOURDOUGH

adatped from the perfect loaf

125g fed starter
350g water
500g of plain flour
(original used 50g wholewheat 450g white flour)
10g sea salt 
25g water 
1 cup toasted walnuts 
1/2 cup dried longans **

** In a small bowl, rehydrate the dried longans by covering them with just enough water.  Gently squeeze out excess liquid before adding them to the dough.

In a large mixing bowl, add fed starter to 350g of water and stir with a wooden spoon to mix well.  Next, add plain flour, turn on mixer to knead with a dough hook to form a wet dough.  Cover the bowl and leave this aside for 40 minutes (I left mine to autolyse for 60 minutes.)

Sprinkle sea salt over the dough and pour the remaining 25g water, start the mixer and knead on its lowest speed setting.  The dough by now will appear very stretchable and doesn’t stick to the side of the bowl while the mixer is running.  Stop once the salt and water has appeared to be mixed well into the dough.  Remove bowl from mixer and transfer this to a covered container.  Leave this in the fridge for 1st fermentation.  The original recipe did its bulk rise and turns immediately after this.  I wasn’t in any rush, so I gave the dough a whole day in the fridge.

Next morning, take out the dough from the fridge and do a series of turns 6 times at 30 minutes interval.  No need to bring the dough to room temperature.

Turn 1 : Reach of the dough from the bottom of the bowl and pull up to tuck it to the opposite side of the bowl.  Turn the bowl and repeat for another pull-stretch-tuck action for about 3 more times till one round is completed. Leave this aside for 30 minutes.

Turn 2 : Repeat the same pull-stretch-tuck action, when completed, add the walnuts and rehydrated longans and roughly mix them into the dough with few folding actions.  Leave aside for 30 minutes.

Turn 3 –  6 : Repeat as above.  By the end of the 6th turn, cover the container and put the dough back into the fridge for another overnight retardation.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 250C.  Take out the dough from the fridge and shape the cold dough gently into a ball, careful not to break up too much of the air pockets that has built up inside the dough.  Place the dough inside a floured dutch oven pot.  Sprinkle flour on surface and score, cover the pot and put it into the preheated oven bake for 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, remove the cover, reduce the oven temperature to 220C and bake for another 30 minutes.

Cook on rack completely for at least 1 hour before slicing.

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