If you like roasted almonds and almond butter, in this post, we’ll share a tastier and healthier Moroccan alternative that can bring some excitement to your kitchen. Here, we’ll share the traditional Moroccan amlou recipe and teach you everything there is to know about this tasty spread, including its origin, history, variations, serving tips, and much more.
But let’s start from the beginning…
What Is Amlou?
Amlou is a brown paste made of roasted almonds, honey, and argan oil with a peanut butter-like texture. Most often used as a spread, amlou is a very popular snack that originates from the southern part of Morocco where you can find plenty of argan oil which is one of the main ingredients for the amlou recipe.
As you’ll see later amlou is very easy to make. The most difficult part about it would probably be finding some argan oil.
How Does It Taste Like?
I can’t think of any things whose flavor can be compared to amlou but it’s safe to say that the flavor of almond dominates while the salt and honey create a perfect balance of nutty and sweet. That’s why you can use it as both, a dip and a spread and you can consume it as a snack, as a breakfast, or as dessert (it isn’t as good as some other Moroccan desserts like chebakia but it’s quite decent).
Origin & History
The origin of the traditional amlou recipe is tightly related to the Argan oil produced from Argan trees that flourish in arid weather conditions like the ones in the southern part of Morocco. Because of the region’s unique climate, these trees can only be found in Morocco and nowhere else. The first written mention of Argan trees is tied to the Moroccan village of Argana. It’s likely that the tree was named after this village near the city of Agadir (in the southwest of Morocco).
Now, you might be wondering how the Argan oil is produced and the procedure is rather fascinating. Local goats simply love the fruits of argan trees and the fleshy part of the fruit is one of their main staples. In fact, goats like this fruit so much that they climb trees to retrieve it. And it gets better than. After the goats eat the fleshy part of the fruit, they spit out the hard, nut out. Now, these nuts contain kernels which is the main ingredient for producing Argan oil.
Today, argan oil is one of the most important ingredients for the cosmetics industries but Moroccans have been using it as a skin moisturizer and hair conditioner as early as 1550 B.C. according to ancient Phoenician written sources. The use of argan oil in cosmetics in the western world started after explorer Leo Africanus mentioned it in his writing after his trip to Morocco in 1510. After this, wealthy Western European nobles went crazy after this rare, exotic oil.
This leads me to the next point. Did you know that…
Argon Oil Is The World’s Most Expensive Oil?
Because of the complex production procedure and the fact that the Argan tree can only be found in the south of Morocco, argan oil is considered to be the world’s most expensive oil. The tree is so rare that in Morocco it’s also known as “Tree of Life” or “Miracle Tree”. Botanists from around the world tried to plant this tree in other parts of the world but they all failed.
The tree doesn’t even grow in the northern part of Morocco! That’s why UNESCO declared the 800,000 hectares with Argan trees in the south of Morocco “a biosphere reserve” and to this day, this is the only place in the world where you can find argan trees.
But let’s not get too far from the topic of this post which is the amlou recipe.
How To Reach The Right Consistency?
Amlou should be slightly more liquid and it shouldn’t have a paste-like consistency. Traditionally, Moroccans use an ancient local device called “Arhaa” to grind the almonds to a fine smooth powder. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to get your hands on one of these but a grinder or a food processor should get the job done even though it won’t be the same as using an “Arhaa”.
But at the end of the day, the consistency depends on your preference. If you want to have a thicker consistency (i.e. for a paste), use less Argan oil and more honey and if you want a thinner consistency (i.e. for a dipping sauce), use more Argan oil and less honey.
In Morocco, amlou is traditionally served either for breakfast or as an afternoon snack alongside some tea and Moroccan pancakes/pastries. Amlou goes great with m’semen bread, baghrir, or harcha. But if you want to, you can also have it alongside khobz bread as a spread or use it as a dipping sauce. I’ve even seen some people (not Moroccans, of course) spread it on vegetables like avocado or add amlou to their salad. As far as experimenting goes, the options are unlimited.
Enjoying this post? Then you may also want to check out some of our other Moroccan recipes!
Frequently Asked Questions About Amlou
Can You Store It?
If you make this tasty dip/spread at your home, you can store this amlou for up to 6 months. Just make sure you use sanitary food containers or jars and make sure to shake or stir the jar/container before serving.
On the other hand, if you buy ready-to-use amlou, this will have an expiry date but in general, packaged amlou is edible for up to 2 years if it’s kept in a cool and dry place. This brings us to the next question…
Where To Buy Ready-To-Use Amlou?
Yes, you can. There are numerous websites online that sell amlou. Just make sure to read the reviews before you make a purchase because some vendors sell subpar products. Personally, one of my favorite amlou online vendors are Purecode, Auzoud, and Nectarome Amlou.
What Makes Amlou Different From Almond Butter?
There are two main differences. The first one is the flavor; amlou has a richer and sweeter flavor (because of the honey and argan oil). The second difference lies in the texture. The texture of amlou slightly resembles that of Nutella. It’s very smooth, very creamy, it’s easier to spread and it doesn’t get hard with time.
Can I Use Anything Else Except Argan Oil?
First of all, if you’re buying argan oil online, make sure you’re buying the culinary oil and not the cosmetics/beauty oil. That being said, if you can’t find argan oil or can’t have it delivered to your location, you can use olive oil but the final product will be different. If you choose to do this, try to use high-quality extra virgin olive oil as this is the closest thing to argan oil.
Alternatively, you can also use regular almond butter, honey, and some olive oil. The flavor of this mixture is as close as you can get to the amlou recipe with everyday ingredients.
How To Identify Real Argan Oil?
Argan oil for cooking is expensive enough as it is but there are also a lot of people online who are selling something completely else. Fortunately, there are some ways to figure out whether the oil you got is real or not.
Firstly, argan oil should have a unique and strong scent. If your oil smells of paprika or sunflower, you should return it and ask for a refund. Another way to identify real argan oil is by rubbing the oil in your skin. If after 30 minutes, your skin still didn’t absorb the oil, it’s most likely a fake.
Last but not least, when you store argan oil in the fridge, it should get harder. As a rule of thumb, the harder it gets, the purer it is.
Did you ever try amlou? How did you like our amlou recipe? If you tried making this at home, don’t forget to leave us a rating and if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
A Few Things You May Need
- 3 Cups Raw Almonds (400 grams)
- 3/4 to 1 Cup Argan Oil (200 ml), depending on the consistency you want to achieve
- 1/3- 1/2 Cup Honey (115 ml), depending on how sweet you want it to be
- 1 Teaspoon Granulated Sugar
- A Sprinkle of Salt
1. Preheat your oven to 380 F and in the meantime, wash and drain the almonds.
2. Add the almonds into a baking pan and spread them evenly.
3. Roast for 15-20 minutes until the almonds become crunchy.
4. Let the almonds cool down and then grind them using a grinder or a food processor at high speed. If you’re using a food processor, you may want to shake the machine while running to keep the almonds from sticking to the bottom.
5. Keep grinding until you end up with a smooth mass that can be poured into a bowl. This should be done in 3-4 minutes.
6. In the meantime, you can preheat the honey.
7. Once you get a smooth paste, pour it into a bowl and start adding some argan oil into the paste while stirring.
8. This recipe will give you traditional consistency but if you want the paste to be thicker use a little bit less argan oil and vice versa.
9. Add the warm honey and a sprinkle of salt to the mixture.
10. Serve amlou on a bowl alongside a Moroccan bread/pastry and some tea and enjoy!
Serving Size:1 portion
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 89Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 61mgCarbohydrates: 7.2gNet Carbohydrates: 7.2gFiber: 1.6gSugar: 4.5gProtein: 3g
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