Amlou spread: how to make this very Moroccan, very Berbere and very nutty spread
Amlou is a sort of Moroccan spread coming from the Amazigh section of Morocco made from toasted almonds, Argan oil and honey.
Argan oilcomes from Sounthern Morocco only and nowhere else in the world. It’s one of our exclusively exported products. You may find it in Gourmet shops or order it online. If you happen to be in Morocco, buy it from Essaouira and its regions or from one of the “Marche Central” (Central Market) in Casablanca where you find a trusted shop where they sell good honey and authentic Oil. I even buy my Amlou paste from there because they make it right in front of you.
They add honey to sweeten it and you can buy small bottles of 250g or more.
Make sure you buy the oil and its derived products which have been produced by women’s Cooperatives and therefore made by local women from the Southern region. These Cooperatives allow some kind of fair-trade business to flourish and therefore help the poor people and families of that region!
In some places, they might cheat you by selling you mixed Argan oil or if you are looking for Amlou, you might get a peanut paste instead of almond, so beware of that.
There are 2 types of Argan, one for culinary use and one for cosmetic use (apparently very nourishing and anti –wrinkles). Make sure you buy the right one.
The basic use of Amlou is as spread on your morning toast. However, Gourmet people will use it for cooking and baking due to its wonderful nutty flavour!
Back to Amlou. Of you course not everybody has that old style grinding mill used to make a fine paste of the almond. So a mortar or a meat grinder will do the job (not a food processor).
Amlou is not time consuming in the making process. So go ahead!
For almost 2 cups
- 250 g of almonds skin on
- 170 ml of argan oil for cooking
- 2 to 3 tablespoons warm honey
- 1 or 2 generous pinches of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat an oven to 110° C.
On a baking tray, spread the washed and drained almonds. Sprinkle the salt and roast them for about 20 minutes. Toss them and make sure they’re not burnt but just crunchy. Just like the ones you would put on your table as nibbles.
Let the almonds cool. Then grind them into a fine paste (twice or 3 times).
At this level, you might introduce a powerful food processor. On a low speed, whiz up the paste with half of oil then keep adding it to your liking, either to have a compact paste or more liquid.
Anyway, this step, after 8 or 10 minutes, a bit of patience, should give you a nice smooth and silky paste. Add in the honey and stir. If you like it sweet, add more honey but do not go crazy either. And make sure it’s a good one.
Serve Amlou on a small plate with your favourite bread. Usually the nutty flavour of this spread goes well with a wholemeal bread, or Rye.
Amlou will keep for two months in cool, dark cupboard in a well sealed jar. Stir it before serving because the ingredients tend to form layers: the laws of physics.
Lately, I have made madeleines with Amlou. On the savoury side, I have made roasted chicken thighs with Amlou served with Iranian style rice.