Amlo (AM-LO) is a richly tasty mixture or spread made of organic roasted almonds mixed with Argan Oil and then sweetened at the end with Pure Honey. Amlo is a great delicacy among the Imazighen or Shlooh, known as Swassa, living in the South of Morocco . It is usually served with bread at breakfast, or as a filling with Baghrir, Msamen , Harcha, Rziza, or Malwi or any sort of Crepes. It is a widely used ingredient, especially in the South of the Kingdom, in cooking, dressing and baking i.e Cakes, Friandes, Sauce, Bread, salads etc...
Traditionally in Souss Region (South of Morocco), to make Amlo, almonds should be grinded in an old traditional Grinding Mill called "Arhaa"-See picture below, which grinds almonds into a lovely golden brown paste. However, for this recipe, I used a food processor, but the original version of Amlo grinded by "Arhaa" is still my favourite version, it is so smooth and delicious, absolutely stunning!
To make Amlo, you need Argan oil, the most expensive oil in the world, and which is native to specifically South of Morocco. Argan tree is considered to be one of the rarest species of trees in the whole world and it is called "The Tree of Life" or "Miracle Tree Oil" by Imazighen or Shlooh of South Morocco. Argan trees spread through thousands of hectares in the South as Agadir, Awlouz, Essaouira, Ihahan, Tarodant, Tiznit, Chichaoua etc.... Surprisingly enough, Morocco is one of the only places in the world to obtain the nuts to make Argan Oil. These Argan trees grow only in the South of the country and NOWHERE ELSE. Even within Morocco, you cannot find Argan Tree for example in the North, East or West! Some people tried to plant it in Spain, France, some parts of Morocco etc... but for some unknown reasons, it did not grow. So many research studies were done on Argan Tree to discover its secret and it becomes so precious and so expensive now that UNESCO declared a few years ago that "800,000-hectare area in south-West Morocco between Essaouira and Agadir a biosphere reserve because it is the only place in the world where Argan tree grows.
Argan Oil is also considered as a skin and beauty oil, since it is packed with natural vitamin E. Argan as Beauty Oil is white and transparent because the seeds are not toasted while the Argan Oil for cooking has a beautiful golden brown colour and it smells divine. If you intend to try Argan Oil for cooking, please make sure to buy the one used for culinary and not for cosmetic use. It is also important to remember that Argan Oil for cooking does not last too long.
Argan Oil and Amlo are difficult to obtain outside South of Morocco but you may order them online or via other suppliers (free trade). But be alert on fraud sites and make sure you are buying 100% Pure Organic Argan Oil. There is no reason for you to spend a lot of money on an expensive product as Argan Oil either for cooking or for beauty skin or hair and it includes other different ingredients nothing to do with the original product. An other important thing I would like to add is always make sure when you order Argan Oil online, that it is produced by a Women’s Cooperative (Profits are shared among the local women of Souss Region). Of course, you have an other alternative to get the Real Argan Oil, which is go and visit Morocco yourself to get it, but you have to go the SOUTH (Agadir or Essaouira or Ihahan or Awlouz or Taradounat etc....), and you'll pay three or four times less the price than if you buy it abroad and don't forget Morocco is one of the best places to visit and one of the safest countries in Africa!
However, unfortunately like any expensive product, there is imitation Argan Oil out in Morocco and all over the world. There are so many companies in Europe selling Argan Oil (In France, Spain, Germany, etc....). So first thing to bear in mind is NEVER buy Argan Oil outside Morocco, or in any part of Morocco, except in Souss Region, i.e only South of Morocco. And even if you happen to be in the South, make sure NEVER to buy Argan Oil in Local Souks or Beauty Shops or Supermarkets as "Marjane, Metro, Aswak Salam" etc..... , in these places, you might get the counterfeit version of Argan Oil instead of the real oil sourced from cooperatives. The fake version of Argan Oil may contain a bit of the real oil, diluted with sunflower and even some paprika. The best thing to do, is go directly to the cooperatives yourself and get the Pure Argan Oil. But if for some reasons, you can't, then ask someone you know well and who speaks Chalha of Souss to get it for you. It is very important that the person is Chalha Speaker (South Imazighen) because most women in Argan cooperatives or sellers don't speak Moroccan-Arabic. Believe me, speaking Souss Shalha makes a great difference when it comes to buy pure Argan Oil, or pure Olive Oil, or Pure Honey, or pure Saffron etc..., since all the sellers are not Arabs, but Shlouh (Swassa-Imazighens), and most of them don't speak Moroccan-Arabic. So speaking their language makes a big difference in how you approach them, ask questions, bargain etc.....
To know more about Morocco Languages and culture, click on the link below
Here are some tips from my mother-in-law that I'm sharing with you, hoping to help you to know that the thing you bought is the real deal:
1-Smell the oil, if you are familiar with the strong, unique scent of Argan, you can't be mistaken.
2-Ask to try a sample. Argan Oil is light and dry when compared to other oils. Rub a tiny bit on your hand, and after 30 minutes or 1 hour, check your hand, and if the oil absorbs into your skin, then it is Pure Argan. But if your hand is still oily, then this "Thing" you bought is anything but Argan Oil.
3-Pure Argan Oil for cooking does not last too long, so if you don't use it on a regular basis, put it in the fridge and add a pinch of salt in it, thus it will last longer.
4-Storing Agan Oil in the fridge also tells you if the Oil is pure or not, if it congels then it is a PURE and the more it congels the PURER it is.
By Mamatkamal, K. El Mary
Here is a picture of my lovely mother-in- law's Arhaa = أَرّْحاَ . She lives in Agadir, the most popular Town in Morocco!
This is a picture of Pure Argan Oil for cooking purposes, that I bought in Ihahan Region, near Essaouira Town!
-500 gr whole almonds, skin not removed / 500 gr d'amandes entières (Avec peau)
- About 4 to 5 tablespoon pure honey, more or less to taste / Environ 4 à 5 c à soupe de miel pur plus ou moins selon votre choix
-About 350 ml Argan Oil, you may need to add more or put less Argan Oil depending on the texture and consistency you like. / 350 ml d'huile d'Argane ( Ceci dépend de la consistance voulue de la tartinade, si vous aimez Amlou plus liquide ou plus épais!)
-About 1 teaspoon salt / Environ 1 c à thé ou café de sel
Method / Préparation:
1-Preheat the oven to 100°C. / Préchauffer le four à 100°C.
2-Rinse the almonds in cold water and allow them to drain for a few minutes./ Laver les amandes avec de l'eau froide et laisser égoutter quelques minutes.
3-Prepare a baking pan and add the almonds to the pan and generously sprinkle salt over the almonds. / Placer les amandes dans une plaque allant au four puis saupoudrer-les généreusement de sel.
4-Roast the almonds in the hot oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the almonds have barely darkened. While they are roasting, however, as they burn easily, stir frequently to ensure even cooking of your batch of almonds. You might also use a flat based frying pan to roast the almonds on a stove if you wish. / Faire griller et dorer les amandes pendant environ 15 à 20 minutes ou jusqu'à qu'elles soient bien dorées. Il faut remuer constamment pour éviter de brûler les amandes et aussi pour obtenir une coloration uniforme. Vous pouvez aussi utiliser tout simplement une poêle à sec pour griller les amandes.
5-Let cool for about 15 minutes. / Retirer du four et laisser refroidir environ 15 minutes.
6- Place half of almonds and half of Argan Oil into a food processor or blender and pulse several times for about 5 minutes. / Dans un robot culinaire assez puissant, verser la moitié d'amandes et la moitié d'Argane, puis mixer pendant environ 5 minutes. (Traditionnellement au Maroc, on prépare Amlou avec le moulin manuel qu'on appelle Ar7a ou Arha = أَرّْحاَ mais puisque j'en ai pas un malheureusement alors j'utilise tout simplement un robot culiniare).
7-Add remainder of almonds and Argan Oil and grind them to the texture you prefer. This may take 10 minutes or more. / Ajouter le restant d'amandes et le restant d'Argane puis continuer à mixer encore 10 minutes ou jusqu'à obtention d'une pâte bien lisse.
8-Now pour this lovely mixture over a large bowl and add in honey one tablespoon at a time stirring well. / Maintenant, verser ce beau mélange obtenu dans un grand bol puis ajouter le miel une cuillère à soupe à la fois, puis bien mélanger le tout.
9-Amlo will keep for two months. Store Amlo tightly in a sealed jar. / Conserver Amlou dans un pot hermétique à température ambiante jusqu'à 2 mois.
10-Always shake or stir before serving Amlo . / Toujours bien remuer avant de servir Amlou.
11-Serve for Breakfast and enjoy! / Servir pour pour le petit déjeuner et Bssa7a w ra7a!