Thursday, July 26, 2012

Batbout and Amlou

Morocco has always fascinated me. I would love to visit their one day. I like Moroccan food, and I think their architecture is beautiful. The closest I've ever gotten to Morocco is Epcot in Disney world, but that is so neat. I cannot even imagine what the real Morocco looks like. One day when I'm extremely rich and have time to travel the world, I'll make sure I go to Morocco. I don't really ever s that happening, though. My two career options right now are dairy farmer and missionary/ English teacher in a foreign country. These really aren't luxury jobs. I would get to travel in the second one. Maybe I could be a missionary in Morocco. Only one percent of the population is Christian.
Female literacy in Morocco is 39%. This doesn't really surprise me. I heard that Arabic is a very hard language to learn. This number should soon go up, though. Primary school is now mandatory.
When you think about Morocco (at least when I think about it), it feels like it doesn't really fit into Africa. Maybe it has to do with all the European influence Morocco has had, but I picture it more as a Middle Eastern country. Maybe even European. It's a Mediterranean country. Maybe this has something to do with it. Or maybe I'm just crazy. Yeah, that's probably it...
Anyway, today’s breakfast was one of my favorites. It was also one of my complete failures. The batbout didn’t puff up like it was supposed to. Traditional batbout are perfectly round and puffy like a pita. Mine were flat and ugly. The amlou is supposed to be made out of a special oil called argan oil. That’s what makes it amlou. We don’t have that type of oil at our local grocery, so I stuck with vegetable oil. Traditionally, amlou is made using a mortar and pestle. You can make it using a blender, but this alters the appearance. Since my amlou was already going to taste different because I was using the wrong oil, I wanted it to at least look right. My mom and I went on a hunt for my dad’s mortar and pestle. He bought it to grind up spices not long after he and my mom got married. He only used it twice. Maybe. Now after 21 years, three kids, and six moves, it is nowhere to be found. Oh well. At least it tasted good. (That’s all that matters.)
Even though my meal looked and tasted wrong, I was okay with it. Harp said she hated the dip, but loved the bread. My mom hated the bread, but loved the dip. Me (the supposedly picky one) loved both of them. If I ever go to Morocco, I will introduce them to my new and improved version of batbout and amlou.

BATBOUT (makes 8-10)
2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 TBSP vegetable oil
2 tsp yeast
1 cup hot water
1 tbsp sugar
 Add yeast to the water and stir. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Knead and divide into balls. Let rest 10 minutes. Roll the balls into 1/8 inch thick circles. Let them rise for 1 hour. Cook on a medium heated skillet.

1 cup almonds
½ cup argan oil
3 tbsp warm honey
pinch of salt

Toast the almonds. Once they are cooled, put them in a blender, and blend until they start to form a paste. Stir in the oil, salt, and honey.

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