31 Aug2010

Argan/Argane Oil

by Marketman

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Every time we enjoyed a Moroccan meal at our hotel or an upscale restaurant, there was a veritable explosion of unusual flavors, the result of a very liberal use of spices (flavoring, not necessarily chilies) that are used to infuse stews, slow roasts, salads, etc. On top of that layer of flavor, there was an occasional hit of rich nutty oil that turned out to be argan(e) oil from Argan trees native to Southwestern Morocco and now an endangered species.

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I thought kopi luwak or civet coffee was the only human foodstuff that was “seasoned” by passing through an animal’s intestinal tract but it turns out that goats traditionally fed on the argan nuts/fruit and they then pooped them out, at which point the locals collected the nuts, cracked them open, roasted them and pressed them for oil…. yup, poopy oil. :)

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Today, we were told, the nuts are collected uneaten and unpooped, then processed for “cleaner” oils, particularly ones that are used for cosmetic purposes. Hmmm. At any rate, we did purchase a bottle of argane oil for cooking with or to dress salads, and it does have a nutty, rich, almost meaty kind of taste… very distinctive. Noticeably different from all of the olive oils I have tried. Here, a photo of some of the nuts, then the peeled roasted nuts and an old-fashioned stone press.

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As we departed Amanjena, headed for the Medina in Marrakech, we were given a small bottle of argane oil, packaged in a wonderful wooden box, so we have two bottles of the stuff. You will notice them in use in a few of the dishes I will post soon.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. zena says:

    Very interesting oil this is.

    Aug 31, 2010 | 1:33 pm

     
  2. isuperlovelife says:

    i love experimenting with good oil and wish these were easy to find in manila :) one of the more fragrant and hard-to-find oils i’ve tried in the kitchen is pumpkin seed oil.

    Aug 31, 2010 | 4:22 pm

     
  3. Rowi says:

    Hi MM!
    You have in possession a highly regarded oil and considered much better than olive oil accdg to some olive oil experts. The first time I tried Argan oil, it tasted so unusual and distinct compared to olive oil and didn’t like it at all. I guess I was used to the taste of olive oil. But when I dipped a piece of bread in it with just a little sea salt, the taste was fantastic! I certainly would bring with me at least a bottle (it’s pretty expensive at least here) when I’ll have the opportunity to visit Morocco.

    Aug 31, 2010 | 4:53 pm

     
  4. Rona Y says:

    Because of poor planning, we ended up taking a taxi from Marrakesh to Essaouira. Six people (two of whom were quite large) in a cramped car, plus the driver–it was not fun. But on the way down, we got to see goats eating argan fruit/nuts IN the trees! It was surreal–maybe 4 or so goats standing on various branches in the same tree, gnawing away at the fruits. It reminded me of the old April Fool’s joke about spaghetti growning in trees, but it was real!

    I wish I had been able to take some pictures, but the memory will have to suffice.

    Aug 31, 2010 | 7:20 pm

     
  5. ian says:

    Dear MM
    I am officially back from Paris and living permanently in Manila. I catered before for some clients in Alabang and one of my courses was a pumpkin and bread soup flavored w argan Oil wc I also bought from Morrocco. My next caterings will feature grilled mackarel with preserved lemons, capers,olives and Argan Oil.
    Happy eatings and more power to you and your blog!

    Aug 31, 2010 | 8:37 pm

     
  6. Vettievette says:

    I’ve started using Argan oil in my hair upon recommendation from my stylist and the beauty supply place. I never thought it could be used in food! The name brand stuff is pretty expensive – $30 for 3 oz bottle, but the beauty supply place sold me their generic version for $9.99…it has some other chemicals in it so I doubt it’s safe for eating. ;p

    Aug 31, 2010 | 11:18 pm

     
  7. joey says:

    My uncle gave me a bottle of this so I’m looking forward to see how you are using yours because I am in need of ideas! :)

    Sep 1, 2010 | 12:04 am

     
  8. Marketman says:

    Vettievette, there is edible argan oil and argan oil for cosmetic purposes. I wouldn’t use the latter for the former, but see no reason why you can’t use the edible one for your hair… :) joey, I find it is best put to use in uncooked items or drizzled last minute on cooked items. Ian, welcome back home, happy cooking! Rona, how cool is that, seeing the goats eating the kernels. You should have considered combing through their poo for some free nuts…heehee, I’m kidding, of course. Rowi, you are right, at first taste it seems unappealing, but it grows on you quickly. The finest first press olive oils in Italy are often cloudy, murky green and a bit bitter — superb, but nothing like the grocery versions of “extra-virgin olive oil”…

    Sep 1, 2010 | 7:58 am

     
  9. Sarah Bretner says:

    You can buy argan oil in the US from Amal Oils (www.amaloils.com)

    Sep 2, 2010 | 6:54 am

     
  10. Mart says:

    Have been using Argan Oil on my face. Now I’ve got a tightened pores and clearer skin ..

    Aug 11, 2011 | 1:30 pm

     
  11. Susan Silverio says:

    where can i buy Argan oil? for my skin and Hair? here in the Philippines?

    Oct 3, 2011 | 9:08 am

     
  12. Richie M says:

    argan oil is now available here in manila but this one is aesthetic use and a bit more costly than if you’ll order from the US or UK. check here http://www.souqinternational.com/

    Oct 8, 2011 | 12:16 am

     
  13. John says:

    I sell Argan oils creams and associated products to be used in beauty preperations , culinary and skin care. Any one wishing to buy products including bulk purchases please get in touch with me on my email address.
    Argan oil is a wonderful beauty product.

    Nov 12, 2011 | 1:17 pm

     
  14. John says:

    Argan is a great product for culinary, beauty and skin care , please call me should you wish to purchase products.

    Nov 12, 2011 | 1:20 pm

     
  15. Danielle Mendes says:

    I recently saw Or.Cim, they are distributing of Argan Oils in the Philippines. They are not expensive at all. You can visit their facebook page for orders, i saw them at The Village Bazaar in BF Homes.

    Nov 20, 2011 | 11:58 pm

     
  16. loubna says:

    hi guys,
    i just want to say , before you purchase an argan oil cosmetic or culinary, make sure its the pure one please make sure to know your sources thank you

    Feb 8, 2012 | 8:28 pm

     
  17. j-neth says:

    were can i buy argan oil in manila pls help i want to purchase it.. tnx

    Mar 23, 2012 | 2:15 pm

     
 

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