Selou – سلو

Selou is a tasty powdery mix of almonds, sesame seeds, sugar and spices. Moroccans eat the stuff by the spoonful with a glass of sweet mint tea during Ramadan, or when they’ve just given birth. It also keeps well, so as a side project last week I decided to make a batch, with Zahra’s close supervision, of course.

A little side fact: Selou is called Sfouf in the Rabat/Casablanca region, and Zoumaita in the Middle Atlas. Perhaps it has other names and other ingredients elsewhere in the country, but this is how we made it.

The process is labor intensive. First, I bought a kilo of raw almonds in their skins. I blanched them to easily slip the skins off, then toasted them in oil.

pre-toasted almonds

The sesame seeds in the shops are sold in big dirty bulk bags, so they were washed and then laid out to dry in the sun.

kilo of drying sesame seeds

Then Zahra and I sifted through the entire kilo to make sure there weren’t any stray rocks, sticks, or other debris. The seeds were toasted without oil on the stove too.

In the blender, I ground the almonds to a rough powder as Zahra pounded the sesame seeds in her heavy brass mortar and pestle. We then sorted through perhaps 1/4 cup of anise, roasted it, and ground it up too.

toasting the anise, ground sesame and almonds in background

Some people make selou with honey, and I thought it would be better that way, but Zahra insisted on powdered sugar, enough until the mixture was pretty sweet.

Then added to the mix is a two kilos of white flour. I took it to the communal oven, where they toasted it to a honey-brown color. We also added a few tablespoons of cinnamon and musca hurra, or gum arabic, which looks like transparent little stones that we ground to a powder.

I mixed all the dry ingredients together as Zahra melted 1/4 kilo of butter in a liter of oil. She slowly mixed it into the dry ingredients, kneaded it a bit, and then spooned the finished selou into containers.

Our frequent taste testers Fatima Zahra and Selma

I helped but wonderful Zahra really did all the work. This selou was truly made with her love and with me, my family and friends at home in mind. I hope everyone is hungry for a taste!

About Laura McAdams

Laura McAdams is a Master’s student at University of Pennsylvania studying International Educational Development. Her experience in the MENA region includes 15 months as a Fulbright student researcher to Fez and Ifrane, Morocco in 2010 and 2011. Her project was interested in understanding the disconnect between the policies of technology usage in education and the reality of how these policies unfold in the classroom. Summer 2012 she returned to the Middle Atlas mountains of Morocco to work with a women’s weaving cooperative. She is excited to learn more about other countries in the MENA region and issues involving education policy and reform, technology usage in curriculums and gender equality in education. One of Laura’s lifelong goals is to one day be able to sit down and leisurely read a newspaper in Arabic.
This entry was posted in Fulbright Student Research in Morocco, 2010-2011, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Selou – سلو

  1. Amy says:

    Looks good! See you in December. We had snow today here in Garmisch. Very pretty.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s