Well I don’t think its an oil. In my experience actualy buying it in Morocco its a grain - used mostly in the south (Agadir). It is small and a sort of grey colour. The women always tell you its good (in soup) for the strengthening of bones (e.g. after menopause). And they make it into soup. In Agadir one can buy it already ground - but of course the best way of gringing it is on a stone hand grinder as that way the “chaf” gets separated.
My trouble is to translate it into something we know about.
My two candidates are millet and sarrassin (= buckwheat=black wheat=ble noir). What are the arguments?
Welll in Agadir, when I buy it, the grocer has called it by its French name: millet. But when I compare it with what goes for UK millet I find myself comparing a small white grain wth the grey knobbly thing in Morocco. Its very cheap as a grain (10DH kilo) and millet is regarded as a relatively cheap grain too.
On the other hand in the excellent little booklet by Tefrati Habiba - Les arbres de chez-nous et les plantes sauvages ISBN 9981-906-65-0 on page 18 it distinctly says sarrasin is (between quotes) Alif-lam-alif-nun which reads ilane to those who read arabic. But again comparing the Moroccan grain with the buckwheat I buy in the UK there is not much resemblance. But it does grind to a smokey flour which resembles (in appearance and taste) the sarrassin of renoun in Nantes and that part of France where the pancakes are a speciality.
It is not in Harrels Dictionary (isbn 1-58091-103-1) and of course Arabic dictionaries don’t help as I suspect its a Berber word???
I too would be glad of illumination