Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Mar 5, 2012 02:58 PM

Authentic Alioli Recipe?

A few years ago I visited a friend who lives in Valencia, Spain. She amazed me by making something she called alioli (not aioli) out of only garlic, salt and olive oil. No eggs. It emulsified perfectly, though it took time and effort.

I've tried to replicate it unsuccessfully, but today for the first time I got it to work! It took a lot of patience with a mortar and a pestle, but it worked!

But it doesn't taste that great. Does anyone know how much garlic and what kind of olive oil works best? From the taste of mine I used too much garlic and too strong (fruity) of an olive oil.


oh, and by the way, does anyone know why you're supposed to always mix in one direction when you emulsify? I've never understood that....

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have never made this without lemon juice or egg yolks, Don't know how it would emulsify with just oil, garlic and salt? Also, for me, direction of beating the eggs (or, in your case, mixing) matters way less than the trickle of oil...slow, slow addition of oil. Sorry I couldn't be of more help

    2 Replies
    1. re: pinehurst

      apparently the garlic can cause emulsification.
      Here's the link that inspired me to give it another (successful) go:
      I think I must've been using garlic that was too green when it didn't work before.

    2. It is awesome stuff. The garlic does support the emulsification and I actually now use that "trick" when making a traditional french aioli (which I just did last night) - grinding the garlic with the mortal and pestle before continuing on.

      (ratio from Jose Andres - Tapas)

      4 garlic cloves
      pinch of salt
      1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
      1 1/2 cups olive oil (spanish if you want to be very traditional)

      mash the garlic with salt with mortar and pestle until it is a very smooth paste
      add lemon juice and combine
      add oil VERY slowly while continuously moving pestle in circular motion - don't add more oil until what you have added has been incorporated (this can take 20 minutes or so, go slow)

      It makes a pretty thick mayonnaise like allioli and can be thinned with a tsp or less of water if you want.

      If you love garlic this is awesome, this is strong stuff.

      2 Replies
      1. re: thimes

        Thanks, thimes!
        When you say olive oil, do you mean virgin or regular? Is there a brand you like?

        1. re: overthinkit

          I use an extra virgin olive oil. You could use any but I prefer one that I consider "smooth" tasting (as opposed to peppery) as it helps to tame the garlic bite a little and adds another flavor note.

      2. use a mild spanish or a virgin oil. Personally I would use mostly 'girasol' or sunflower oil and finish wih just a bit of good Spanish EV.

        This is also one of the few cases where I would take any germ out of the garlic clove.

        1. The odd part about the alioli you tried in Valencia is that it is called all i oli which sounds much more like aioli than alioli does (ll in Catalan/Valencian and Spanish is similar to the English 'y' sound).

          Alioli/Allioli was one of the few kitchen tasks undertaken by the male head of the household in the South East of Spain. Typically the father would take out the pestle and mortar, a bottle of oil with a thin neck or spout, and go sit outside the front door in the breeze away from the mayhem indoors. My memories are of men with caps and cigarettes dangling from the corners of their mouths bent over the mortar with a zen like look of concentration.
          One always stirred in the same direction (helps prevent the sauce from splitting) and the oil was added very very gradually. The women in the kitchen inside pestered by kids big and small and the demands of the range and kitchen equipment didn't have the luxury of time and patience.
          The true test of the alioli (and a party trick for grandads) is to remove the cap from your head and hold the upturned mortar bowl over it. Properly made alioli is stiff enough to stay in the bowl and neither slide nor drip.
          I've never seen all i oli made with measurements. Generally you take 2 or 4 cloves of garlic - the fresher the better - 2 cloves for around a quarter litre of olive oil or 4 cloves for a half litre. Or more cloves if you want something fiery, for instance as an accompaniment to potatoes.
          You mash the cloves with a bit of salt and just keep stirring/grinding in the same direction adding a light steady stream of oil, but a bit at a time. It really is all about patience.
          There are lots of alternatives - like adding stale bread at the beginning with the garlic, or egg yolks, or (perhaps the best of these) quince jelly, these are usually ways to help with the emulsification. They aren't necessary but they do make this easier.
          I personally like it with strong flavoured olive oil - but then I've grown up with the stuff. Choose a light olive oil if you prefer. You might also like to try a little touch of vinegar which sort of freshens the taste, I can't offer guidance on this because I never add it.
          The link you included is a good one and shows the little bottle with the thin neck which is in all the Spanish kitchens I know. It also demonstrates the circular motion I described.

          2 Replies
            1. re: overthinkit

              10 years ago I was living in France, and had a neighbour who had been refugee from the Spanish civil war. I don't know where in Spain he came from, but I once saw that old man make this allioli and now 10 years later here I am searching the Internet for confirmation it is possible to do this with just garlic and oil.

              Thank you, Overthink, for the confirmation, and MoGa, for the background.