A comal is a pan used for cooking, generally made of heavy cast iron. When cooking, you don’t move it like a wok or conventional pan. It’s spherical or oblong. You may purchase rectangular ones that fit over two burners. Unlike nonstick or stainless steel pans, comals have a rough surface.
Mexicans primarily make use of Comal Pans. So much more can be done with its flat-like design. Because of its low sides, making eggs, crepes, or pancakes is a cinch. The griddle pan is the most underappreciated kitchenware item in the US. In fact, it’s likely that you can use the two words interchangeably. Traditional Comal Pans, on the other hand, are made of clay, whereas modern ones are made of stainless steel. That, however, raises a new problem. To get the best Tortilla Pan or Comal Pan, it must be sturdy and multifunctional. When it comes to regular use, clay models aren’t up to the task.
What is a Comal Pan?
This type of pan is known as a “comal” or “tortilla pan.” Chow Mein Pans are traditionally made of clay. Ceramic, on the other hand, was used in the earliest versions, which date back to 700 BCE. A big fire pit lies atop the structure. At the same moment, many tortillas will be prepared.
For the modern house kitchen, the variances are much smaller. For the most part, cast iron or carbon steel would be used to make them. However, clay varieties are still available.
Toasted coffee, spices, seared meat, and more may all be prepared with this versatile tool.
When to Use a Comal?
Grilling carne asada (red meat) and veggies on a comal is an excellent idea. Cooking using a comal imparts flavor to the food, however using a nonstick pan will leave it bland. Tortillas can also be cooked on this pan. You may also rapidly reheat tortillas in one of these devices. You can cook with a comal on the stovetop, in the oven, or even on the grill. You’ll need potholders or a kitchen rag if you need to move the food while it’s cooking, so be careful!
Best Comal Pan (Overall): Lodge 10.5-Inch Cast Iron Comal
For most home chefs, the Lodge 10.5-inch cast iron griddle is the best comal pan. Plus, it’s made of heavy-duty materials, so it will survive for years to come. Added benefit: it’s the most affordable choice available.
Solid cast iron is used to make this pan. As a result, it’s hefty and long-lived. Even heat distribution can be achieved by using a pan with a high density and weight. Having an oven mitt or towel nearby will ensure that the handle doesn’t get too hot while you’re cooking.
To mention a few, the 10.5-inch pan is ideal for making tortillas, arepas, and quesadillas. Flipping objects in the pan is made easier thanks to the pan’s small sidewalls, but it’s still tall enough to avoid a mess on the burner.
This pan is a steal for less than $20, making it an excellent value. Especially in light of the fact that it is both long-lasting and adaptable.
- Good heat retention and distribution
- Single-tortilla cooking
- Cast iron needs care.
Best Large Option: Victoria 15-Inch Cast Iron Comal
The 15-inch comal from Victoria is ideal for serious tortilla manufacturing because it is quick and easy to use.
A cast-iron pan like the Victoria comal pan ensures uniform heat distribution across its broad cooking surface. Because this pan is so large, it also weighs almost eleven and a half pounds, making it difficult to move.
Larger flatbreads, such as dosas and rotis, can also be made on a large comal, such as three or four tortillas at once. In the oven or on the grill, it makes an excellent pizza stone.
During use, the flat, loop handle can be difficult to move around due to its size and shape. There are no elevated sides, so you’ll have to keep that in mind. As a result, you’ll want to use as little oil as possible and avoid using any liquids.
This 15-inch comal is ideal if you’re going to be making a lot of tortillas or other flatbreads. As a bonus, the stone also works as a pizza pan.
- Large diameter allows for lots of food.
- Even heating
- Durable as Pizza stone.
- No sidewalls reduce versatility.
- Raw cast iron needs care
Best Upgrade: Le Creuset 10.75-Inch Enameled Cast Iron Comal
The Le Creuset enameled cast iron 10.75-inch pan is essentially an improved version of my favorite all-around option. Functional, elegant, and low-maintenance, but it’ll set you back a pretty penny.
This pan is made of cast iron, like the others on my list. Because the cast iron is completely encased in a robust glass enamel coating, the significant difference is the difference.
That means you receive the same heat distribution and durability as Lodge and Victoria pans, but you don’t have to season it or worry about rust. Makes cleaning a breeze and you can even wash the dish in the dishwasher if you need to get it done fast!
The griddle’s shape and design are remarkably similar to this one. It has a single handle, a flat cooking surface, and a raised rim at the edge.
The Le Creuset appears to be a win-win at this point, as it is a high-quality cooking vessel. However, it is ten times more expensive than the Lodge griddle. If it fits into your budget, this is a great choice. However, the cooking performance will not be noticeably different or improved.
- No maintenance needed
- Excellent heat retention and distribution
Ancient Cookware Mexican Clay Comal
Consider Ancient Cookware’s Comal Cookware for authentic tortilla cooking. To manufacture their product, they rely on unprocessed, natural clay. Direct heat, electric, or an open flame are all viable options for this pot. In order to make it taste good, add some dry lime powder to the mix. In fact, the Lime Powder enhances the tortilla’s flavor and texture. It aids in the cohesiveness of the flour.
You shouldn’t utilize a fresh comal until you’ve given it some time to “season.” To begin “seasoning,” just wash and dry the pan with warm, soapy water. After that, use a thin layer of vegetable oil or shortening to prevent rust spots from forming on the comal. Bake the comal for one hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wipe away any remaining residue after removing, cooling, and reinstalling. Reapply the oil, heat for a further hour, turn off the oven, and allow it cool in the oven overnight before serving. Once the comal has been cleaned, it is ready for use.
Cleaning and Care of a Comal pan
ever dishwasher a comal. Wipe it down with a towel or sponge after cooking. Remove leftovers with a spatula. Wash the comal in warm soapy water if needed, but dry it immediately to avoid rust.
Oil the surface occasionally to maintain it seasoned. Use a comal regularly to spice your dish. Warm the comal gently. Do not expose a heated comal to cold water until it has cooled naturally. Cracks should be discarded. If it rusts, scrub it with steel wool, rinse, and repeat seasoning.
Buying A Comal Pan? Follow These Tips!
Your Favorite Size for Your Favorite Food
A comal is an excellent tool for making tortillas, but it’s not a one-trick pony. It’s possible to prepare a broad variety of foods in the pan of your choice, depending on the size. The majority of the most popular species of coral are between 10 and 11 inches long.
Easy to move around the stove and don’t take up a lot of cupboard space. To make tortillas, you can certainly use this size, but you’ll only be able to make one at a time. If you’re manufacturing a lot, the process can take a long time. A short raised rim is common on 10-inch comals.
In addition to making it easier to flip things in the pan, this also allows for a wide range of additional cooking options that require a small amount of liquid or oil. If you find that 10 inches is too little, consider going up to the 12 to 15-inch size range.
If you’re going to be making a lot of tortillas or huge flatbreads like roti or dosa, you’ll want to go with the larger sizes. In addition, I like a larger comal because it can be used in any oven as a pizza stone.
The rim of several of the larger comal pans is not elevated. So they’re fantastic for dry cooking, but they’re not so great for things that call for liquid or a lot of fat.
Thermal Conductivity: Even-Heat Is Essential
The most common purpose of a comal is to prepare or reheat tortillas, which is a popular dish in Mexico. An evenly heated frying surface will guarantee that the tortillas are cooked uniformly.
As a result, I believe cast iron to be the greatest material to use. If you’re looking for an appliance that’s both efficient and long-lasting, this is the one. Non-stick comals are available, although their surfaces aren’t extremely long-lasting.
Furthermore, they should not be cooked if they contain no liquid or oil. Because of this, it cannot be used to produce tortillas, which necessitates a hot, dry pan.
The Winner Is A Round Shape.
The shape of your comal is a matter of personal preference. Ornately shaped, or squarely shaped. For most household kitchens, a circular comal will be the most convenient.
Cooking surfaces are uniformly heated because to their small size and ability to fit on most cooktop burners. Coals that are oval in shape must be utilized on two burners since they tend to be larger than round comals.
When cooking large quantities, this can be a wonderful alternative, but it can be difficult to get the temperature just right. In many ways, rectangular comals resemble the enormous griddles that most of us are used to seeing in the grocery stores.
When cooking for large crowds, this is a great alternative, but it’s a bit much for most everyday purposes.
Be Consistent With Your Comal Pan Maintenance
Since cast iron is used to make the best comal pans, you’ll need to take extra precautions to preserve them from rusting. That includes pre-seasoning your pan, and then taking further steps when washing it, to ensure that it lasts a long time.
For seasoning cast iron or carbon steel pans, this is the method of choice for me. When it comes to cleaning, a stiff brush and hot water should suffice.
Finally, keep your pan dry between uses in order to prevent rusting. Le Creuset’s enamel-coated pans are another option for those who don’t want to deal with the upkeep.
How Much Should You Budget?
You should never pay more than $30 for a 10-inch cast iron comal, unless, of course, you want an enameled cast iron model. After that, you’re looking at far over $100. Spending between $20 and $60 on larger 12 to 15-inch cast-iron models is not out of the question.
If your cast iron comal wasn’t pre-seasoned, it’s easy to do yourself. How-to:
- Commal-wash. Warm, soapy water and thorough drying.
- Oil a comal. Rub a tablespoon of vegetable oil over the comal and bake it for an hour at 350°F.
- Wipe oil. Return the comal to the oven for another hour after wiping off any residue.
- Refrigerate the comal. Let the comal cool before using.
How to Use a Comal Pan
Over medium heat, use a comal like a cast-iron skillet or griddle.
- Historically, comals were placed over open fires; you may do the same over grill grates. Common comal uses:
- Press masa dough on the comal to reheat or cook tortillas. Flip tortillas when the edges dry and turn opaque (about 30 seconds). Flip the tortilla when it blisters and rises (about 45 seconds). After 10–15 seconds, the tortilla should inflate up, indicating that all the water has evaporated from the masa.
- For toasting salsa chiles: Char dry chiles on a comal. Cook the peppers until the skin softens and blisters, about 2–3 minutes, then rehydrate in warm water.
- Bring meat to room temperature and season both sides with kosher salt and black pepper. When the comal is hot, sprinkle cooking oil over the top and arrange the meat in the pan’s center. 3–4 minutes per side. Rest before slicing.
What is a comal pan used for?
Traditional uses for the comal include frying tortillas, charring vegetables and meats, toasting nuts and spices, and preparing stews and soups. Mexican, Central American, and South American kitchens all have this cookware in their arsenals. Other cooking cultures’ crepe pans and griddles are strikingly similar in design to the comal.
How do you prepare a comal pan before using it?
To prevent rust and food from sticking, cast iron comals must be seasoned. The approach I prefer for seasoning carbon steel also works well for seasoning cast iron. While the pan is on medium heat, a very light layer of oil is brushed across the surface. As each layer of oil is effectively burned onto the pan, a protective barrier is created.
What can be done using a comal pan?
A comal will allow you to make tortillas at home, so don’t be afraid. Irrespective of whether you favor maize or wheat, the freshly prepared tortillas you buy packaged at most big supermarkets are a world apart.