While Comal Pans are mostly used in mexico. Its flat like shape can be used for so much more. Cooking eggs, crepe, or even pancakes are a breeze because of its low sides. In the USA, the griddle pan are the closet in terms of design. In fact, you can probably use them interchangeably. One aspect that differ though, is that traditional Comal Pan uses clay as the material. However, that comes with its own issue. The Best Comal Pan aka Tortilla Pan should be durable and multipurpose. Clay models are simply too fragile for everyday use.
Best Comal Pan aka Tortilla Pan List
Below you will find some of the best comal pan available. I have listed it based on material. Choose one that best suits your need.
Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Griddle With Easy-Grip Handle
While it is not a true traditional comal pan. It has the same shape and it is quite versatile. You should be able to cook tortilla, eggs, ham and more on this pan. It comes pre seasoned from the factory so it wont stick. Best of all, its made in the USA. You cannot go wrong with lodge cast iron griddle.
IMUSA USA 14″ Nonstick Carbon Steel Small Round Comal with Metal Handles, 13.5-Inch
If you want something that cooks tortilla fast, IMUSA is the best choice for a carbon steel pan. It is light and thin and heats up right away. However, you need to keep track of the hot spots. Overtime, the nonstick coating will only get better. These pans need to be season just like cast iron or it will rust. Just be prepared for that.
Ancient Cookware Mexican Clay Comal
For the Authentic Tortilla Cooking experience, consider the Comal Cookware by Ancient Cookware. They use a natural and untreated clay material to make their product. It can be used on direct heat, electric and open fire. Although, you need to season it with dry lime powder. The Lime Powder actually improves the flavor and texture of the tortilla. It helps binds the flour together.
What is a Comal Pan
A Comal Pan or Tortilla Pan is a circular pan that is used to cook tortilla. Traditional Comal Pan are made of Clay. However, the earliest version dating back to 700 BCE are made using ceramic. They tend to be quite large and sits above a pit of fire. Multiple tortilla will be cooked at the same time.
Modern day variations are quite smaller for the home kitchen. Usually, they would be made of cast iron or carbon steel. However, you can still find clay varieties.
While tortilla are its main use, it can be used to toast coffee, spice, sear meat and more.
How Metal Affect Cooking
Different metal used in Comal Pans affect cooking. For home use, cast irons are generally the best variety. They are heavy and develop a nonstick coating. They can withstand abuse and hold a lot of heat. Perfect for cooking carne asada.
Carbon Steel share many of the same properties as Cast Iron. However, manufacturer tend to make carbon steel comal pan very thin. The problem is that both Cast Iron and Carbon steel are generally poor conductor of heat. If you make it thin, it will develop a lot of heat spots.
The upside to this is that it heats up really quickly. In this situation, you have to monitor the tortilla to make sure it wont burn. You might save time if you only cook one or two tortilla. However, if you plan on cooking for a party, the thick cast iron variety is better.
Clay are more traditional. They are the worst heat conductor of all the metal. It will take a while for the clay comal pan to reach cooking temperature. The upside to this is that it will hold heat for a lot longer. You can serve food on the table with the clay one. It also has a alkaline nature so that it can balance out acidic food. If your tomato sauce or salsa is too acidic, a clay ware might be perfect for you.
Seasoning Clay Comal Pan
One thing to take into consideration is that you need to cure your clay comal pan before use. The Lime Powder in will help bind the corn flour in tortilla and improve its flavor. To cure your clay comal pan, combine two tablespoon of Dry Lime Powder (Calcium Hydroxide) and one cup of water. Mix well and apply it to a hot comal pan. You can use a paper towel or brush to put on a thin film. The heat will dry it out as you apply it. Be sure to apply it uniformly throughout. Overtime, the lime coating will wear off, in that case, you need to reapply it.
Best Comal Pan aka Tortilla Pan Thoughts
Comal and tortilla pans comes in many different variation. The materials used affects how it cooks. For a home cook, a cast iron pan will be the best choice. Its durable and develops a nonstick coating. The downside is that its slow to heat up. Carbon Steel Comal Pan are a good alternative. Since its half the weight, it heats up twice as fast. The only problem is heat spots are more common. But if you really want the authentic experience, try getting the clay comal cookware. The lime coating will improve the flavor of the tortilla. Just be aware that its much more fargile
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