A comal is a smooth, flat griddle
typically used in Mexico, Central America, and parts of South America to cook tortilla
s and arepa
s, toast spices and nuts, sear meat, and generally prepare food. Similar cookware is called a budare in South America. Some comals are concave and made of ''barro'' (clay). These are still made and used by the indigenous peoples of Mexico
and Central America. Comals are similar to the American griddle
or the Indian tava
, and are often used and named interchangeably with these.
Comals for home use are generally made from heavy cast iron
, and sized to fit over either one burner on the stovetop (round) or two burners front to back (elongated oval).
In many indigenous and pre-Hispanic cultures, the comal is handed down from grandmother to mother to daughter, the idea being that a comal tempered over many years of usage will heat faster and cook cleaner.
The history of such cooking methods dates back to the pre-Columbian
era, when powdered-hominy
tortillas were cooked on a comal over an open fire. Comales were also used to toast cacao bean
s. The word "comal" comes from the Aztec Nahuatl
Originally they were thin ceramic pieces, with slightly raised edges. They are found at archaeological
sites throughout Central America, with the earliest examples dating to 700 BCE.
Category:Latin American cuisine
Category:Mexican food preparation utensils