What I really wanted … was a sorj.
Pete said no.
A sorj is a metal pan used for cooking Lebanese flatbreads. It’s shaped like a gigantic inverted wok. We found one at Harkola in Auburn for a very reasonable price, but I suspect Ray’s description of how it was to be used put my husband off. It was either that or the sheer size of the thing, which was nearly a metre (3′) in diameter (Wiki has a photo here).
According to Ray, the process begins with an oil drum full of burning wood. The sorj is seasoned by burning it over the fire, dome-side up, until it’s completely blackened – only then is it ready for cooking bread. I was really quite keen, but…
Pete said no.
So when I picked up this chapatti pan at Chefs’ Warehouse, my husband didn’t complain at all. It cost just $22 and is made of heavy cast iron.
Perhaps that’s the secret to successful negotiation: ask for a sorj, settle for a chapatti pan.
Pete even suggested that we call our new pan “The Sorj” and he offered to help me season it. We washed it in soapy water, then heated it over the middle gas burner until it was a red hot 370C (according to our infrared thermometer). As it heated and turned black, we used a wadded up paper towel to wipe over the surface several times with oil. At the end of the process, it looked like this…
Now, has anyone ever used one of these things? I’m hoping that it will work for all sorts of flatbreads, as well as the traditional Indian style ones. I’d love any suggestions you might have!
Edit: I’m up early this Sunday morning – here’s our first attempt: