What is Tumbet?

Potatoes are a common ingredient in tumbet.

Tumbet is the term used to describe various roasted eggplant dishes, potato dishes, and ratatouille stews that are prevalent in Majorcan Spanish cuisine. While there are many variations of tumbet, the basic method of preparation for this roasted vegetarian dish is quite simple and consists of layering the vegetables before placing them in the oven. Tumbet can be eaten as an accompaniment to meat and fish, but is also often served as a vegetarian main course.

Chopped or pureed tomatoes are often added to tumbet dishes.

The main ingredients needed to make tumbet are potato, eggplant, bell pepper, tomato, olive oil, garlic, pepper, cayenne pepper, cheese, and salt. Vegetables are washed and cut into small pieces; potatoes are peeled, but not aubergines and peppers. A little oil is placed in a frying pan and heated. The chopped potatoes, eggplants and peppers are fried separately in the oil and then removed from the pan and set aside on paper towels to wipe off excess oil.

Crushed garlic cloves are used to make tumbet.

Tomatoes are first mashed and then cooked with crushed garlic cloves in olive oil until a thick tomato sauce is obtained. Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper are added to the sauce as it cooks to give it the desired flavor. A little cheese can also be added to the sauce.

In traditional Spanish cuisine, tumbet is boiled or roasted in a wide-mouthed terracotta pot called a grixonera; terracotta is said to add a particular flavor to the vegetable dish. The inside of the terracotta pot is greased with oil and the fried vegetables are layered on top of each other. Melted cheese and thick tomato sauce can be poured evenly between each layer as well as on top. The dish is then placed in the oven and baked at a high temperature for about half an hour. After baking, the tumbet dish is allowed to cool slightly before being ready to be served.

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The dish can give a very colorful presentation at the table, with the red of tomatoes, the purple of eggplants and the red or green of peppers. In addition to these traditionally used vegetables, a number of other vegetables can also be used to make tumbet. The dish is very popular in Majorca, enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, and is regularly featured on many of the menus in local restaurants and hotels.

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