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What Are Festivals And How To Make Them?

    Festival is a sweet, fried dough that is a popular side dish in Jamaican cuisine. It is often served alongside fried fish, especially with dishes like Escovitch Fish. Here’s a simple recipe for making Jamaican Festivals:


    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup cornmeal
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup water (adjust as needed for the right consistency)
    • Vegetable oil for frying


    1. Mix Dry Ingredients:
      • In a large mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
    2. Add Vanilla Extract:
      • Add the vanilla extract to the dry ingredients.
    3. Gradually Add Water:
      • Gradually add water to the dry ingredients, stirring continuously to form a soft dough. Adjust the amount of water as needed to achieve the right consistency.
    4. Knead the Dough:
      • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it lightly until it becomes smooth.
    5. Shape into Patties:
      • Divide the dough into small portions and shape each portion into a patty or dumpling shape. Traditionally, festivals are shaped like elongated ovals.
    6. Heat Vegetable Oil:
      • In a deep frying pan or pot, heat vegetable oil to around 350°F (175°C).
    7. Fry Festivals:
      • Carefully place the shaped festivals into the hot oil and fry until they are golden brown on all sides. This usually takes about 5-7 minutes, depending on the size of the festivals.
    8. Drain Excess Oil:
      • Remove the festivals from the oil using a slotted spoon and place them on paper towels to drain excess oil.
    9. Serve:
      • Festivals are best served warm. They can be enjoyed on their own or as a delicious accompaniment to Jamaican fish dishes, stews, or other meals.

    These sweet fried dumplings have a slightly crispy exterior and a soft, doughy interior. They add a delightful sweetness to your meal and are a favorite in Jamaican cuisine.


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