September 7, 2023

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Why are they called Festival dumplings? I wish I knew. Perhaps someone can do a little digging and tell me the truth behind the name. All I know is that Festival is not something I grew up with. It wasn’t until I returned to Jamaica for a visit that I found it was all the rage! Festival is street food at it’s best and traditionally eaten on the beach alongside Escovitch Fish or the like. If you’ve never had it, it’s basically a fried cornbread fritter or dumpling. Unlike traditional Jamaican Fried Dumplings, Festival is sweet, crisp on the outside and dense. Most earlier recipes were very heavy with equal amounts of flour and cornmeal. But nowadays you’ll often find ones with just a hint of cornmeal. In my book that makes them too similar to regular dumplings. Instead, my recipe falls somewhere in the middle. It’s not too sweet and not too heavy … I’ll think you’ll find to be just right!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Cornmeal
3 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 Egg, beaten
1/2 tsp Vanilla
Approx 1/2 cup cold Water
1 cup Cooking Oil

If you prefer a lighter a Festival dumpling: use 3 Tbsp of cornmeal instead and adjust the amount of water needed to bind the dough

1. Mix dry ingredients together

2. Add beaten egg and vanilla and mix gently until combined

3. A  bit at a time, add water, kneading until dough holds together.

4. Knead dough until smooth and divide into 6 or more equal pieces; shape in long dumplings.

5. Heat cooking oil on High in deep frying pan and place the Festival Dumplings in the pan one at a time.

6. Reduce heat to Medium and turn Festival dumplings every few minutes until they are brown on all sides and are cooked through; they will expand as they cook.

Enjoy with Escovitch Fish, Ackee & Saltfish or whatever you like!

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I’ve been cooking Jamaican food for my family for more than 50 years! Now I'm teaching my daughter Angela and you how to cook my treasured family recipes! I'm happy to be of service and love hearing from you so don't forget to leave a comment below.


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