Whole Wheat Festival
Festival is a Jamaican sweet fried dumpling that is usually served with fish or jerk chicken. It’s pretty similar to bake, another kind of West Indian fried dumpling but bake is savory and typically circular in shape. When I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn, escovitch fish with festival was one of my favorite afterschool snacks. There was a restaurant in the neighborhood that sold escovitch fish for $1.50 and festival for $.50 which was within my allowance budget. If I was feeling a bit rich, I would plunk down a dollar at the Chinese restaurant for an order of fries and have quite a feast while doing my homework.
A few weeks ago I made escovitch fish for the first time and it came out really good. While I enjoyed having it for dinner, it gave me a strong craving for festival so I decided to make some.
1½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup cornmeal
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
1½ cup water
Oil for frying
Use a spoon to combine the dry ingredients and vanilla in a bowl.
Slowly pour in the water and continue stirring until the mixture forms into a soft dough. Take care to not pour too quickly or add too much water or the dough may become soupy and you’ll have to add more flour which might throw off the flavor and texture of the festival.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 20-30 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap. Use a spoon to split up the dough and lightly dust with flour to prevent the festivals from sticking together. Shape the dough into logs about an inch in diameter and a few inches long.
Heat the oil and fry the festival until they are golden brown. Avoid having the festival touch in the pan; work in batches if necessary. Drain the festival on paper towels and serve warm.
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