You know, Jamaica is such a laid back paradise!
So many things have nothing to do with their actual name and almost no one seems to notice or care. We just go with the flow! Take for example ‘festival’ which sounds like it has something to do with a big musical affair or some other art fayre, far from it! Jamaican festival is a carbohydrate food quite similar to Jamaican fried dumpling (which by the way is in no way similar to Chinese dumpling!
Festival and I
Now I grew up with festivals. We mostly ate it at the beach sold by those enthusiastic cooks who set up their shop by the beach! They rise early in the morning to await the fishermen coming in from sea with the night’s catch. They make their purchase and then they set up things in their shop to start the day’s cooking. When beachgoers start to arrive at the beach, the sellers become so pushy trying to secure customers. It’s jolly and lively but I must admit that to visitors to the country it might seem scary but they really mean no harm.
They serve the hot aromatic fish with festival or dumplings or rice or roasted yam, potatoes, etc. You are in heaven I tell you when you get to eat there. And you know sometimes you go to a well-loved restaurant and sometimes the food is tasty and sometimes not, well to be perfectly honest, I have never been disappointed with food eaten at the beach! It might be a little pricy but the taste is on point every time!
As well as having it at the beach, our mom used to make our festival at home that we would eat either with fish or chicken or sometimes on its own.
We have since come up with our own fail free recipe that we use over and over and even shared at school too when we used to teach.
How to make Jamaican Festivals
The main ingredients for making festival are:
- Self Raising Flour
in the ratio of 2:1:1/2
- You will also need salt
- some type of flavourings like cinnamon or mixed spice.
- The amount of salt and flavouring will depend on how much flour you use and the amount of water should be enough to make a slightly soft dough. It should be soft but not sticky. It is quite easy to do and the good thing is that you can always adjust things the way you like it.
Knead until all the mixture is combined and there is no dry mixture around the sides of the bowl.
Cover and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Then sprinkle some flour onto a plate. pinch off a piece of dough. Form a ball in the palm of the hands and then roll lengthwise. Flatten slightly and place onto the floured plate. The purpose of this is to prevent the festivals from sticking to the plate. Once you have made enough to fry, place a frying pan on the heat with enough oil to come up halfway to the side of the festival.
The heat should be low to medium heat and each festival should be fried on each side for about 3 minutes until they are golden brown. If it is fried too fast, it will be raw on the inside. If the heat is too low, then the festival dough will soak up the oil.
Here’s a little video of me making some festivals along with steamed fish and also bammy. If you’re like me and prefer to SEE it being made, then check this out.
This is what your festivals should look like.
We would love it if you click on the image below to share it on Pinterest.
And if you do get to make them, then we would love to see them. So tag us in your photos on Instagram @joleisacreed.
Jo and Leisa