Jamaican festival was one of my favorite things to eat when in Jamaica. I decided to make a gluten and dairy free version and it’s just as good as the regular version. Using some simple swaps, I’ve made this recipe gluten and dairy free. It has a nice crispy outside with a fluffy interior. Perfect side to accompany summer dishes.
What is Jamaican festival?
Jamaican festival is a type of fried dumpling made with equal parts flour and cornmeal. Some people call it a hush puppy; however, it is a bit sweeter than a traditional hush puppy. I made this dairy free by using water instead of milk and gluten free by using Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 Baking Flour instead of flour. I used the baking flour because it already has xanthan gum in it which helps to stabilize glute free flour-based food. The process of making it is the same as making fried dumplings. just add all the ingredients to a bowl, mix, form the dumplings in whatever shape and size you want and fry in oil.
Things to know about making Jamaican festival:
- For best results, use fine cornmeal instead of coarse cornmeal.
- I used cane sugar in this recipe, but you can use brown sugar if you like.
- If you want to use a dairy free milk instead of water, use coconut or oat milk. Keep in mind they may alter the taste a bit.
- If you can’t get the GF baking flour, you can use GF all-purpose flour. Just be sure to add 1/4 tsp xanthan gum to help stabilize the dough.
- If you added too much liquid to the dough and it’s become sticky, add in an extra TBSP of both flour and cornmeal and mix.
- To make it grain free, use almond meal or flax meal instead of cornmeal and substitute all-purpose flour for a blend that’s grain free or use cassava flour. It will need less water to form the dough.
What is this best served with?
In Jamaica, festival is served with jerk chicken, Jerk Pork or fried fish. They are best served straight out of the skillet. If you have leftovers the next day, you can break them up into pieces and use them as croutons in a salad like this Jerk Caesar Salad.
- 1 Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- 1 Large skillet
- 1 cup Fine or medium cornmeal
- 1 cup GF all-purpose or 1-1 baking flour
- 1 TBSP Cane sugar brown or coconut sugar works as well
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Baking powder
- 3/4-1 cup Water
- 1/4-1/2 cup Coconut oil
- In a mixing bowl add cornmeal, flour, baking powder salt and sugar then mix.
- Add water in small amounts (1 TBSP at a time) until you form a dough. Do not overmix. The dough should not be very sticky. If it is add 1 TBSP of cornmeal and flour and knead.
- Pinch off a small piece and roll into a cigar shape.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Once heated add coconut oil.
- When oil is heated add in the festival and fry 3 minutes on the first side.
- Turn every 2 minutes until golden brown on each side. This should take about 10 minutes.
- Remove to a paper towel lined plate to let drain.
- Serve and enjoy!