These fried dumplings are a popular street food and side dish in Jamaica. There are regional variations of course and are eaten at any time of the day. Popular dishes to pair with the festivals are jerk chicken and escovitch fish.
Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a large saucepot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Line a plate with paper towels.
Whisk to sift the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in the beaten egg, then slowly add the water a little at a time while mixing by hand until a dough forms and is no longer crumbly. Pull golf ball-size piece of the dough, roll into an oval shape and set on the prepared baking sheet to prevent sticking.
Gently the drop dough into the oil in batches and fry until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per batch. Using tongs, remove the finished festival and place on the prepared plate to drain. Serve warm.