The Jamaican Melting Pot – Out Of Many, One Cuisine

Middle Eastern heritage

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In the last decade of the nineteenth century, immigrants from the Middle East began arriving in Jamaica. The majority came from Lebanon, the others were from Damascus in Syria and from Bethlehem in Palestine. It is important to note that at the time of the first immigration to Jamaica, the Middle East area was known as Syria and Mount Lebanon was a part of Syria. Later when the countries were divided, the people from Mount Lebanon became known as Lebanese.

Falafel Burgers

  • 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • garlic clove, chopped
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley or curly parsley
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1⁄2 tsp harissa paste or chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • toasted pitta bread
  • 200g tub tomato salsa, to serve
  • green salad, to serve
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped


  1. Pat the chickpeas dry with kitchen paper. Tip into a food processor along with the onion, garlic, parsley, spices, flour and a little salt. Blend until fairly smooth, then shape into four patties with your hands.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the burgers, then quickly fry for 3 mins on each side until lightly golden. Serve with toasted pittas, tomato salsa and a green salad.

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