What Is Skirlie?
Skirlie, also known as Mealie Pudding or White Pudding is a traditional Scottish dish. When cooked it makes a fantastic accompaniment for meat, pork or fowl, or can be used uncooked as a stuffing for roasts. It’s also served as a vegetarian alternative to haggis, or to meat eaters that don’t relish eating sheep’s heart, liver and lungs. Skirlie can also be rolled into balls and cooked like dough balls in soups and stews.
Skirlie has many meanings in the Scottish language. The Scottish Dictionary of 1841 defines “Skirl In The Pan” as: the noise made by a frying pan when the butter is put in which prepares it for receiving the meat. The difference, then, between Skirlie and Mealie Pudding is that Skirlie is fried and Mealie Pudding is steamed, although both contain the same ingredients.
Scottish fish and chip shops will serve you a battered and deep fried Mealie Pudding in the shape of a large fat sausage accompanied with some chips (fries). Called a White Pudding Supper this form of Skirlie is extremely delicious to eat although not exactly health food. It’s rare to see White Pudding Suppers on sale outside of Scotland.
Another great way to enjoy Skirlie is to roll it into balls and cooked in stews and soups. Like dough balls the Skirlie will expand slightly as it absorbs the cooking juices and flavors.
- 2oz (50g) Butter
- 1 Medium onion, finely chopped
- 4½oz (125g) medium or coarse oatmeal
- Salt and Pepper
- Add butter and onion to a saucepan and gently cook until onions start to brown.
- Add the oatmeal and cook for 10 minutes stirring regularly so that the fat is completely and evenly absorbed and the oatmeal.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
More Traditional Scottish Recipes
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- Cock A Leekie Soup Recipe : A True Scottish Classic
- Edinburgh Rock Recipe - How To Make Edinburgh Rock
- Atholl Brose Recipe
- Cullen Skink Recipe: A Rich Traditional Scottish Soup
- Scottish Lorne Sausage Recipe: How To Make Lorne Sausage
- Traditional Scottish Tattie Scone Recipe - Potato Scone
bert on April 20, 2015:
I live in england i miss the rolls and the meallie puddings but i have mastered how to make all the things i have missed thanks to the internet now i can enjoy my faviorates anytime
bertie on April 20, 2014:
i am a jock and live in england I would love to get mealie pudding here but no joy it's a bit far to go to the butcher in Aberdeen to get some
stessily on February 15, 2012:
Peter Hoggan, Skirlie as dough balls in stews sounds appetizing. I hope that 2012 is the year that I have the pleasure of tasting a White Pudding Supper.
As usual, you provide interesting details on the culinary background of this tempting dish.
It's enjoyable and edifying to read your hubs.
Peter Hoggan (author) from Scotland on January 27, 2012:
Derdriu ~ Glad you liked the hub and if you ever get the chance to sample a white pudding supper from a Scottish fish and chip shop don't pass it up.
Derdriu on January 27, 2012:
Peter Hoggan, What an informative, intelligent, interesting article on skirlie and related dishes of Scotland! In particular, I like how you explain terms and situate the specific recipe within the wider context of meals and Scotland. It's helpful the way you identify the differences between mealie and skirlie as well as the variations on how to prepare them.
Thank you for sharing, voted up + all,
P.S. It may not be the healthiest, but how can one resist something called "white pudding supper"? What's not to like!
rjsadowski on January 22, 2012:
As usual, your hubs provide a look at Scottish food that we would otherwise never see. Thank you.