Inaugural Week, Day 4 – Ginger and Scotch Haggis

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Ginger and Scotch Haggis
Ginger and Scotch Haggis

In honor of Scotch (my husband, not the whisky) and his love for haggis, today’s inaugural week recipe is Ginger and Scotch Haggis with Whisky Mushroom Sauce, served with Neeps and Peeps. Don’t get too excited over the haggis now.

Oh, by the way, Neeps = Turnips (I’m using swedes, also known as rutabagas in US) and Peeps = Potatoes.

Haggis is a popular Scottish dish made of sheep offal (heart, kidney, lungs, etc) and mixed with suet, oats, spices, and then stuffed in sausage casing (traditionally, it was stuffed in a cleaned sheep stomach) and then boiled for a few hours until cooked. The taste of haggis is similar to camel (at least it tasted like the camel I had last night) or old beef with strong notes of black pepper and barley.

For some interesting facts on haggis, you can visit WiseGeek which also has this to say:

Although people think of haggis as being a quintessentially Scottish dish, haggis is actually much older than the nation of Scotland. The Greeks and Romans both ate a version of haggis, and it is highly probable that the Romans brought the dish with them as they colonized Britain. Historically, many people have regarded haggis as a poor man’s dish, since it uses the unwanted cuts of the animal, although modern haggis is considered more of a delicacy.

Finding Haggis in Dubai isn’t too hard. There is one store (Park and Shop on Al Wasl Road) that always has it on hand (frozen) in the pork section. But somehow I ended up making things difficult for myself by missing the turn-off for above-mentioned store and so decided to drive to two other stores (Spinneys) on my way back to Park and Shop.

The conversation by the meat counter at both stores went something like this:

Me:  By any chance do you have haggis?

Store: Oh yes, madam – by the diapers.


Store: Hug-gies, right?

Me: Er, no. Haggis. H-A-G-G-I-S. Haggis.

Store: H-U-G-G-I-E-S? Hug-gies? (Points at Wee Scotch)

Me: No. H-A-G-G-I-S. Haggis.

Store: Is it meat madam because we only sell meat here?

Me: Yes, it’s lamb. Maybe sheep. Sold in round balls?

Store: (blank stare)

Me: Okay, thank you for your time.

Even though I waited until I thought the meat counters was cleared and empty of people and then lowered my voice in a conspiratorial whisper in case anyone overheard me, I still had random people staring at me probably wondering what a Chinese girl was doing trying to buy haggis. I felt like I was buying contraband. I bet they thought I was insane because who in their right minds would choose to eat haggis? (If you are Scottish and reading this, you know I am kidding right?)

So eventually I bought my haggis at Park and Shop and what a relief it was to hear the shop assistant tell me that not only did they have it on stock but they had it in various serving sizes! I bought the haggis that serves 2-3 at a hefty price of 59 dhs ($16) – much more than what you would pay in the UK (so I’m told).

Haggis from Park and Shop
Haggis from Park and Shop

I first had haggis when I was a new college grad and was backpacking my way through Europe. In Edinburgh’s pubs, I must have had it 2 or 3 times and loved it every time. Many people turn their nose to the stuff but hey, I’m Chinese, so I grew up eating many foods that I thought were normal but found out later in life that other people considered these foods “weird.” What other people think hasn’t stopped me eating pig ears, beef tongue, tripe, and some other things that I can’t tell you about.

Haggis with Neeps and Peeps
Haggis with Neeps and Peeps

I made haggis for Scotch with the traditional accompaniments of mashed swedes (aka “Neeps“) and mashed potatoes (I call them my “Peeps“) as well as a whisky mushroom sauce. To the haggis, I added some ginger to kick it up a notch and give it a bit more spiciness.

Wee Scotch ate all of his haggis and made his dad very proud!


Wee Scotch and His Haggis

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Ginger and Scotch Haggis

Inaugural Week, Day 4 - Ginger and Scotch Haggis

Ginger and Scotch
Haggis made with the traditional accompaniments of mashed swedes (aka “Neeps“) and mashed potatoes (I call them my “Peeps“) as well as a whisky mushroom sauce.
Course Main
Cuisine European
Servings 2 to 3 servings


  • haggis , 2-3 serving size
  • thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger , minced or grated


  • 2 large swedes/rutabagas , peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger , minced or grated
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • salt and pepper , to taste


  • 2 large potatoes , peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • salt and pepper , to taste

Whisky Mushroom Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 250 grams (8 oz) button mushrooms
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey



  • Prepare the haggis according to the packaged instructions. (For mine, I defrosted it overnight in the fridge, then wrapped it in tin foil, placed it on a baking pan with 2 cm of water, and baked it at 180 C (350 F) for 1 hour. When done, I discarded the casing and placed the haggis in a pan over medium-low heat, mixed in the ginger and stirred occasionally for 5 minutes.)


  • Place the swedes in a pan and cover with cold salted water.
  • Bring the water to a boil and then simmer for 20-30 minutes until the swedes are very tender (test with a fork).
  • Drain in a colander and return them to the pan over low heat for a few minutes to dry out any remaining liquid.
  • Add butter, milk, and ginger to the swedes and mash with a potato masher or fork until desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.


  • Prepare the potatoes in the same way as the swedes but mash with the garlic instead of the ginger.

Whisky Mushroom Sauce:

  • Heat oil in large saucepan (so as not to crowd the mushrooms) over medium heat and cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until golden. There should be no liquid left in the pan.
  • Add the heavy cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the whisky and mix.
  • Serve as-is over the haggis (or you can do what I did and pour it into a deep container and hand-blending to a smooth puree. I had to add some water to the puree because the sauce became too thick).

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    1. I can’t find them year round but if I happen to see them at the store, I will buy them right away because I love the taste of mashed rutabagas. Usually in Spinneys or Waitrose.