Place of originScotland
Main ingredientsOat-husk starch, water

Sowans or sowens (/ˈsuinz/|; /ˈsʌuɪnz/; /sɔɪnz/; /swinz/;[1] Scottish Gaelic: sùghan), also called virpa in Shetland,[2][3] is a Scottish dish made using the starch remaining on the inner husks of oats after milling. The husks are allowed to soak in water and ferment for a few days. The liquor is strained off and allowed to stand for a day to allow the starchy matter therein to settle. The liquid part, or swats, is poured off and can be drunk. The remaining sowans are boiled with water and salt until thickened, then served with butter or dipped into milk. The flavour is distinctly sour.[4][5][1]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Dictionaries of the Scots Language:: SND :: sowans".
  2. ^ "Dictionaries of the Scots Language:: SND :: virpa".
  3. ^ D A Bender (9 June 2006). Benders' Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology. Elsevier Science. p. 439. ISBN 978-1-84569-165-3.
  4. ^ McNeill, F. Marian (1929). The Scots Kitchen. Paperback: 259 pages, Edinburgh: Mercat Press; New Edition (25 Oct 2004) ISBN 1-84183-070-4, p202
  5. ^ Mairi Robinson, ed. (1987). The Concise Scots Dictionary. Aberdeen University Press. p. 648. ISBN 0-08-028492-2.