Appetizers/ Fish & Seafood/ Russian Monday/ Zakusky

Russian Monday: “Shuba” – Beet Salad with Herring or “Herring under a fur coat”

Authorship of this wonderful salad is attributed to Anastas Bogomilov – merchant, the owner of a network of popular canteens and restaurants in Moscow at the beginning of 20th century. During late 1910’s Russia has been going through a lot of political and social turmoil eventually manifested in two revolutions of 1917. It has been very common for patrons of his restaurants adhering to opposing political views to get drunk and get into argument about the fate of the country. Arguments eventually were growing into a fight accompanied by broken plates, glasses and even furniture. Clever businessman and patriot, Anastas came up with the idea of good hearty snack which could represent a notion of national unification.

“Herring under a fur coat” has been served for the first time on New Year’s Eve of 1919. The main ingredient of this dish was herring – a favorite treat of the working poor, or “proletarians”. With the addition of onions, potatoes, and carrots, covered by a layer of grated beets symbolizing red banner of the revolutionaries the salad was a sure hit. In order not to forget the enemies of the Soviets, the salad has been generously seasoned with Western invention – mayo. New dish has been a blast with Bogomilov’s restaurants patrons and in a very short time the fights her become significantly less frequent while the number of patrons has increased and profits grew as a result.

Name of the new salad has been picked according to the revolutionary times: “Boycott and anathema to chauvinism and decadence”. Russian version of this phrase has been turned into an acronym “S.H.U.B.A” which happened to be a Russian word for “fur coat”. Later on, the name of the beloved snack author has been forgotten and salad got a nickname of “herring under fur coat”.

The classic recipe for “herring under fur coat” always includes fish fillet, cooked vegetables and mayo dressing making salad delicious but at the same time high in calories. These days every chef and every housewife have their own variation of this recipe which may include apples, boiled eggs, herbs, cheese etc. I also have a number of my own options for this recipe which include various additional ingredients, the sequence of layering and dish decoration etc, but today I would like to present a “diet” version, lower in calories but not in taste.

For more Russian recipes, visit Russian Cuisine page.

Deconstructed “Herring under a fur coat”

“Herring under fur coat” is a classic holiday salad, mandatory on New Year Eve’s table along with champagne, tangerines as well as another all-time favorite – “Olivier” salad. Ready “herring under fur coat” should be covered and left in a refrigerator for few hours and then cut into pieces just like cake right before being served.

Shuba - Beet Salad with Herring or "Herring under a fur coat"

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  • 2 large carrots, washed
  • 2 beets, washed with tops and bottoms removed
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • 1 (12 ounces) jar herring fillets, packed in oil, chopped
  • 6 Tbsp. yogurt or light mayonnaise
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • fresh dill for serving
  • salmon roe for serving



In a large pot of water boil beets for about one hour, or until soft when pierced with a knife. In a separate pot, cook the carrots for about 30 minutes, until cooked but still firm. Allow each vegetable to cool to the touch before further handling. Remove and discard the skins from the vegetables. Shred the carrots, and beets, (the smaller the better) keeping them in separate bowls.


Then you need to decide ether you are making individual salads or one big salad for a table. The directions are the same.


Arrange about half the onion and half the herring fillets in a layer in the bottom of a bowl. Cover the layer with about half of the grated carrots, then a layer of about half the beets. Spread about 3 tablespoons of yogurt or mayonnaise over the beets, and finally about half the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat the layers in the same order to finish building the salad. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Serve cold with fresh dill and salmon roe on top.

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  • Reply
    October 14, 2013 at 4:29 am

    Oh yes! This is one of my favorites 🙂 I also add a layer of grated apple.. yummy!

  • Reply
    Rosa's Yummy Yums
    October 14, 2013 at 11:40 am

    A delightful dish! This combination of ingredients is just fantastic. I would gladly eat this speciality any day.



  • Reply
    October 14, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I love dishes with history and your pictures are beautiful and inspiring as always. This seems to be a must-try recipe!

  • Reply
    October 14, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Good morning dear friends! Medeja, usually I also put green apple and potato in this salad, but I am on a diet, again-))) So this is a very healthy version-)))

  • Reply
    October 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Meli, I can not believe it myself how much history one little salad can have-) And thank you for you kind comments!

  • Reply
    La Table De Nana
    October 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    So pretty in the see throgh:) And deconstructed..I am reminded of your blue ice..:)

  • Reply
    October 14, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Monique, I was thinking about it yesterday-)) I wonder maybe because I used class bowls, but this time different ones-) Thank you!

  • Reply
    Spicie Foodie
    October 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Yum, two of my favorite ingredients: herring and beets. It sounds wonderful and love the story behind it. Thanks for sharing, Yelena.

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    What a beautiful concept behind this dish! Thanks for that background on the history and tradition. I actually have a jar of herrings sitting in the fridge that I've been at a loss about… looks like I've found my solution.

  • Reply
    October 17, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Irina, I hope you like it. You can also add some cooked potato and fresh green apple. Would be perfect!

  • Reply
    Nami | Just One Cookbook
    October 17, 2013 at 4:31 am

    I will LOVE this salad so much. Beet salad is so good and love that gorgeous color. And you put ikura (salmon roe) on top. I was so happy seeing this salad! YUM!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2013 at 2:34 am

    Alena, this has to be the most beautiful Shuba I've ever seen! Looks soooo yummy!!!!!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Oh my, this is gorgeous! Shuba is my favourite, I make it all the time, but I've never seen it look as good as yours. Both the glass with the caviar on top and the deconstructed version are beautiful. Thank you for the history, I didn't know any of that, so interesting.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2013 at 2:26 am

    I can't believe I missed this recipe! Shuba is one of my most favorite foods! I need to make it too! Your presentation is beautiful, usually shuba would be really hard to photograph. Pinned!

  • Reply
    Lisa Chiappinelli
    November 11, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Hi there! I have to make this recipe for a dinner and I don't eat mayo. Can I substitute sour cream or yogurt for the may?

  • Reply
    November 11, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Sour cream would be a better then yogurt. I hope you like it!! Let me know-)

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