Herring under the fur coat

Herring under the fur coat or shuba or just Fur Coat or Russian layered beet salad with herring or kasukas in Estonian.

I was born in Estonia and this was the main dish in all the grown up birthdays or any celebrations really (or one of the main dishes)! We love our mayo based salads! I have posted many different salads here in my blog before.




Might be a surprise but I was never fond of this salad, I just wasn’t very fond of herring or beets when I was younger but I guess who is when you are 5 lol  But now I love beets and herring and for the first time in my life I made this “Fur Coat” salad! And I can tell you, it was amazing! I only made a little bit because I wasn’t sure how it will turn out and my husband is not a fan of herring so I just made a little bit. He of course tastes it to be polite but the rest of it is all mine 🙂


A little bit of history now and a little bit later…..

A legend names a merchant Anastas Bogomilov, who owned several pubs in Moscow, as a person who came up with this dish. In 1918 Anastas became concerned that his clients got too drunk all the time,  the parties were usually followed by heavy fist fights and destroying china, windows, and furniture.

One of his chefs, came up with a brilliant recipe to solve this problem.  He took salted herring, which symbolized the proletariat, potatoes symbolizing the peasantry, beets, whose red colour symbolized blood and the Bolshevik flag, and topped it all off with the French sauce Provençal.  He named his new invention “ShUBA,” an acronym for “Shovinismu i Upadku – Boikot i Anafema”, or “Death and Damnation to Chauvinism and Degradation,” which coincidentally spelled the word “Fur Coat” in Russian. ШУБА.

Bogomilov debuted this dish on New Year’s Eve of 1919.  All guests enjoyed eating it very much, and even though they drank plenty of vodka, the new dish helped them get less drunk and, therefore, fight less.

Over the years Shuba grew more and more in popularity.  Its name changed to “Herring Under the Fur Coat,” and Provençal was replaced by mayonnaise. But for the first few decades of the Soviet rule, mayonnaise was hard to come by, so only very few of the political and cultural elite could make the “Herring Under the Fur Coat,” making this dish a status symbol of the sorts.  By the second half of the 1960s USSR had finally set up mass production of mayo, propelling Shuba and other mayo-based dishes to mass popularity.  To this day, Shuba is one of most popular dishes, especially in the winter and is an absolute staple for the New Year’s Eve menu or any party in that matters.


Ingredients (for 6 people)

2 salted herrings

3 medium beets

15 baby carrots

6-7 dill pickles

3 eggs

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

salt, sugar

Boil beets, carrots and eggs.

Cut herring into cubes. Shred (or cube) beets, pickles and carrots or up to you what shape you prefer. Peel eggs and slice them.


In another bowl mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, pinch of salt and pinch of sugar.

In a casserole dish, start layering your ingredients, start with carrots, beets, pickles, herring and egg. Top it with the mayo and sour cream mix. Let your imagination fly with decorating.


I was in a hurry to taste my new dish and did not spend too much time in decorating. Whenever it was done, I already reached for a spoon and started to dig in. That is how badly I wanted to taste my new creation. BUT you can put it to the fridge for couple of hours to let it set or “marinate”.

More history and what it means for me as an Estonian. This salad was invented while the Freedom War. It was fought in connection with the Russian Civil War during 1918–1920.

In late November 1918, Russian forces moved against Estonia. On 28 November 1918, the 6th Red Rifle Division struck the border town of Narva (town in Estonia), which marked the beginning of the Estonian War of Independence.

The 6th Red Rifle Division attacked with 7,000 infantry, 22 field guns, 111 machine guns, an armored train, two armored vehicles, two airplanes, and the Bogatyr class cruiser Oleg supported by two destroyers. The town was defended by men of the Estonian Defence League (Home Guard) (consisting partly of secondary school students) and Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 405 of the German Army. The Reds captured Narva on 29 November, and the Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 405 withdrew westwards.

It resulted in a victory for the newly established state and was concluded in the Treaty of Tartu. But our struggles with Russia did not end there, it didn’t sit well with Russians that they lost….

So years went by and in September and October 1939 the Soviet government compelled the much smaller Baltic states to conclude mutual assistance pacts which gave the Soviets the right to establish military bases there. Following invasion by the Red Army in the summer of 1940, Soviet authorities compelled the Baltic governments to resign. The presidents of Estonia and Latvia were imprisoned and later died in Siberia. And so did so many other people who were dragged in to Siberia while sleeping peacefully in their homes, families were torn apart and people were badly terrorized. It brakes my heart just thinking about it…..

Anyways….who is interested in more history:

History of Estonia


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