“Herring under a fur coat” (Shuba) and “Olivier” are traditional salads for the New Year in my culture. I really don’t know what these traditions mean for me personally, because my lifestyle is far from traditional. Perhaps this is nostalgia, a “recipe” for New Year’s mood. On the other hand, this salad is really delicious! Not so often I cook dishes with so many boiled vegetables, more often I stew or fry, or make simple soups.. Now these whole cooked vegetables taste a little different than when I used to be a kid. I really enjoy the taste of sweet beets, tender carrots and starchy boiled potatoes.
How to replace fish?
As you could understand from the name of this salad – it is usually made with herring. But everything can be veganized.
It happened so, that we invented a “fur coat” without herring long before we learned about veganism. My mother had an American friend who did not like the taste of herring at all. So my creative mom came up with pickles as a substitute for herring. Well, that makes sense! The most basic taste of herring is the salty taste. We all really liked this version of the salad, including my mother’s friend. It’s cheap, fast, simple, and there is no need to pull bones out of cucumbers! And the salad still looks festive.
With the transition to vegan diet, there was a thrill to achieve even greater similarity. One day we decided to mix eggplant with nori. Nori is seaweed and it smells like the sea. In fact, the fish also smells like the sea. We all smell not of ourselves, but of the environment in which we live. So seaweed is something that is always used in veganized delicacies that are supposed to contain fish.
Fried eggplant is the best choice as a base, because it absorbs aromas very well, is similar in color to herring and even resembles fish in texture: with the same characteristic harsh skin and tender, soft, slightly transparent flesh.
Spices and flavorings complete the magic. First, sesame oil. It is often used in Asian cuisine, so its aroma is associated with fish. Secondly, smoked paprika – since fish is smoked more often than other products, the smell of smoked paprika is also associated with fish. And finally, the basic salty taste. Soy sauce works best here. This is how the mosaic is assembled!
My previous post was about white bean based mayonnaise. This is my favorite option for Shuba as it creates very good nutrient mix. Vegetables are good to combine with legumes. Vegetables are high in carbohydrates and vitamins, while legumes are rich in amino acids, proteins, calcium and iron. You can see this very clearly in cronometer.com. If one such salad is eaten whole, then almost all daily needs for macro- and micronutrients will be covered! The only exception is selenium (which is replenished by one Brazil nut), fat (replenished with one tablespoon of flaxseed) and a small shortage in calcium. Isn’t that cool? For comparison, this is what the picture would look like if you had eaten the same amount of calories (but less in volume and weight) of “herring under a fur coat” with ordinary mayonnaise and real fish. Overkill for fats and undershoot for a number of micronutrients.
However, not everyone is as interested in chasing “green bars” as I am) Taste is undoubtedly more important! So choose the sauce of your choice. Maybe you prefer tahini sauce or “classic” cashew mayonnaise – both are great for this Layer Salad.
How to decorate?
It seems to me that green color is a great complement to the composition, reminiscent of a Christmas tree. I have tried blanched broccoli and parsley for deco. I liked the parsley more: it’s easier and looks more festive. Pomegranate looks great and fits perfectly to taste. And I had pickled peppers in the fridge, so they were used too. But just covering this cake with mayonnaise on top is also a great option! My sister did it very beautifully, with a pleasant tint of pink. Give yourself freedom, no one is watching and there are really no rules! Beauty is in the freedom)
Hope you will try this recipe! I wish you a very happy New Year!
Vegan Shuba or Eggplant "under a fur coat"
- Pressure cooker (opt)
- 1 tbsp Oil coconut/grape-seed/other
- 1 tsp Sesame oil
- 2 medium Eggplant
- 2 cloves Garlic
- ¼ tsp Smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp Soy sauce
- 2 sheets Nori
- 1 medium Onion
- 3 medium Potatoes boiled with skin
- 2 medium Carrots boiled with skin
- 3 medium Beetroots boiled with skin
- 200 g Vegan White Bean Mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp Vegan White Bean Mayonnaise
- 100 g Pomegranate
- 6 tbsp Parsley
- some pickled peppers
- Prepare the vegetables: boil potatoes, carrots and beets unpeeled in a large pot until tender. In order to get pure color of each vegetable better to cook beetroot in a separate pot. Once vegetables are ready let them cool down.
- To a preheated frying pan add 1 tbsp of oil (use refined oil without smell). Add a drop of sesame oil for flavour.
- Dice two eggplants and transfer it to the frying pan. When almost cooked, add minced garlic, smoked paprika, soy sauce and nori, cut into small pieces. Mix well and let it cool down.
- Dice one medium onion finely and grate potatoes, carrots and beets into separate bowls.
- For the next step you need to prepare vegan mayonnaise. The recipe of a low fat, high protein vegan mayo you can find in my previous article (see the notes). You're gonna need 1,5 of the recipe (200g approx). If you have cooked white beans at home, then it will take you just 5 minutes to make.
- Last step is to assemble the salad. There are 2 ways to do this. You can make an up-side down thing, packing ingredients in a container and then flip it over. Or you can shape the salad like a layer cake, using your hands (this how I do it).
- First layer is eggplant. Place 50% of fried eggplants on the flat plate evenly. Next distribute 50% of diced onions on top.Grease with mayonnaise.
- Next distribute grated potato evenly, slightly pressing it down with your palm. Grease with mayo again and put the rest of eggplants and onions on top.
- Gently squeeze juice from carrots and form the next layer. Grease the carrot layer with mayonnaise again.
- Do the same with beetroot, squeeze and drain the juice a bit and put the beetroot on top of your salad evenly.
- Decorate the salad with mayonnaise, pomegranate, pickled peppers or olives and something green (parsley or broccoli).
- You can store this salad for about 3 days in the refrigerator. Salad is usually served cold, but my hubby likes it to be warmed a bit) Matter of taste! Enjoy!
NotesYou can use this home-made vegan mayonnaise (link), which can also be made WFPB (without oil) or you can use any other sauce of your choice. As an alternative, check out my tahini sauce recipe! Happy New Year!
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