After a very hospitable stay in a small village in the Brest region of Belarus, I learned how to make this traditional dish from Anya, the mom in my hosting farmstead family. Even though I normally do not like herring, I loved this dish. It can just as easily be made with cooked chicken and browned onions instead of herring. Some of the photos are from our stay there and others are my chicken version made right in my tiffin. This dish is perfect for lunch because it is eaten cold. You can make this whole recipe the night before and then divide up the portions for lunch. If more convenient, you could also make just one large individual portion by reducing the ingredients to 1 each of potato, beet, egg, and carrot with @ 4 oz. of fish or chicken and @1/3 cup of the sour cream/mayo dressing. I am not sure if the apple I photographed and used was a York Imperial or not, but whatever it was, it was delicious! —Sagegreen
herring filet (or roasted moist, tender chicken- 12 oz. will also work)
small sweet onion, finely minced for herring, chopped (and browned if using chicken)
white vinegar for onion for herring
medium pototoes, boiled (red bliss or yukon gold)
hard boiled eggs, farm fresh
medium carrots, boiled
crisp apple, finely grated with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, optional
Cut up the herring or chicken into very small pieces. Line the bottom of a deep pie dish with these.
For the herring version, put the finely minced onion in some white vinegar for 30 minutes, then drain. For the chicken, brown the onion in some butter, then cool. Layer the prepared onion on top of the fish or chicken.
Mix the sour cream together with the mayonnaise. Frost a thin layer on top of the onions over the fish or chicken.
Finely grate the potatoes and add as the next layer to the dish. Add a layer of finely chopped hard boiled eggs next. Add a thin layer of the sour cream/mayo on top.
Finely grate the carrots and add them as the next layer. Also add the finely grated apple on top of this if you like. You can create a domed shape with your layering. If you really love sour cream and mayo, you can add this layer on each time, but I prefer to skip a layer or two. Another variation only used mayonnaise, but I prefer the combination.
Finish by adding a finely grated layer of the beets. Decorate with the sour cream/mayo dressing in a pattern of your choice. I put the dressing in a small plastic bag, then cut a small hole in the corner to pipe this on top, much like you would icing. The smaller the hole, the more delicate the decoration can be. This is supposed to look like a cake. You can describe this as a very fancy Belarusian fur coat to appeal especially to children. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Serve and pack into individual containers for lunch. With an ice pack and an insulated container this travels very well.