My grandma always made forshmak with potatoes, and everyone I knew growing up made it that way (I’m from Kharkiv, Eastern Ukraine).

So the classic Odessa version with apple and white bread is unusual for me. I also don’t like forshmak that’s been ground into a paste. I like my herring chopped with a knife or twisted with a coarse mesh through a meat grinder to keep the texture. For many, it will seem unusual to add fried onions, but warm fried onions add a lovely creamy note to this dish.

Forshmak with Herring and Potatoes

10 minutes 10 minutes 2-3 servings

INGREDIENTS (serves 2-3)

  • 3 (250 g, 9 oz) salted herring fillets
  • 2 (125 g, 4.5 oz) medium potatoes, boiled in their skins
  • 1 (80 g, 3 oz) small onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp oil for  frying 
  • 2 tbsp chopped chopped onion
  • 2 tsp unrefined sunflower oil, optional
  • Black pepper


You can find a short video recipe of Forshmak in my Instagram. Let’s be friends!

  1. Boil the potatoes in their skins until tender and peel.
  2. Peel and dice the onions into small cubes. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan, add butter, add onions and cook, stirring over low heat, until soft. Onions should only slightly change color to light golden and become soft.
  3. Finely chop the herring fillets with the knife.
  4. Shred the potatoes with a fine grater or crush them with a fork. Mix them with fried onions and the oil you used. Then add herring, green onions, unrefined sunflower oil, and black pepper and mix. Serve with warm toast made of dark bread.

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