A trip to Germany isn’t complete without stopping by a imbiss (fast food stand) and chowing down a currywurst or two. The dish is nothing more than a fried bratwurst smothered in a curry tomato ‘ketchup’ (I say this word loosely as the best are made with a homemade sauce) but it has somehow elevated itself to being one of Germany’s most famous foods. I probably wouldn’t love currywurst so much if my first experience had been a greasy sausage covered with store-bought curry flavour ketchup – something that unfortunately is all too common. In fact my first experience is to date the best currywurst I have ever eaten.
On my first visit to Hamburg, a local friend took us to Imbiss bei Schorsch – a hole in the wall currywurst stand with standing room for no more than 5 people at a time.
5 people enter, order and are served, complete with knife and fork.
5 people pay and leave, then next 5 people enter.
The sauce is homemade and rich, and if you ask for it hot, you will literally cry as it’s that hot. The imbiss refuses to sell fries, and instead will serve your currywurst with bread or a homemade potato salad.
Berlin’s most famous currywurst – Curry 36 again makes a mean homemade sauce, though unlike Imbiss bei Schorsch in Hamburg, the sauce is served cold and out of a squidgy bottle.
Keen to recreate a homemade style currywurst sauce at home, I searched the internet for recipes (limited to english recipes unfortunately). Surprisingly many of the recipes I found involved using an already made ketchup and enhancing the flavour using curry powder, soya sauce and onions. Given I was planning on mopping up all my currywurst sauce with fresh bread, using a ketchup based sauce was really not an option.
After a long search I eventually found the below recipe which I have used a few times, adjusting the amount of curry power from time to time. I must say, it is pretty damn good. Served on top of a lightly fried bratwurst and with plenty of bread to mop up the sauces, I could almost be in currywurst heaven.
Recipe adapted from Saveur.com
- 2 tsbp vegetable oil
- 1 finely chopped large onion
- 2.5 tbsp medium curry powder
- 1 tbsp hot paprika
- 2 can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- salt to taste
- Bread to serve
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add the onion and cook for 8–10 minutes or until soft.
Add the curry powder and hot paprika and cook for 1 minute more.
Using hands, crush the whole peeled canned tomatoes (with juice) into pan. Add the cup sugar, red wine vinegar, and salt to taste then stir well.
Increase heat to high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 25 minutes.
Purée the tomato sauce in a blender until smooth. Strain sauce through a sieve.
When you are ready to eat, shallow fry a bratwurst until a nice crisp skin forms on the outside. Once cooked, serve the bratwurst topped with a generous amount of currywurst sauce and sprinkle with additional curry powder if you want extra heat.
Currywurst imbiss mentioned in this entry:
Imbiss bei Schorsch
Beim Grünen Jäger 14, Hamburg
Mehringdamm 36, Berlin