Thursday, August 30, 2012

1500 Sausages of Germany: The Mighty Currywurst

Curry Wurst (0121) by Meeta K. W

Currywurst is to Germany as pizza is to Italy, hot dogs are to America and fish and chips are to Great Britain. But only a few have their own museum. The glorious currywurst is Germany’s traditional modest snack of sliced pork sausages drenched in a tangy curry-tomato sauce and boasts of its own sausage shrine. 

The Deutsches Currywurst Museum in Berlin is a memorial to all things currywurst, celebrating one of Germany’s iconic dishes. Yearly, 800 million currywurst are devoured every year - that’s a staggering 1500 per minute! Despite its name, the currywurst is not actually a sausage that is curried. The secret of the currywurst stems from the unique sauce - a simple but unforgettable medley of pureed tomatoes flavored with a sprinkling of a mild curry mixture.

Each chef creates his own distinct sauce recipe and no two Germans will agree about the absolute perfect currywurst. Some like theirs with a sweet taste of Indian spices, others with a touch of mustard powder and still others hot and spicy with chilies, as a matter of fact some like it really hot. Then there is the matter of how you pair the currywurst - popular are French fries or a bread roll. However, the currywust has become such a cult that star chefs are putting it on their menus and creating a variety of different pairings like serving it with coleslaw, rice or baked potatoes.

What started out as the “poor man’s steak” and sold in street stands all over Germany can now also be found in high-end restaurants served on chinaware with a glass of champagne to wash it down. In my opinion the currywurst is simply best without the swanky airs and enjoyed standing up in an omnipresent outdoor snack bar, served in a cardboard or plastic box with a wooden fork or a toothpick, with hot, crispy frites. While Berlin, the Mecca of the currywurst, offers a range of great currywurst joints (my favorite the Curry 36 in Berlin’s hip Kreuzberg district), it is Weimar that makes the most divine currywurst I have ever tasted to date. People queue up at all hours of the day for a currywurst deemed particularly tangy and aromatic.

Curry Wurst (0101) by Meeta K. W

With a waiting time of approx. 20-40 minutes, people stand patiently at Fritz Mitte in the narrow street in Weimar’s city center. The sausages are fried to perfection and two currywurst sauces are offered for the currywurst fan - hot and spicy or mild and tangy. The currywurst are served with piping hot and crispy Belgian-style frites, sizzled to perfection. You will be asked to select from a range of mayonnaise and with flavors like wasabi, truffle, mustard and garlic to name a few you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Curry Wurst (0111) by Meeta K. WCurry Wurst (0118) by Meeta K. WCurry Wurst (0116) by Meeta K. WCurry Wurst (0120) by Meeta K. W

No surprises that I headed out to Fritz Mitte to feature Germany’s favorite street food for this month’s Monthly Mingle hosted at Zizi’s Adventures with the theme Street Food.

There is some controversy over how the currywurst came into being and has two big German cities squabbling for years.

Berliners will insist, a housewife, Herta Heuwer, created the currywurst in September 1949, less than four months after the end of the Allies' Berlin Airlift. As the story goes, Heuwer traded some English curry against spirits with parched British soldiers and after experimenting in her kitchen she mixed the spices with a dash of American ketchup, and a drop of Worcester sauce, concocting the cheap yet filling dish now known as currywurst: grilled sausage, sliced, with a gravy-like sauce containing English Curry and stewed tomatoes. At a time when Germany was a changing nation, this meal was fitting -- comfort topped with a hint of exoticism.

Residents of Hamburg in northern Germany, however also claim the currywurst for their own, with the Currywurst Club of Hamburg even going so far as to accuse Berlin of re-writing the history books.

Whoever first created the dish, the fact remains that the currywurst is a central part of German history and there is no such thing as the currywurst - every one likes the dish differently. Currywurst is as much about your trusted street vendor, creating his own signature sauce and the people you meet standing in the queues, as it is about the food itself.

You will see the anticipation of the faces of the people queuing up to get their doses of sausage in an exotic spiced tomato sauce and if you are in Weimar, a selection of scrumptious flavored mayonnaise served generously on thickly cut, crispy fried frites. So please do queue up and chat with the people waiting in line and check out the smiles on the faces of those already tucking into this sensational snack. 

Curry Wurst (0114) by Meeta K. WCurry Wurst (0113) by Meeta K. WCurry Wurst (0122) by Meeta K. WCurry Wurst (0103) by Meeta K. W

Fritz Mitte Weimar
Schützengasse 7,
Weimar
Facebook: Fritz Mitte

Although currywurst is best enjoyed at a street stall or vendor you can make this at home. My recipe is flavored with some Indian spices and the orange juice adds a tangy, slightly sweeter note. It really is a darned delicious sauce. You can use it for pizza or pasta sauce too or try it on roasted chicken. The rule to a really good sauce is anything goes. Use this as your basic recipe but be fearless and experiment to find the perfect balance of ingredients to suit your palate.

Also read: 1500 Sausages of Germany - The Bratwurst 

Recipe: Currywurst

Printable version of recipe here

Currywurst by Meeta K. Wolff

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powder + more for sprinkling (see recipe below)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 small dried chili
  • 40ml orange juice
  • 100 ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 450 ml canned chunky tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 4 German pork sausages
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil

Method:

  1. To make the tomato ketchup caramelize the onions with the sugar in a pan over medium heat, taking care not to burn the onions. Add the curry powder, cinnamon stick and chili and gently heat for a few seconds. Pour the orange juice, stock, tomato paste, tomatoes and vinegar into the saucepan. Mix well and simmer on a low heat for approx. 40 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  2. While the sauce is simmering heat up a skillet with the tablespoon of rapeseed oil and fry the pork sausages from all sides. Cut into chunks.
  3. Place the sausage chunks in a plate and pour the tomato sauce over them, sprinkling generously with the curry powder.
  4. Serve with hot crispy fries sprinkled with salt and more curry powder.

Notes: You can make your own curry powder with 1 teaspoon each of mustard seeds, turmeric, black cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, coriander seeds and black peppercorn and grinding into a powder. You can also add a few dry chilies if you prefer the sauce to be hotter. Store the spice mixture in a dry air-tight container.


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2012 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

26 comments :

  1. Ha, I didn't even know that you have "Fritz Mitte" in Weimar! Fritz Mitte was found in Jena, by our friend Stefan. I sometimes craving a good currywurst with belgian fries. A, and one more thing - I love the truffles mayo :-)
    hugs, Sandy

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    1. Why did I somehow get the feeling you would know the person behind this?? I know they are in Jena too. I adore the wasabi mayo!!

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  2. I love a good currywurst; too bad it's not a readily available kinda thing here in England. :(

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    1. Hi Kristina,
      It surprises me that it would not be available in the UK ... the Brits are also such a sausage loving nation ;o) Maybe a trip to Germany will cure the currywurst craving then!

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  3. Curywurst is a completely new thing to me, sounds really good. And nice piece of history to it.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! You can make it at home too. If you can find German pork sausages in your area - the recipe for the sauce is here :o)

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  4. I think I am going to cry with how good that looks!

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    1. Oh you - wipe off those tears and just come visit me. I'll take you there OK?

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  5. Mmmhhh, you are making me hungry! I'd love to try that speciality. I've heard so much about the mighty Currywurst!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Is it not available in Switzerland? A short trip to Germany should cure that!

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  6. Hi Meeta!

    I like mine with mustard, but your recipe with orange juice is a must try! I remember having some awesome curry wurst around the Ruhrpot area. For some reason this dish never reached Austria. Some turks do sell it there in their kebab take aways, but its not the same. Austrians stick to wiener wurscht. hehe

    Thanks for sharing the story of this icon dish, I learned a bunch. ;)

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    1. LOL! Well the Germans have taken over the Wiener too. I found that the orange juice really adds a nice kick to the sauce. Do try it and tell me what you think?

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  7. That looks mighty fine! I adore German sausages and I am craving some of that right now!

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  8. Wow, a different version of a currywurst and as usual great pictures. It seems I need to came back to Berlin to taste it again :D

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    1. Glad you liked it and yes Berlin would be the place to get your fill of currywurst. Thanks for the comment!

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  9. Mmmm! This post brings me immediately back to Munich last year, the wurst there was delicious! I love mine with hot spicy mustard (and now I really, really crave one!)

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    1. In Munich you must have eaten the Weisswurst tight? That is reserved for a whole different post. The only way to satisfy those cravings is to make a trip back to Germany!

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  10. If there is one thing I have always enjoyed on my trips to Germany...it's the sausages! Whilst I prefer the bratwurst I can still devour a plate of currywurst! Great write up Meeta and thanks for sharing all the info!

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    1. Oh I live in Bratwurst country. We have the best bratwurst in Germany so looks like you'll havr to visit me when you plan your next trip!

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  11. O boy.... I am having visions of biting into one of those juicy babies now... I can still vividly remember the ones we had at the BBQ! Gotta love German sausages. Great pics Meeta and perfect entry for the Monthly Mingle ofcourse! Love it!

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    1. We had the Thüringen bratwurst when you were here. I cannot understand why I did not take you to the currywurst place. But I will the next time you come here!

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  12. I wish this post was available one year ago when my husband and I visited Germany. To our bad luck, in Berlin, the place we tried currywurst at was simply awful; I think the chef added too much turmeric in the sauce. (All the other German food we ate was awesome!) I hope we can visit Germany again and eat currywursts at the places you've recommended. Until then, I'll have to be content making currywurst at home. Thanks for the recipe!

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  13. Mmm - wurst ;o) I've only had currywurst once and expected to hate it... but you can't! It's really delicous when it's good... I suppose it's the same with leberkaese! (which I adore!) Gorgeous pics.

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  14. ooo MG, lovely sausage, love this food so much anywhere...anytime...anyplace..HOT DOG

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  15. ..and you can have it in North London, from an iconic Coca Cola shaped food wagon. Mmmh yummy

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  16. I served in the British army in the seventies.
    only now am I recreating the currywurst at home. My wife love's it.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta