Currywurst

I am a bit obsessed with Central and Eastern European cuisine. One of the great things about living in Rockville is that I have access to a lot of places that help me indulge that obsession. However, I don’t need to make a trip to a specialty store to cook up one of my favorite dishes.

Currywurst has been a staple in Germany since 1949. According to the book Culinaria Germany, a Berlin imbiss owner named Herta Heuwer came up with currywurst while experimenting with spicy food on a rainy day. Her recipe for what she called Chillup sauce is still a secret, but her success soon led to imitators with their own variations. Currywurst was the most popular fast food in Germany for around 60 years, until doner kebab unseated it.

I make currywurst quite a lot. My recipe is based on one I found at The German Kitchen that I have tweaked to my liking. I definitely prefer a strong curry flavor and a thick sauce, so I’ve cut back the amount of tomato sauce, added ketchup, and maximized the amount of curry powder from the original recipe.

Currywurst is traditionally served on french fries. But my wife had the idea of serving it on leftover spätzle, which is a wintertime staple in our house. She warmed up the spätzle with some butter, then tossed it with the currywurst. You need to learn how to make spätzle just so you can put currywurst on it. I’m serious. I like it more this way than on fries.

Here is the recipe for four servings:

Ingredients

  • 5 hot dogs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 8 ounces of tomato sauce
  • 4 ounces of ketchup
  • 1½ tablespoons of curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of onion powder

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then saute the hot dogs until they are warmed through.

Pour in the tomato sauce, ketchup and all of the seasonings and stir until everything is well-incorporated.

Turn the heat down to low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If you adjust the seasoning, add a little extra time to the end of the recipe to make sure it is cooked through.

Serve on french fries if you’re a traditionalist, on buttered spätzle if you are or married to an Austrian-American, or on buttered elbow pasta if you are quite mad.