One of the first things I felt I needed to do when I got to Berlin was to try currywurst. Luckily the hostel I was staying in was just a couple of blocks down from the Berlin's oldest currywurst place Konnopke's Imbiss in Prenzlauer Berg. Currywurst is a pretty simple but tasty snack that seems to be loved by everyone. A German style pork sausage usually bockwurst is deep fried, cut into pieces, and topped with a ketchup-like tomato sauce and curry powder, and usually served with french fries or a bread roll. This combination was invented in 1947 by Herta Heuer, who was influenced by American and British soldiers who loved ketchup and curry powder respectively. A plaque has been erected on Kantstraße in the Charlottenburg area of west Berlin in her honour.
Most currywurst sellers have their own special recipe for the curry ketchup, but stores also sell ready-made curry ketchup, which is nothing like you get at a proper imbiss. Hela seems to be the most popular brand. I used to buy it at Aldi in Copenhagen and find it strangely addictive in it's own right. "scharf" is the only way to go.
A "grillwalker" sells wursts from a mobile kitchen strapped around his neck, a bit like a old time cigarette girl. I don't know if their unique to Alexanderplatz, but I didn't come across them anywhere else. Here is a video of grillwalkers in action.
Over 800 million currywurst are sold in Germany a year, mostly in little snack shops called imbiss. Imbiss usually sell other types of sausages on their own with condiments like the pølsevøgn in Denmark serve, as well as hotdogs, wiener schnitzel, frites, and sometimes burgers and döner kebab ( Berlin's other famous street food).
The Deutsches Currywurst Museum at Schützenstraße 70 near Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin is dedicated to everything currywurst and has fun interactive installations and events. For a more "upscale" experience similar to eating gourmet poutine in Toronto or gastro bánh mi in New York, you can have currywurst served on chinaware with champagne at Bier's Kudamm 195 on Kurfürstendamm in Charlottenburg.
|Curry7 on Schlesische Straße in Kreuzberg|
|Konnopke's in Prenzlauer Berg opened in 1930 - photo by Geir Halvorsen|
|Curry36 is one of the most popular night time currywurst places - photo by sophposh|
I serve this at the Inter Steer in Toronto. I sourced locally produced knockwurst and make my own version of curry ketchup to top it with. Here's my recipe:
- 1 can tomato paste
- 2 roma tomatoes diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 white onion diced
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup ( this gives it a bottled ketchup consistency)
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon madras curry powder
- couple of shots of Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp salt
1. Fry the garlic, onions, and curry powder in a little oil
2. add tomato paste and fry some more
3. add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 15 minutes
4. Puree with a hand blender
|Homemade Curry Ketchup|
Another interesting currywurst video: