There’s a reason over 800 million Currywursts are consumed each year in Germany – they’re deeeelicious and have been a German institution since 1949! Learn how to make the BEST authentic curry ketchup and traditional German Currywurst!
In the words of Berlin’s Currywurst Museum director, “No other German dish inspires such excitement.” That sums up the ever popular Currywurst.
Where Did Currywurst Originate?
Currywurst has been a German institution since its invention in Berlin in 1949 by Herta Heuwer. She lived in the British military sector of Berlin after World War II where some soldiers had given her some ketchup, curry powder and Worcestershire sauce that they brought with them from the UK. She went to work experimenting on a sauce that would provide much needed contrast to the limited post-war rations the people were accustomed to living on, a flavorful spicy sauce poured over Bratwursts hot off the grill that she would patent two years later.
She set up a street stand where construction workers were hard at work rebuilding the war-torn city and in no time the popularity of the currywurst skyrocketed. At its peak she was selling nearly 1500 currywursts per day, or 10,000 per week!
© Jan Sommer | Dreamstime
Herta passed away in 1999 at the age of 86 and in 2003 a plaque was dedicated in her honor at the site of her original kiosk on the corner of Kant and Kaiser Friedrich Streets.
Today the currywurst remains popular throughout all of Germany and can be found at most Schnellimbisse (fast food stands). It’s estimated that roughly 800 million currywursts are consumed in Germany each year with 70 million consumed in Berlin alone! With a population of 3.5 million in Berlin, that’s over 20 currywursts per Berliner per year. Yes, the Germans still love their currywursts. And I stand right along with them because I love them, too!
And if you’re ever in Berlin, under the Magistrate’s Viaduct on the Schönhauser Allee you can still order currywurst from Konnopke’s Imbiss, Berlin’s first and most famous currywurst stand.
I grew up in Germany eating and enjoying many a Currywurst. Whether I was out shopping, sightseeing, looking for steals at the fleakmarket or hanging out with friends, a stand selling Currywurst is never hard to find.
So thank you Herta Heuwer, thank you to the British soldiers who gave her those first key ingredients, and thank you to the city of Berlin for upholding the Currywurst tradition!
© Sean Pavone|Dreamstime
If you want to simply buy German Curry Ketchup you can find it here on Amazon. But the whole reason you’re here is so that you can make your own and that’s a great choice because NOTHING compares to homemade curry ketchup!
This homemade curry ketchup has cracked the code for the perfect ratio of spices and ingredients. Eating this on your grilled Bratwurst will take you down memory lane, recalling the times you enjoyed this fast-food delicacy during your time in Germany. And if you’ve never been to Germany or have never had currywurst, this will help you understand why it’s so popular.
This homemade currywurst sauce represents the very best you’ve ever had – multiplied by several flavor boosts!
Curry Ketchup Recipe
Let’s get started!
Heat the oil in a small saucepan and cook the onions just until soft and translucent. Do not brown them. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
The Curry Ketchup will keep in the fridge for up to a month.
With your amazing curry sauce in hand, the next step is preparing the Bratwursts!
Germany has several kinds of Bratwursts to choose from. Some areas also use Bockwurst, Rotwurst and Weisswurst. I can’t recommend strongly enough using the most authentic German sausages you can find – they taste totally different from what we call Bratwursts here in the U.S.. If you’re lucky you may find a German deli in your city or a butcher who makes genuine German sausages. If not, look for the best sausages from your local butcher, ask them what they recommend.
You can either grill or pan-fry wursts. They need to be poached in lightly simmering water first and then grilled/fried to finish them off.
The important thing is to cook them until they develop a thick and crispy browned outer crust. (So if you’re pan-frying, be sure to use enough oil.) Some curry wurst stands also cut vertical slits along the currywurst to prevent them from bursting open while cooking and then the sausages are sliced along the lines into bite-sized chunks before serving.
Once they’re cooked, slice the sausages into bite-sized pieces, top them with some curry ketchup and sprinkle with curry powder. Serve immediately with French fries or a crispy Brötchen (crispy bread roll).
For our sausage-making readers, be sure to try our recipe for Authentic German Bratwurst!
Traditional Currywurst and Curry Ketchup Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 1/2 tablespoons quality curry powder
- 1 tablespoon quality sweet paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 5 tablespoons vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon quality Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional, for more heat)
- 4 genuine German bratwursts, bockwurst, rotwurst or weisswurst (see blog post about selecting the right sausages)
- extra curry powder for sprinkling
- French fries or crispy bread rolls (Brötchen) for serving
- Heat the oil in a small saucepan and cook the onions just until soft and translucent. Do not brown them. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the curry powder, paprika, cloves and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Let the mixture cool completely and then refrigerate for a day before using to allow time for the flavors to meld.
- Makes 1 1/2 cups. The curry ketchup will keep for up to a month in the fridge.
- HOW TO MAKE CURRYWURST:
- If the sausages are not pre-cooked, first poach them in lightly simmering water. The next step is to grill/fry them to finish them off. You can either grill or pan-fry the sausages.
The important thing is to cook them until they develop a thick and crispy browned outer crust. (So if you're pan-frying, be sure to use enough oil.) Some curry wurst stands also cut vertical slits along the currywurst to prevent them from bursting open while cooking and then the sausages are sliced along the lines into bite-sized chunks before serving.