Monday, June 4, 2012

Ode to the Currywurst (curried sausage) - something only the Germans could come up with

One of the little known facts about German cuisine is that the Germans came up with the concept of Currywurst or curry-sausage. Despite the name, the sausage used in the dish does not actually contain curry. The curry is simply added to the ketchup, which is used to cover generously the grilled sausage made out of pork.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - Currywurst and french fries sold for 2.40 Euro
Disclaimer - I am an ardent fan of Currywurst and every time I visit Germany, I have to eat Currywurst at least once. Now I will also admit that in most places you have a choice to get your Currywurst red or white. As you can see from the picture above, I have chosen the "red" version - a sausage made from a mix of pork and beef, to give it a more intense flavor than a simple pork sausage. I personally will never even consider chosing the "white" version. The "white" version is created by using a pork sausage that is similar to the Bratwurst available in the USA. To me adding a bunch of curry-spiced ketchup to a brat just does not taste right. In the area of the Hunrueck that I visited, the "red" version is clearly more popular.
I was able to perform a nonscientific study by observing the Currywurst sales at a local supermarket (Globus Handelshof) that had a special on Currysausage with french fries for 2.40 Euro. The picture above shows what you get, a nicely filling meal for lunch or, as in my case, dinner. While I was sitting in the cafeteria enjoying my own gourmet creation, I saw a rapid succession of other customers carrying plates with Currywurst to their tables, without any exception, all had chosen the" red" version.
If you feel like making your own Currywurst, here is my advice for creating a reasonably priced "red" version in the USA:
- buy a good quality all beef frank. Try to find a lean version of a beef frank.
- grill the sausage / hot dog on a grill. Since a hot dog is smaller than the pork sausage sold in Germany, you should consider using two beef franks a person
- take a good tomato ketchup, put it in a small pot and simmer.
- add very generous amounts of yellow curry to the ketchup and let simmer to ensure that the flavors combine. The ketchup should definitely taste very spicy!
- cut the grilled beef franks into bite size pieces and cover in good amounts of ketchup
- serve with french fries or a artisan roll

Now some of you may wonder why go to this length when describing what can only be described as a very simple dish, not particularly healthy and a rather odd dish to be invented in Germany.
Currywurst has something about it that makes people ardent fans of this dish. There is a Currywurst museum in Berlin, Volkswagen has its own butchery that produces over 3.5 Million servings of Currywurst, of which 1.6 million are served to Volkswagen employees a year. If you want to find out more about the Currywurst, you can go to Wikipedia here or look a newspaper article from Reuters about the museum here.

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