A recipe for Currywurst (German Bratwurst with Curry Ketchup)! Slices of bratwurst are coated in a spiced curry ketchup sauce and served with Pommes or Brötchen.
Currywurst has long been one of my favorite snacks when visiting family in Germany.
Created in Berlin in 1949 by Herta Heuwer, this delicious street food pairs pieces of grilled or pan-fried Bratwurst with a spiced ketchup or tomato-based sauce. There is now even a museum in the city with a focus on the iconic food- the Deutsches Currywurst Museum.
This dish comes together fairly easily, but the recipe for the sauce and exact ratios can vary wildly. Some I have come across over the years have a very short ingredient list with simply spices added to ketchup while others lean towards more complicated with an abundance of contrasting flavors.
Today, I am sharing a recipe for the version I have been making at home. Chopped onions are sautéed until softened and golden before adding ketchup and a bit of water. Stir in baking soda to balance the taste and the mixture will bubble briefly (my kids especially love this part).
After everything stops bubbling, curry powder, paprika, sugar, red wine vinegar, and salt are mixed in for the spices.
Allow the mixture to simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend, then use an immersion blender to create a smooth sauce.
As the sauce simmers, grill or pan-fry the Bratwürste until golden and crisp on each side. Either keep the Bratwurst whole or slice into bite-size pieces.
Serve the sausages with the warm sauce, a sprinkling of additional curry powder, and Pommes (fries) or Brötchen (rolls).
I still have not visited Berlin (hopefully someday soon!), but would often grab Currywurst from our local Imbiss (food stand) while out shopping or visiting the indoor water park.
The last time I tried it in Germany was during our trip to Bavaria for our honeymoon. The photo above on the right was actually my (at the time of this post) very last meal in Germany from the Munich train station before going back to the airport and flying home.
A Few Currywurst Tips
The curry ketchup can be prepared ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Gently reheat in a small saucepan before serving with the Bratwurst.
I pan-fried the cooked Bratwurst in oil to get a nice crispy texture, but you can also cook them on the grill until golden brown on each side.
If the sausage is not pre-cooked, simmer in water for 10 minutes before pan-frying or grilling.
The ratio of spices in this recipe are mostly guidelines. Adjust to taste. If too spicy, add a little more water to dilute and simmer until blended. If not spicy enough, add a little more curry powder or even about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Add more or less sugar/salt/vinegar as desired.
I sautéed onions first before adding the ketchup and other ingredients to the saucepan. I personally love the flavor and use an immersion blender (or carefully transfer to a stand mixer) to create a smooth sauce after cooking. If you are wanting to skip this step, some recipes simply add about a teaspoon of onion powder.
I added red wine vinegar to the Curry Ketchup, though I have also seen others use balsamic and other types of vinegar.
Want to make your own Brötchen? Recipes from Europe has a recipe for homemade Brötchen (German Bread Rolls).
Looking for more German recipes?
- Dampfnudeln (German Steamed Dumplings)
- Flädlesuppe (German Crepe Soup)
- Eiskaffee (German Coffee with Ice Cream)
Currywurst (Bratwurst with a Curry Tomato Sauce) Recipe
Adapted from Saveur
Currywurst (German Bratwurst with Curry Ketchup)
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) vegetable oil
- 1 small onion peeled and finely chopped, about 1/3 cup
- 1 cup (240 milliliters) tomato ketchup
- 1/3 cup (80 milliliters) water
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder plus more for sprinkling over the top
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 Bratwurst cooked
- In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Once thoroughly heated, add the chopped onion and cook until softened and starting to turn golden, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add in the tomato ketchup and water.
- Once heated through, stir in the baking soda. Continue to stir while the mixture foams.
- Once the bubbling decreases, stir in the curry powder, sugar, red wine vinegar, paprika, and salt.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
- Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the sauce until smooth or carefully transfer to a stand mixer and blend.
- While the sauce is cooking, prepare the Bratwurst.
- Cut small slits across the Bratwurst slightly on the diagonal about 1/4-1/2 inch (0.5-1.25 centimeters) apart.
- Place a pan over medium heat and drizzle with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Add the Bratwurst and cook until golden and crisp on each side.
- Serve the Bratwurst whole or cut down the slits to make individual pieces. Top or toss in the warm Curry Ketchup, sprinkle with more curry powder, and serve immediately with Pommes (fries) or Brötchen (rolls).