No, currywurst is not a special type of sausage, like bratwurst or knackwurst. It’s the pairing of wurst with a curry sauce, typically sold at an Imbiss — a small snack spot, where you’d typically get currywurst and fries, for instance, and the wurst would be cut up into pieces with a ladle full of the currywurst sauce, and you’d eat them with a small toothpick like “fork.”
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:
The invention of currywurst is attributed to Herta Heuwer in Berlin in 1949, after she obtained ketchup (or possibly Worcestershire sauce) and curry powder from British soldiers in Germany. She mixed these ingredients with other spices and poured it over grilled pork sausage. Heuwer started selling the cheap but filling snack at a street stand in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, where it became popular with construction workers rebuilding the devastated city. She patented her sauce under the name “Chillup” in 1951. At its height the stand was selling 10,000 servings per week. She later opened a small restaurant which operated until 1974. On 30 June 2013 Heuwer’s 100th birthday was celebrated with a Google Doodle.
Today, currywurst is often sold as a take-out/take-away food, Schnellimbisse (snack stands), at diners or “greasy spoons,” on children’s menus in restaurants, or as a street food and usually served with french fries or bread rolls (Brötchen). It is popular all over Germany but especially in the metropolitan areas of Berlin, Hamburg and the Ruhr Area.
And here’s a picture of how it’d be served in Germany:
though the wurst is a bit buried under the fries here.
In any case, in Germany, if you really had a hankering for currywurst at home, you could buy curry ketchup, but that’s not possible here, so I found a recipe which does the trick. It’s originally from the site The Kitchen Maus, which had more detailed instructions and comments on brats (we just serve with precooked brats); the site Epicurious seemed to have copied over the recipe as well, or perhaps vice-versa.
Anyway, here it is:
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 4-5 teaspoons of mild curry powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup beef broth
- 2 (or more) tablespoons of water
Put one cup of ketchup into a small saucepan on medium low heat.
When warm, add the baking soda and stir continuously until the foam subsides (adding a base to an acid: fun!); reduce heat to low. Add all the spices, stir. Add the liquids, combine and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes.
Serve with bratwurst heated per the package directions and/or fries.
Comments on ingredients:
I use something more on the order of 4 than 5 tsp curry powder, and don’t necessarily use the cayenne. I also use 1/4 tsp beef soup base and 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp water rather than 1/4 cup beef broth.
I generally don’t fuss about any fancy paprika, but for this recipe (and pretty much only for this recipe) I have a jar specifically of smoked paprika rather than the regular cheap stuff.
Added bonus of the recipe: precooked brats can sit in your fridge for a good long time, and you can pull this out of your hat when you need something quick. This doesn’t look fancy but it got the job done (veggies came straight out of the freezer, from Aldi):