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The Currywurst Laboratory - How to make currywurst at home as if from a snack bar
The currywurst! Queen of the German takeaways. There are numerous myths and urban legends about the small sausage under the spicy sauce that gives it its name in a cardboard bowl. Adored in film, TV and literature, immortalized in music and art, no other street snack in the world is so closely anchored in the culture and history of a country as our local currywurst.
But why is the “little man's steak” so famous? Where does the hot sausage come from and most importantly: how do you recreate Germany's best currywurst at home? You can find all the answers, tricks and sausage secrets in our currywurst laboratory.
Table of Contents
The invention of the currywurst
It is September 3, 1949 that the Berlin takeaway owner Herta Heuwer invents the currywurst. Well, not the sausage itself, but one Sauce made from tomato paste, spices, curry powder and Worcestershire sauce. The sauce is thick, thick, sweet and spicy at the same time. Berlin had never eaten anything like this before. Until now, sausages have always been drowned in thin ketchup or dipped in mustard. The customers are excited and run into the 36-year-old native of Königsberg into the little booth on Kantstrasse. Heuwer had the sauce protected under the name "Chillup" and became a Berlin celebrity. It is so successful that it employs 19 people in its heyday and even advertises in the cinema.
The currywurst is copied across the country. The delicious sausage is a quick, filling and, above all, sociable meal, especially for craftsmen, construction workers and the numerous colliery workers at the time. Even after the shift, a currywurst coupled with one or the other after-work beer is a trendy after-work design. The sausage dish still has the charm of the proletariat and hard-working society to this day.
Politicians and celebrities still like to be photographed at currywurst stalls to show that they are down-to-earth and close to the people.
The real attraction, however, lies in the snack-bar atmosphere. No matter whether a craftsman in a boiler suit or a lawyer in an Armani suit. Everyone is the same in the curry shop. At the big curry hotspots there is a lively, open-hearted atmosphere all day (and all night). Loud debates about sport and politics can be heard as well as reports of suffering about the spouse or football chants.
The obligatory calls from the stallholders when your dish is ready on the counter make the unique ambience of this microcosm perfect.
If you are passing by on your curry pilgrimage in Berlin and would like to stand at the place where the currywurst was invented and sold, take a detour to Kantstrasse 101. There is a plaque commemorating Herta Heuwer's snack bar and her legendary sauce invention .
Which type of sausage is suitable for my currywurst?
Three types of curry sausages
An original currywurst is a boiled sausage made from pork, bacon and water. According to the law of the state authorities and butchers' guild from 1967, a real currywurst is allowed neither smoked nor cured be. In addition to the secret mixture of spices, the butchers usually mix some curry powder into the mixture. The sausage meat is filled into pig intestines and brewed to approx. 68 ° C.
Berlin curry sausages without intestines are sprayed directly into the hot water bath through a hose.
Ok, so you go to the butcher full of anticipation. But when you look at the display and the large variety of different types of sausage, you will be puzzled. Which sausage is the right one for your homemade curry variation?
Your butcher can always give you the best information. Ask him about a sausage or boiled sausage that hasn't been cured or smoked.
Now it's time to try it out. The best thing to do is to buy a sausage of each variant and see what you like best. I tested 3 different types of sausages. Maybe this will help you with your decision
3 types of currywurst in the test
The original West Berlin currywurst with gut is the classic and the mother of all sausages that are used for the dish with curry sauce. The inventor Herta Heuwer swore by her sausages in the gut.
West Berlin currywurst with gut
Conclusion: The taste is deliciously spicy. A slight note of marjoram goes very well with the sausage meat. The sausage is firm to the bite and cracks properly when you bite into the seared intestine.
The East Berlin currywurst is made just like its West Berlin counterpart. However, the sausage meat is not placed in an intestine, but directly in the water bathwhere it coagulates and solidifies. Only this variant was served in the GDR, as casings were very expensive and they would have made the “workers' dish” unaffordable.
East Berlin currywurst without casing
Conclusion: Not quite as spicy. When chewed, however, it is very fine and much softer than the West Berlin sausage.
The VW currywurst is well known in the republic and apparently also very popular. It started its triumphal march in the numerous VW canteens. This Currybockwurst has been produced and sold since 1973. The Bockwurst made from pork, pork cheek, pork belly and bacon In contrast to an original sausage preparation, it is first smoked hot and then brewed.
The factory sausage is still made in the company's own butcher's shop near Wolfsburg. The special thing about it is its length, which, at around 25 cm, is twice as large as a conventional currywurst. In the Volkswagen canteens they are served with the specially made VW curry ketchup.
Original VW factory sausage
Conclusion: Tastes like a typical sausage. Crunchy on the outside, a soft, firm meat on the inside. The light smoke on the intestines is present, even if only in the background.
No matter which type of sausage you choose - make sure that the meat is of good quality and contains no artificial additives if possible.
Cut into the currywurst and fry properly
Preparation begins with cutting the sausages. It doesn't matter whether you make a long cut over the whole sausage or several cross-cuts. The cuts prevent the sausage from bursting open while roasting and looks misshapen and unsightly. You don't have to cut too deep into the meat. 1-2 cm is enough.
Currywurst is cut across to prevent it from bursting
The cross-sections have the advantage that your sausage is pre-portioned to the bite-size after roasting. So you can easily cut the pieces of sausage with a wooden piercer or break them off with your fingers.
In the Ruhr area, it is customary in some stalls to cut the sausage lengthways and roast it. The large gap is used to distribute the curry sauce evenly in and on the sausage. In East Berlin the sausage is sometimes cut in half after roasting and poured with curry sauce. The two ends of the sausage remain free so that you can touch them easily with your fingers.
In West Berlin, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the currywurst was cut into pieces on the snack table. In the GDR, the sausage was served in one piece so that the customer could see that he was not being cheated.
Curry sausages with different cuts
Roasting sausages is an art. But don't worry, with a few tricks you can raise your local sausage to a star stand level:
- Use a stainless steel or cast iron pan. Both materials hold the heat very well and give it off evenly to your sausages. This gives you a crispy crust on the currywurst on all sides.
- Cut your sausages with a knifeso that they do not burst open when frying.
- Don't skimp on oil. Half of your sausages can be placed in rapeseed or sunflower oil. Have a look at the grill plate in your favorite curry stall. There is a lot of oil druffing out so that the sausages are evenly brown and crispy on both sides.
This also turns the sides of the currywurst golden brown
- Patience is the magic word. Only heat the oil in the pan over medium heat. A good currywurst can take 10-15 minutes to perfect.
- Flip the sausage every minuteuntil it's golden brown and crispy on both sides.
Curry sausages while frying
The curry sauce
A currywurst stands or falls with the sauce in which you put it. Otherwise the sausage would be just a sausage. A good sauce should be velvety and creamy around the currywurst pieces and be so tasty that you want to lick out the whole bowl. Spicy, sweet and a bit hot. A homemade sauce is hard to find these days. Many sausage stalls still use ready-made products or spice ketchup.
The fact is, a fantastic sauce takes time and love. Your reward is a great tasting homemade product.
Unfortunately, Herta Heuwer never wrote down her original recipe. But here I have a recipe variant for you that you will delight all currywurst friends with.
- 2 kg of ripe tomatoes
- 7 red onions
- 1 chilli pepper
- 6 cm ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 lemon
- 100 g tomato paste
- 80 ml balsamic vinegar
- 5 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 6 tbsp curry powder
- 2 tbsp mustard seeds
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tbsp cloves
- 1 tbsp allspice
- 1 teaspoon green and black pepper
- 4 tbsp salt
Ingredients for a fruity curry sauce
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Your curry sauce can be properly awakened and can be kept closed in the refrigerator for several months. You can also leave a bottle that has been started in the refrigerator for several weeks. Filled in portions into freezer bags and frozen, you can even enjoy your homemade sauce for a good year.
Do you need some variety in the cardboard bowl? How about these fantastic curry sauce variations?
Is there anything else coming up? - Side dishes for currywurst
In East Berlin, during the GDR era, currywurst was only served with a roll or a slice of toast. In the western part, thanks to the French influence, it was also allowed to have a portion of french fries. Nowadays the classic is: Currywurst, French fries, Mayo. Here are a few more suggestions for your next sausage parade:
Curry powder - gold in powder form
8 different curry powders from all over the world
Currywurst without curry? Uh ... unthinkable. The Indian spice mixture is not only the namesake of the German street food, but also one of its most important ingredients. But curry powder is not just curry powder. There are countless mixtures with different spices. Do you like it spicy? Mild and sweet? Strongly Spicy? There is a mix for every taste. So that you can keep track of the curry jungle, here are a few recommendations.
The The main ingredients of a curry mix are turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper and fenugreek. Some mixtures even consist of up to 50 different spices.
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