Sunday, June 26, 2011

Berlin Currywurst - Street Sausage

Street food from Berlin is featured in the chintzy Chef's latest post. I am a sucker for sausage. If you liked my sidewalk vendor L.A. Street Hot Dog video and recipe (click here), then achtung to the Billig Koch's latest dish -- Berlin's most popular street corner fast food, Currywurst.

It's simply a grilled, or fried, German sausage (usually bratwurst) that is sliced, then drenched in an amped-up ketchup and curry sauce, with bread (or Belgian fries) on the side. The sausage is sliced and eaten with toothpicks instead of a fork -- this is curbside dining at its most primitive.

Currywurst came about after WWII, at a street stand in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg. An enterprising fraulein, Herta Heuwer, combined the American infantry's love of ketchup with the British soldiers' curry fixation and added German bratwurst to create a dish that became an instant hit with the local populace as well. Click here for a look at some well-known Berlin Currywurst spots, and here for more historic details.

I'd never heard of this treat until five months ago, when Cuirrywurst came to Silverlake. During my nighttime outings photographing L.A.'s restaurant facades, I ventured into Berlin Currywurst on Sunset Boulevard. It's a sleek but simple eatery, all glass window walls and a few outside tables. And the menu is just Currywurst, bread and Belgian fries.

You do get to choose from several bratwursts for $5.89 each -- like Bockwurst (veal and pork), Rindswurst (beef), Geflugelbratwurst (chicken) and, this being Silverlake, Tofu-Bratwurst or Tofu-Kielbasa. I tried the Paprikawurst, which is spiced and garlic flavored. The sausages are made locally and have a rougher texture than store bought wieners. You can read their complete menu online here.

Earlier this week I noticed my local 99c only Store is stocking an interesting variety of sausages made by Hoffy, including Louisiana Hot Links, Chorizo and Spicy. You get four large hot dog sized links per package. A good deal -- not bratwurst, but not bad. Of course you can use your favorite German deli sausage. The unique part of this recipe is the Curry Sauce.

There are many variations, of course. In Berlin you can buy bottles of the stuff, and every street stall has its own curry sauce blend. I 'm keeping it simple and old school -- with the dollar store ingredients of ketchup, Worchestershire sauce and ground cumin. Curry powder is harder to find, but ground cumin is 80% there. And, I also have a great side recipe of Belgian Fries here.

Der Neunundneunzig Cent Koch loves street food, and my version of Currywurst is beste Sachen -- Guten Appetit! But beware, this recipe is addicting, I've made it three times this week!

Click on any italicized German word to see translation.

Ingredients (one serving)
1 sausage link - bratwurst or your favorite sausage.
1/4 cup of ketchup
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin, or curry powder - teaspoon for sauce and 1/2 tsp. for serving plate.
1 teaspoon oil for sausage frying.
Salt & pepper to taste - for sauce.
A dash of Cayenne pepper to sauce - optional
Serve with Bread or Belgian Fries - optional

Add a teaspoon of oil to a heating pan, and simply fry sausage link to desired doneness. Since it's summer you can cook it on a BBQ grill, too.

In another small pot add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and a teaspoon of ground cumin (or curry powder). Salt and pepper to taste - a dash of Cayenne pepper is optional. Mix well and heat through. You can also mix all sauce ingredients, then heat in the microwave.

Remove sausage and slice it on a plate. Pour heated sauce over sausage; and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin over plated Currywurst.

Get out the toothpicks, pour a stein of Pilsner, and serve with bread or Belgian Fries -- to soak up the deliciously pungent sauce.

1 comment:

Chris Buzzard said...

I made this dish after reading your nocturnes post. Talk about foolproof. Something about this reminds me of Filipino Style Spaghetti . I wonder what this would taste like with banana ketchup...

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