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What Is Currywurst?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 17, 2024
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Currywurst is a specific dish made with German pork sausage or wurst. This unique dish has a colorful history, and is often enjoyed in Europe as street food. It combines some classically German ingredients with others from South Asia or India.

In the currywurst dish, the curry ingredients do not actually go into the sausage. Cooks may use different traditional varieties of German wurst, usually a pork sausage, but sometimes made up of beef or other ingredients. The curry powder or spices, along with other ingredients, will be placed on top of the sausage.

Many presentations of this dish have the sausage served cut up in bite-size pieces in a paper wrapper. Other varieties will be served whole on a plate. Currywurst may also be served with various side dishes. Chopped onions may be included in this dish as well.

Besides being enjoyed as street food, currywurst may also be served in diners or restaurants. Cooking the dish involves heating the sausage, observing all applicable food safety rules if the sausage is not pre-cooked, and adding it to a dish or container along with the extra ingredients. The cook must also make the peculiar sauce that covers the sausage.

The curry sauce that goes on the currywurst and gives the dish its essential character is said to have been thought up by a woman named Herta Heuwer in the 1940s. According to the common history of the dish, Heuwer experimented with ingredients obtained from British soldiers to make a product that she sold from her street food kiosk in Berlin. The popularity of the dish exploded, and today, it is popular all over Germany and beyond.

The sauce that makes currywurst is made up of ketchup and curry powder. Some recipes also add other ingredients like Worcestershire sauce or garlic. The two essential elements of the dish create a notably rich flavor when combined. Because of the flavor profile, portability, and other features of the dish, the currywurst has been elevated to prominence in world cuisine. The dish even has its own museum and an international following. On web sites devoted to the dish’s popularity, international visitors express their own fondness for its flavors. The dish is just one representation of how South Asian flavors are making their way into food cultures throughout the world.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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