Berlin Currywurst

Berlin Currywurst

This week’s recipe of Berlin Currywurst is, for me, a lovely example of delicious historical irony.

Let me explain. As some readers already know, I’m a teacher. History teacher to be precise, who happens to teach a lot of German history. Germany is a great country, and one which I really love to visit. I also love German (and Austrian) food, with its slow braising, sausages and brilliant baking. It is the first place I tried currywurst, from a market stall in Wittenbergplatz. Sure my communication with the stall owner was greatly inhibited by my weak knowledge of the German language, but it was delicious. As, it must be said, are the soft pretzels.

Anyway, most recently I took a bunch of students to Berlin. I’ve always been somewhat jealous of the opportunities students in Europe have for travelling, and Berlin is a perfect example. If you have never visited, do so now. It is a great city, and frankly quite cheap as far as capital cities go. It is loaded with history, much of the last century quite violent. It is a story of continual boom and bust.

An overnight trip with students is always stressful, but my students (and my staff members) were brilliant. The trip itself was very emotional, and sparked a debate within my students. One student in particular queried their puzzlement at the 1930s. ‘Couldn’t people see what they were getting by supporting the Nazis?’

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As a teacher, you love this, because it means students are questioning and thinking for themselves. The question itself was a fair question, that historians continue to debate. You can understand the student’s thought process, as Hitler espoused radical views about minorities, rival politicians and the changes taking place in society. The channelling of the hate to target groups of people, based on people’s belief that they were somehow cheated and disadvantaged. The anger of social change they didn’t like. The anger at politicians, who they blamed for their ills. Hitler came to power by latching on to this discontentment, and presenting himself as a ‘superman’ type of figure who alone could solve these ‘problems’ and return Germany to glory. As my students debated; it was scary that such hate attracted such support. You can read more about the history of the time here.

So then, why do I consider Berlin Currywurst an excellent symbol of historical irony? Because it is the antithesis of 1930’s Germany, and illustrates everything positive since 1989, served on a plate. You have a traditional grilled German bratwurst(always delicious) and a great ketchup based sauce (hello American Heinz!). Yet, it’s given a curry twist with some curry powder on top. The mixing of old traditions with the new has created a dish that is, when homemade or bought in a market, delicious. Together they are delicious food, and also something that would never have been tolerated in the currywurst

Right, History lesson over. In all seriousness, Berlin currywurst is really good. However, should you go to Germany and decide to try it, I must implore you to only buy it from markets. Do not buy from the chain shops selling it, it just isn’t as good!

RoughEats Pairings


A great German Pilsner is called for, obviously.


Umm, oompah music? Well, maybe not. Instead, how about 99 Luftballons!!

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Berlin Currywurst

Berlin Currywurst
  • 4-6 Bratwursts
  • ½ cup of Tomato Ketchup
  • 4 – 5 teaspoons of Mild Curry Powder
  • 2 teaspoons of Hot Smoked Paprika
  • ½ a shallot finely diced
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoons of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic granules
  • 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of Chicken stock
  1. Put a bit of oil in a pan, and sauté the shallot. Add the curry and garlic powder, and stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine. Let it simmer on the stow for 5 - 10 minutes to meld flavours. If need be add a bit of water.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the bratwursts, ensuring that you pan fry them or grill them to crisp up the skin.
  3. Serve warm over sliced bratwurst, fries or a roll on the side would be good too. Dust with a bit of curry powder.

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  • There’s a place in Vancouver that serves this type of Currywurst and I’m so happy I came across your recipe for it! Now I can make it at home. I love the simplicity of ingredients and ease of making it. I’ve pinned it so I can make it soon!

  • Hi Matt, live the story of your trip and students. Especially live the part about thinking for themselves, a valuable tool this day and age As for the curry wurst. Love the combination of spices in the ketchup aND a really good bratwurst speaks for itself, the combination to me would be delicious as curry is one of my favorite deuces to use.
    Happy cooking!

  • Sounds like you and your students had a great trip Matt. My husband Tom and I visited Germany, Austria and Switzerland before our boys were born and I would LOVE to go back. I loved everything about all three countries. We enjoyed some of the best food we’ve ever tasted!! Tom and I both love sausages and the curry in this recipe sounds like something we would both enjoy. I am Hungarian, so I also like to use lots of paprika in recipes. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • I love those countries as well! I’m actually headed back there is a few weeks! Ah, I have like three-four different kinds of paprika in my cupboard. Love the stuff!

  • So I think I had kinda deduced that you were a teacher, but I didn’t realize you taught history! How fun is that?? (I’m sure you know I used to teach Latin…and, man, do I really miss being in the classroom!) I love the history and irony behind this dish. It’s really quite fun when different cuisines start to mingle together. Oh, and I totally support the street food mantra! Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten has come from street vendors. Laura and I were talking about planning a trip to Germany sometime…so I’ll be sure to reach out to you for tips before we start planning! Oh, and I’ll be singing 99 luftballons for the rest of the day now. Thanks for that one!

    • Thanks David. Definitely go to Germany, it is a great country. Austria too is brilliant (I probably like Austria more than Germany!).

  • Great writing and post here Matt and I especially liked that students point with Hitler. Reminds me of someone I know who hopefully we not see the dream he has tomorrow happen. Ever.
    But I digress… soft pretzels aside, I’m all about these and that curry twist must be sensational. Thanks for the tip!

  • That’s nice, Matt! Although I’ve never been a teacher/professor like you or David, history was my major at the University (with specialization in archives). Unfortunately, history of the xx century wasn’t given enough, but I do remember one little course (there were just 16 or so hours) of the Nazism in Spain and Germany (mostly it covered the 1920th). The professor was amazing, and the course was fascinating. It’s interesting how one of the most (if not the most) gruesome eras in modern history could be so captivating at the same time. Ok, back to good stuff. I’ve never been to Germany, and I’m not that familiar with its cuisine, but this currywurst looks and sounds great. I would never though of curry in the Germany cuisine – interesting too!

    • Thanks Ben, I fully agree with you. History was my major too (OK, thats probably not that surprising), but I also had shockingly little 20th century content.

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