It hasn’t quite been a month yet since our adventures in Hamburg. Alas, here I am already reminiscing and feeling so nostalgic about the place that I felt a sudden urge on Friday to recreate our favourite German dish – currywurst. We had the pleasure of trying currywurst twice in the one weekend and in delightfully contrasting ways. Once on our first night in takeaway form, when we arrived very late and completely exhausted at our airbnb and thought we’d chance it with the German version of JustEat. Again on our last day, at a big touristy restaurant connected to a brewery in New Town. Both were delicious and, arguably, each as authentic as the other.
What I wanted to achieve with this meal was a carbon copy of either one or the other. I’d have been happy with even the takeaway version even if just to truly recreate the taste of our holiday. I had little success with this, despite my best efforts, but will continue to plough on with my experimentations every now and then so do expect a revisit of this in months to come. This is an only very slightly altered version of a recipe I found on the BBC Good Food community contributions bit. I toned down the sugar because I feel like a half cup is just excessive and it was still on the sweeter side for me, and I used chilli powder as well as paprika because I didn’t have any hot paprika lying around.
The recipe makes a lovely, spicy, sweet ketchup that is definitely reminiscent of the sauce served on our sausages in Germany, but not quite there. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if the tomato element needs to be toned down a lot and the curry powder upped big time for it to come closer – as I said, experiments will continue.
Aside from the sauce which is, obviously, the most important component of currywurst.. we should probably talk about how I’ve managed to make it not only vegetarian but vegan too. It’s all down to Tom, who’s really incredibly good at finding things. If I mention in passing that I’m looking for some thing or another, he’ll often turn up with it a week later having been looking for it ever since. On this occasion, I needed vegetarian bratwurst-ish-type-things because I wanted to make currywurst without sacrificing on my new vow to vegetarianism and lo, he appears with very convincing tofu frankfurters.
When you consider the fact that those boil in a pan hot dogs very rarely taste like actual proper meat, it becomes easier to accept the fact that the flavour and texture might be relatively easy to recreate with tofu – and it really is. Smothered in that curried ketchup, I would have been quite convinced that they were your standard hot doggy type sausages and not given them a second thought. Highly, highly recommend. The brand is Taifun, and Tom found them for £3.50 in Waitrose.
Serves 2 (with plenty of leftover curried ketchup for sandwiches)
4 tofu wieners (you’ll find some in Waitrose)
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
1 heaped tsp paprika
1 heaped tsp chilli powder
1 400g can whole plum tomatoes
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- Heat 2 tbsps cooking oil (sunflower or vegetable or whatever you have to hand) in a large pan and cook the onions on medium/low until soft, 10 minutes or so should do it.
- Add the spices and cook for another minute (no longer, spices have an evil tendency to burn after not too long)
- Add the tomatoes and squash gently with a wooden spoon, then add the sugar, vinegar and salt.
- Give it all a good stir, bring to the boil then bring to a low simmer for about 25 minutes.
- Towards the last few minutes of cooking time, heat up your wieners in boiling water for 3-4 minutes.
- When the sauce has reduced, blend gently with a stick blender to achieve a smoother more ketchuppy consistency.
- Serve with chips – or whatever else takes your fancy.