For some people the word “currywurst” has an ominous tinge. There’s a worry you’re about to put something weird in your mouth, taking a bite from the German abyss from whence there’s no return.

But it’s not so, dear reader, for currywurst is as familiar as the ballpark.  You might liken it to hot dogs and ketchup with a hit of curry powder, though some people say it’s officially a ketchup sauce, curry and brown gravy over bratwurst, or stewed tomatoes, onions and curry powder. Sausage with casing or no casing? And some think it’s the side of french fries covered in mayonnaise that really makes the snack official.

I’m no expert on the stuff. I’ve never eaten it from a corner imbiss in Berlin or visited the plaque in Charlottenburg honoring currywurst creator Herta Heuwer, who mashed up British and German culture in the aftermath of World War II to the delight of millions. (Dig the Deutsches Currywurst Museum, which opened in 2009.)

But I love the combination of tomato acid and curry powder so goddam much.  I’ve had great currywurst and not-great currywurst and fabulous currywurst, the last courtesy of the Margarita at Pine Creek, but I’ve been glad to try it all.

It’s the Margarita’s recipe I tried to recreate the other night (pictured), though I didn’t blend the sauce and definitely added a shocking amount of curry powder. For spice-heads, substitute Madras curry and hot paprika for the regular stuff, or throw in a little cayenne powder.

Combine with grilled onions and a pretzel roll from Wimberger’s Old World Bakery and let the addiction rage.

Recipe courtesy of chef Cathy Werle:

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp. canola oil

2 Tbsp. Madras curry powder

1 Tbsp. hot paprika

2 cups canned fire roasted tomatoes

1⁄2 cup sugar

1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar

Salt to taste

Sauté onion in a little oil (no butter) and cook until soft, 8–10 minutes. Add curry powder and paprika; toast for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, sugar and vinegar; stir to combine. Season, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened (about 25 minutes). Purée sauce in a blender or food processor until desired smoothness.

[Image: Bryce Crawford]