Food Find: Curry Ketchup From Germany

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When The Pharmacy opened a couple of years ago, my husband and I wanted to wait until the hubbub died down a little and get some recommendations before going out there ourselves. The hubbub never really did die down, but we did get some great tips: Go early or go late, expect to wait, and get the tater tots with curry ketchup.

You don’t have to tell me to get tater tots, but I was thankful to get the tip for the ketchup. I liked it so much, that I packed up my little container and brought it home to re-create it. No luck; though I have both red and yellow curry powders, I couldn’t get the same flavor at home. I may have lacked some smoky flavoring; I’m not sure, but it just wasn’t right.

So I was delighted to find Burkhardt Curry Ketchup in the international foods section at Publix. It’s not quite as good as The Pharmacy’s ketchup, but it’s much better than my own. It’s also authentic; it’s imported directly from Germany.

While curry ketchup may not sound very German, it actually is. Its popularity there can be traced back to Herta Heuwer, a German woman who in 1949 combined Worcestershire sauce, curry powder and ketchup —which she got from British soldiers — with other spices to create a curry ketchup she later named Chillup. She poured the sauce over pork sausages to create the beloved German street food popularly known as currywurst. It’s also a popular topping for frites.

Luckily for me as a vegetarian, the Burkhardt ketchup includes no anchovy-containing Worcestershire sauce (it's vegan, actually). At four bucks and change, it’s a bit pricey as ketchups go, but it’s delicious and a great way to add a little kick to burgers and fries. I particularly like to put it on the Vegetable Masala Burgers from Trader Joe’s.

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