Hot chips might be eaten all over the world, but don’t let that fool you into thinking we’re all one big, oil-soaked family: every culture has their own unique way of serving them. The Canadians add cheese and gravy. The British add curry. We usually just whack on some tomato sauce.
The Germans elevate the whole thing by adding fried bratwurst sausage, curry ketchup and – to really hammer home the point – sprinkled curry powder. It’s known as currywurst in the fatherland, and now Brian Edwards, kitchen owner of Melbourne’s The Tote and onetime tour cook for Bon Jovi, shows us how to make it at home.
When you're up late, at some point it's not another beer you need, but some serious food. In Berlin, more often than not you’ll find yourself directed towards “the greatest currywurst in town” – a mess of fries, chunks of bratwurst sausage, ketchup and curry powder.
I don’t know if my palate wasn’t refined enough when I was there or if I’d had one too many drinks, but currywurst always seemed to taste the same to me. It was perfect for the job at hand, though: greasy, big spice, crunch, fat, belch, gross/yum.
To recreate this at home is pretty easy, and almost fun – especially when you’re making your own hand-cut chips. If you can use fresh potatoes, they’ll taste all the better than the pre-prepared frozen stuff from the supermarket. If you do have some old spuds lying around that are sprouting, don’t worry – they’re still fine to eat, just remove the sprouts. (But any potatoes with green blemishes should be avoided.)
I very rarely peel potatoes anymore; this is where the bulk of the nutrients are, and I think most people are happy with a little texture in their mash.
5 large potatoes (Bintje, Désirée, Dutch Cream, Russet – anything starchy will do nicely)
1L cottonseed oil (can be re-used)
4 bratwurst sausages
For the sauce
2 large red or yellow onions, chopped very finely
2 x 400g tinned tomatoes
1 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon paprika powder
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon oil
For the chips
Cut your potatoes into chip-like shapes, rub a couple of tablespoons of salt into them and soak with warm water for about an hour. Wash and pat dry. You’ll notice the once proud, erect potato chip has become a little… limp. Don’t worry, this is meant to happen.
Set your deep fry— just kidding; no one has a deep fryer in their home kitchen. A 5-litre thick-bottomed pot and a deep fryer thermometer, which you can pick up for about $10, will be more than enough.
Heat your oil to 125 Celsius and add the potatoes. Fry for about 4 minutes and drain. The colour of the potatoes shouldn’t have changed much, though they should be a little more translucent.
Now heat up your oil to 180 Celsius and fry the drained potatoes again for 1-2 minutes, depending on the size, until they are pale gold. Drain, and fry again. It's best to save the final fry stage until the last minute so they are fresh and crisp.
For the rest
Combine your spices and sauces together in a bowl. Whisk and transfer to a squeeze bottle.
Slice your bratwurst and sear in a pan to colour.
Fry the chips for the final time – approximately 3-4 minutes, or until they look golden brown. Toss in a bowl with salt.
Place chips on plate, sprinkle with curry powder, bratwurst and curry ketchup. I also like to add a little aioli and a pickled chilli or two for good measure. This is one dish where messier is often yummier.
Photography and styling by Jasmine Fisher.