Here's Why Chitra Agrawal's Whole Foods Curry Ketchup Stands Apart

Currywurst is an iconic German food consisting of German sausages covered in ketchup and curry powder, typically served alongside fries with a mayo dip. A woman named Herta Heuwer is credited with making the first curry ketchup, which she called "chillup" (via Meats and Sausages). According to NPR, the dish emerged in Berlin in 1949 and reflected a new "post-war hunger, resourcefulness, and openness to new flavors." Once just a simple and filling meal, the dish quickly rose in popularity and remains a street food mainstay across Germany and beyond.

Most curry ketchup recipes simply combine ketchup, curry powder, and seasonings to taste while some make the addition of Worcestershire sauce. There are several bottled curry ketchups available to purchase, but Chitra Agrawal's Brooklyn Delhi Curry Ketchup is something special. Agrawal wanted to create a well-balanced product that could be smothered on anything from parathas to grilled cheese to hot dogs without overwhelming the taste. The savory condiment she ended up developing is definitely worth getting your hands on, and you can find it at Whole Foods, a number of smaller retailers, and several online stores.

The Indian approach to this curry ketchup makes it a knockout

Brooklyn Delhi founder Chitra Agrawal was inspired to make achaars, or Indian pickles, using ingredients she had available to her in the United States. Masterclass notes that achaars are made with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and spices. They are salted, preserved in oil, and almost never use vinegar, which yields a very different product than what most Westerners would expect from a pickle. The punchy, complex condiment is typically used in small amounts to amp up the flavor of a dish.

Agrawal's award-winning Brooklyn Delhi Tomato Achaar was what inspired her new Brooklyn Delhi Curry Ketchup. The ketchup contains the usual suspects of tomato paste, brown sugar, and vinegar, but it also has tamarind, garlic, and spices. The exact spices used may not be immediately obvious to the taster, as there are an infinite number of ways to create a curry flavor. According to Masterclass, "British colonists developed curry powder as a mass-produced way to mimic the complex flavors found in South Indian sauces and stews." There are now various pre-mixed blends based on the curry flavors common in countries like Japan and Jamaica. Most Indian curry powders include turmeric, chilies, and a variety of warm spices like coriander and cumin, but can include dozens of other variations.

Whatever spice blend Agrawal is using, it works — and according to the ingredient list, it does include turmeric, though no other specifics are revealed. Either way, this sweet, spicy, tangy, and aromatic dipping sauce is definitely the star of the Whole Foods condiment aisle.