Mrs Bergman’s Danish Curry Herring

Curry herring is a cherished staple on any Danish Christmas lunch table. Kalle Bergman shares Mrs Bergman’s praise winning recipe.
By Kalle Bergman

My wife is an excellent cook. She possesses that all important instinctive understanding of flavors and combinations you cannot learn, so the few times she manages to get me out of the kitchen, I’m always in for a treat. She has plenty of different dishes on her menu, and a few of them are dishes that I’m actually not allowed to even try to make myself. They’re her dishes. Period.

One of the things she would never dream of letting me prepare, is the annual Danish Christmas Curry Herring. It’s her signature dish. Traditionally eaten at Christmas lunches across Denmark all Christmas days except Christmas Eve (which is the big day in Scandinavian Christmas celebrations), it is based on a classic pickled herring and then spiced up with apples, cornichons and curry – for a smooth exotic taste where the orient meets the North. Delicious!

Mrs Bergman's Danish Curry Herring
 
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The classic Danish curry herring, courtesy of Mrs Bergman herself.
Author:
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
For the pickled herring
  • 2 Fresh herrings
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 1 Red onion, sliced
  • 1⅓ Cups of vinegar
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 2 Bayleaves
  • 3 Cloves
  • 2 Tablespoon of all spice peppercorns, crushed
For the curry seasoning
  • 3 Tablespoons of curry powder
  • 1 Red apple, finely diced
  • A handful of cornichons, chopped
  • A handful of small pickled onions, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon of mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon of sour cream
  • A bunch of chives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
Instructions
For the pickled herring
  1. Soak the herrings overnight in cold water. Fillet them by removing bones and skin. Rinse and cut into 1 inch slices. In a glass jar, place the herring in layers with onion and spices.
  2. Mix vinegar and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the herring, and make sure that all the fish pieces are covered. Close with a lid and leave in the refridgerator for 48 hours.
For the curry seasoning
  1. Slowly mix all the ingredients with the pickled herring.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Leave in the fridge over night.

 

Kalle Bergman

Kalle Bergman

Kalle Bergman is a food writer and media entrepreneur who is the founder of Honest Cooking. As a food writer, his writing has been regularly featured in publications like Gourmet, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post and Serious Eats. He is obsessed with simple food, more often than not from his native Scandinavia.

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4 Comments
  1. Hi,
    I’m going to make your Karry sild for my Julefrokost on Christmas Day… Can’t wait to introduce friends to the cuisine of what was my adopted country for six years (along with flaeskesteg,rødkål, risalamande…)! How far in advance can I make these?
    I suppose they will keep for a week, but wanted to check what your experience had been with timing and storage!

    1. Dear Dana,

      As you are adding fresh dairy to the mix, I wouldn’t complete the final stage (the curry part) more than a couple of days in advance max. The pickled herring itself will keep for a week easily.

  2. Would have been useful for he recipe to include “drain the herrings from the vinegar before adding to the curry sauce!

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