A very Danish Christmas recipe: karrysild

A very Danish Christmas recipe: karrysild

I was recently asked to contribute to a round-up post about Danish Christmas food by Erin from Oregon Girl Around the World, alongside five other expat bloggers based in Copenhagen. When I joined the round-up, a couple of classics, like risalamande and æbleskiver, had already been “taken”. So I chose a little more controversial menu item, which I totally love: karrysild – curried herring.

When it comes to Danish Christmas food, herring is somewhat inevitable. No classic Danish “julefrokost” (Christmas lunch) would be complete without different types of “sild” (herring) – you’ll find it pickled with Christmas-y spices, fried, and served in creamy sauces.

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Among Danes and expats alike, opinions are divided: some despise herring, while others, me included, absolutely love it and look forward to the couple of times a year we get to enjoy it. My personal favorite is “karrysild”, pickled herring in a creamy curry sauce, served on a slice of rye bread and often topped with an egg.

English recipe for Danish curried herring - karrysild

I quickly decided I wouldn’t just write about karrysild, but I’d also share a recipe, because I don’t want folks buying karrysild by the glass. Now, I could have googled myself to a recipe (trust me, there’s loads and loads out there), but instead, I opted to ask my boyfriend’s grandma for her family recipe, and she graciously gave it to me and allowed me to share it on the blog.

This is a Danish original, and it’s delicious, so you should definitely give it a try!

English recipe for Danish curried herring - karrysild

Classic Danish karrysild

1 glass pickled herring (3 fillets)

150g good mayonnaise

200g Crème fraiche

1 red onion, cubed

2 small red apples, cubed

1 tbsp curry powder

2 tbsp chives, chopped

1 tbsp dill, chopped

1 tsp sugar

Salt and pepper, to taste

English recipe for Danish curried herring - karrysild

Drain the herring and cut into bite-size chunks. Blend mayonnaise, crème fraiche, curry powder and spices. Add apples, onions, dill, and chives and mix well. Add the herring and mix to coat. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Serve on a slice of rye bread, topped with fresh apples, onions, watercress, and a soft-boiled egg, if you like.

The herring will last a couple of days in the fridge.

English recipe for Danish curried herring - karrysild

Don’t forget the snaps – no julefrokost without snaps!

Also, how cute are these vintage Christmas plates from Royal Copenhagen? They’re collectibles, originally intended to be hung on the wall, but I find them way too cute to not serve any food on them!

English recipe for Danish curried herring - karrysild

English recipe for Danish curried herring - karrysild

What’s your take on karrysild, or herring more generally? Do you love it or hate it? And have you tried making your own? Tell me in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “A very Danish Christmas recipe: karrysild”

  • Do Danes really use the Christmas Plates to serve food?

    We have a collection of the plates going way back from my Grandmothers but I’ve only ever known them to hang on the walls.

    • Hi Thomas, I guess they’re mostly decorative but I’ve also seen smaller dishes (like starters or desserts) serves on the Christmas plates. I just thought they’d give a nice contrast to the yellow of the karrysild ;)

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