HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


German fusion recipe ideas

There is only one place on the Worldwide Web that can help me and it's here.

Folks, my girlfriend is German. Somehow, I have developed a reputation as a good home cook.

For the record, I think German food is OK. Kinda heavy, etc. Not my favorite cuisine.

I have been challenged to improve some classic German dishes. Kinda fusionize them if you please. Sauerbraten burritos? Eisbein sashimi?

Any GOOD ideas?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you don't already have a copy of The New German Cookbook by Jean Anderson and Hedy Wurz (HarperCollins, 1993), get one. Try the 'maultaschen' recipe on page 100. It's like a big raviolo (singular of ravioli). You can fill it with Asian stuff instead of the traditional stuff.

    I had this dish in Konstanz in 1996 when I was there on business. It was served in the cafeteria of the company that I was visiting. Oddly, the cafeteria food there was extraordinarily good. Not like the stuff available in most company cafeterias in the US.

    BTW, the literal translation of 'maultaschen' is 'mouth pockets.'

    1. What a great challenge. There was a v. long thread a couple weeks back about German food on the GT board - that might help with some inspiration. I'll try to find it for you and post the link. I think I'd be inclined generally to try to lighten up the dishes, rather than to do too much fusion - FWIW (smile). Some of my favorite dishes are wiener schnitzel and spatzle - you could try jazzing up the spatzle with herbs etc. And maybe do a variation on the typical huge slabs of wiener schnitzel by using veal or pork medallions, flattened, and breaded - I think that would give you a more delicate final product. I also love the beef consumme that one often finds on German menus - you could make it with tender tiny dumplings, or tiny balls of potato and carrot, some chopped chives. You could also try making savory strudel, or a dessert that's a variation on strudel. Starting with German recipes might be a good idea, and then you can think about substituting ingredients etc.

      Here's the link - lots of digressions, but still some good information -


      1. Here is a web that might give you some ideas, or inspiration:


        1. More on the schnitzel: bread with a mix of flour and curry spices. Make your own spice mix depending on what you want. Can be from an added flavor hint to quite spicy.

          2 Replies
            1. re: aurora50

              Never would have thought of that! Ha!

          1. Not fusion, I'm sort of thinking Swiss German, but how about doing things like a light leek gratin or soup served with sausages that you slice and plate, doling out about half of a typical meat serving to each. You know, the way sliced meats are served to you in a restaurant, less is often plenty. Serve a big salad, and an apple something side or dessert, unless that's a bit dull.

            Roesti, a bit of cheese melted on top, veg sides, salad. Skip the meat entirely.

            Not especially creative ideas, I grant you, but just thinking of ways to serve ingredients she is accustomed to with a slightly lighter touch.

            Could be Step One.

            Wanted to ask you what non-German foods/dishes she has especially enjoyed eating. That might provide a good lead.

            1. Great ideas all. Here's one I had (actually kinda stolen from McDonalds...shhh don't tell anyone). Do weinerschnitzel in the usual fashion. Cut the thing into strips and use to top either an Asian or Latin style salad.

              1. My favorite German dish is Jager Schnitzel, although, like most German foods, it strikes me as a bit bland. Pork or veal cutlet and a brown sauce with mushrooms. There's a restaurant in Fredericksburg, Texas that serves a Jalapeno Jager Schnitzel!!

                Yeah!!! That's what I'm talking about. German food, kicked up a few notches.


                1. The vast array of Aufschnitten ( cold cuts) would certainly work in a Vietnamese Banh Mi type of sandwich.

                  Along the lines of other suggestions for lightening the cuisine, I glanced thru a Swiss Cook book (not in English) focusing on lighter fare. Applying my weak German to Swiss and with the help of good photos I saw the following interesting things. Taking well flavored meat preps and serving them over bitter salad greens like frisee or arugula with just a little sauce as the dressing. Doing stuffed cabbage in "greener" types of leaves like savoy cabbage or chard or kale and serving over sauteed bed of the wrapper green. Treating vegetable dishes like sauerkraut or sweet and sweet and sour red kraut as the bed or foil for heartier meat preps like sauerbraten instead of carby dumplings.

                  Also their excellent charcuterie, cheeses, and herring, along with veggie preps like cucumber salad, pickled red beets, cucumber pickles, and accompanied by some hearty whole grain Euro style breads, fresh butter and mustard, can hold its own against any Italian antipasto platter. A great summer meal with friends on the patio.

                  The enormous variety of dumplings would also make a fine substitute for pasta or rice for any number of stir fries or stewy preps. Just make them small like mini meatballs, or with something like a potato-bread dumpling- herb it up and cut up small to absorb sauces.

                  Boiled beef dinner: take the broth and treat it like Vietnamese pho- rice noodles, bean sprouts, onion, etc. Slice the meat part up and serve with an international array of dipping sauces including creamy horseradish of course!
                  Have fun!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: torty

                    There's a place in Brooklyn that does a Polish banh mi with sausage, so I don't see why that couldn't be Germanicized.

                  2. I've thought that the Japanese style of serving breaded pork cutlet with curry sauce and rice is a good German fusion (tonkatsu kare raisu):


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: steinpilz

                      Katsu Kare is a better term, aka the right term, for a Google search.

                    2. Make schnitzel using panko -- much crunchier. I don't understand why people call German food "heavy." They don't use alot of cream or butter in their cooking. Typical American food is much heavier, IMO. Most German restaurant meals are served with a lovely mixed salad, and the Germans have a wide variety of fresh, local veggies available at their farmers' markets. If you're talking about their baked goods, however, I can see the "heaviness" thing.

                      1. I've been brainstorming a little. How's this as a whimsical amuse?

                        Cut potato into sushi-sized blocks.
                        Fry with crispy outside in a unflavored oil.
                        Put some conventional horseradish on the top.
                        Pat dry some wine/vinegar cured herring.
                        Place herring over potato block, nigiri style.
                        Serve (potato warm not hot, herring cold) with cold sour cream dipping sauce.

                        What say ye?

                        ETA: Blanch some green onion tops and use as the "nori"?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Gosh

                          Sounds good, I like pickled herring - use the pickled onions instead of pickled ginger. Wasabi-sour cream dipping sauce is pretty good BTW (would the herring actually work with soy sauce?).

                        2. Take a look at the menu items at this restaurant - it is very good food, and not your typical European fare. It might give you some ideas.


                          The spaetzle soaks up sauces really well, as it did in the Transylvania Style Pork filets I had.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: danhole


                            Do you think I could do a risotto type dish (milanese or something) but with spaetzle. I know I couldn't cook it a long time or it would become mush...I'd have to alter a risotto procedure. I would use classic Italian flavorings (Parmagiano, maybe the saffron, etc.) flavors not found in the German kitchen. Maybe some grilled shrimp or something for protein?

                            Thanks on the info about zweibelrostbraten! I think I could cut it up and use it as a taco filling. I might not smother the onions but do them crispy (which was the other description I had heard).

                            1. re: Gosh

                              Re: the spatzle - I think you'd really have to toss in the other ingredients at the last minute or, as you say, the spatzle would turn to mush. For other inspiration, you might want to check out the menu at Wallse - http://www.wallse.com/

                              1. re: MMRuth

                                After you cook the spaetzle you should toss it in browned butter. Believe me, this spaetzle was nowhere near mushy. It had a firm, almost crisp, texture to it. Makes me want to get my spaetzle maker out and give it a go! I may ask the chef for his recipe. If I get it I will share it.

                                1. re: danhole

                                  I definitely do the the tossing in brown butter - just was commenting that trying to cook it a la risotto would be a mistake, IMHO.

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    I had intended to brown them a little in butter...just like risotto. However, instead of cooking the spaetzle in ladlefuls of broth for 22 minutes, I was going to make a sauce of reduced broth, a little saffron, perhaps some cream, and maybe some cornstarch (to mimic the rice starch from the long cooking). I was going to sautee some wild mushrooms. Then, I planned to toss the spaetzle, mushrooms, some parmesan, and the sauce together so make it to a risotto-like "on the wave" consistency.

                                    1. re: Gosh

                                      I would lose the cornstarch and use reduced heavy cream, instead, to get a more risotto-ish consistency. Your idea sounds yummy.

                          2. There's a recipe in the NYT today for lamb schnitzel with a mint-horseradish pesto:


                            1. So far I've executed

                              "German sushi" - block of fried potato, herring, blanched scallion "nori," horseradish dipping sauce

                              Sauerbraten Won Ton - Filled with diced sauerbraten, served with a riff on Chinese sweet and sour sauce

                              "Spaetzle-sotto" - slightly toasted spaetzle in a sauce of reduced chicken stock and cream with wild mushrooms

                              All tasted fine but are not worth making except for the novelty of doing the German fusion.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Gosh

                                Hey - thanks for reporting back - was wondering how it your project was going. I actually want to try the lamb schnitzel recipe I posted above ...

                              2. How about Bratwurst Nachos? Thin slice and fry potatoes (make them crispy, like gaufrettes), crumble some cooked bratwurst over, a couple of chopped green onions, and cover with Emmenthaler. Run under the broiler. Serve with PBR.

                                1. We have a wonderful family ran German/American restaurant about 10 minutes from where I live. They make wonderful German dishes and in the cooler weather, I love to go there for dinner. One of my favorites are the Cheese Buttons. Even though I love them made the traditional way, perhaps you could do a lighter version or fusion and even drop them into a light broth for a starter? Sounds good to me!

                                  1. This might be a little late but I do make German food rather frequently with a few tweaks. My wienerschnitzel is breaded with 2 parts bread to 1 part parmesan cheese and seasoned with parsley, thyme and ocassionally sage. Schnitzel and Koteletten are often breaded in panko seasoned with chipotle powder, lemon rind, parsley, paprika and caraway. In the fall, a jaegerschnitzel with porcini cream sauce might be outstanding. I use turkey for Königsberger Klopse, though that's only a mildly American twist. I like melted fontina and gorgonzola with spaetzle. For Gulaschsuppe, I sometimes use harissa as part of the base and some cumin for a Middle-Eastern twist.