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Tofu Katsu Curry
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Tofu Katsu Curry

Vegan Tofu Katsu Curry, a simple, but very tasty dish. Tofu is coated in panko breadcrumbs then fried until crispy. Served with a tasty homemade Japanese curry sauce, sticky rice and some veggies. Perfect vegan comfort food.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Japanese
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Calories 834kcal

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 1 tbsp oil I used sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots peeled and sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic put through a garlic press or finely grated
  • 2 level tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 level tbsp plain flour
  • 1 heaped tbsp mild curry powder
  • 1 level tsp turmeric
  • 300 ml (1 + ⅓ cup) of vegetable stock made with 1 teaspoon of vegan vegetable bouillon and 300ml of freshly boiled water.
  • 1 400ml (1 x 13.6oz) can of coconut milk minus 4 or 5 tablespoons
  • ½ tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp maple syrup add more if you feel it needs it
  • ¼ tsp salt more if needed
  • ¼ tsp pepper

For the tofu

  • 1 x 450g (1 x 15.5oz) pack of extra firm tofu cut into slices
  • 4 - 5 tbsp coconut milk reserved from the 400ml can
  • 50 g (⅓ cup) of plain flour
  • 100 g ( 1 cup) panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ tsp salt I use sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • oil for frying I recommend using a lightly flavoured oil to fry the breaded tofu.

For Serving

  • Japanese rice, basmati rice or brown rice. I have served this with quinoa too.
  • Raw vegetables, I added sliced radish and spring onions.

Instructions

Drain the tofu

  • Slice the tofu into even slices. Place the tofu slices on a baking tray double lined with kitchen paper.
    Place another double layer of kitchen paper on the tofu. Place another baking tray on top of the tofu then place 4 cans of beans or a heavy saucepan on top.
    Leave to drain for 20 to 30 minutes.

Make the curry sauce

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large saute pan.
    Add the chopped onion along with a small pinch of salt and cook for about 5 minutes.
    Now add the sliced carrots and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the onions are soft and the carrots are tender.
    Next, add the minced garlic and 2 level tablespoons of finely grated ginger. Stir everything together and cook until the garlic and ginger release their aromas. This should take no longer than a minute or two.
    Stir in 1 heaped tablespoon of the mild curry powder and 1 teaspoon of turmeric. Once the spices are warmed through stir in a tablespoon of plain flour.
    Now, start adding the stock. Slowly pour in the stock, stirring all the time. You should now have a thick sauce.
    Reserve 4 or 5 tablespoons of coconut milk and set aside.
    Pour in the remaining coconut milk into the sauce. Do this slowly, stirring all the time.
    Stir in ½ a tablespoon of soy sauce, and one teaspoon of maple syrup.
    Season the sauce and leave to simmer on the lowest heat possible for about 20 minutes. Make sure to stir often to prevent burning.
    When you are ready to serve, blend the sauce in a food blender until smooth.

Make the tofu katsu

  • Take 3 bowls, add 50 g (⅓ cup) of plain flour to one, season the flour well with salt and black pepper.
    In another bowl add the reserved coconut milk.
    In the last bowl add 100g (1 cup) of panko breadcrumbs.
    Dip a slice of tofu into the flour, then into the coconut milk and finally into the panko breadcrumbs. Make sure the tofu is completely coated with each dip.
    Continue until all the tofu is coated.
    Heat some oil in a frying pan and cook each slice of the coated tofu until they are golden brown. I do this in batches so as to not overcrowd the pan.
    Transfer the cooked tofu onto a baking tray in a warm oven.
    Keep the tofu warm until you are ready to serve.

Serve

  • Serve the katsu tofu with the blended curry sauce, a portion of Japanese rice, you could use brown rice or basmati rice too. Finish the dish with some sliced raw veggies, I used radish and spring onion and a garnish of fresh coriander.

Notes

  • Tofu - Extra-firm tofu is best for this recipe. You will find it in all the big supermarkets now. I use the extra-large pack of tofu.
  • Curry Powder  - If you're not familiar with curry powder, it is a blend of spice similar to garam masala. I wouldn't substitute this powder for garam masala though it is different. You will find this in the spice section of your supermarket. The brand I use is Sharwoods, just in case you are looking online for it.  I have made this curry sauce with mild or medium curry powder and the mild powder wins every single time. 
  • Stock - I make my stock using a level teaspoon of vegan vegetable billion and 300 ml of freshly boiled water.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs - These breadcrumbs are Japanese, but are widely available in bigger supermarkets. They are crispier than regular breadcrumbs and perfect for making katsu.
  • Coconut Milk - Full fat milk really is best here, but you can use low-fat coconut milk if you want.
  • Freezing - You will need to freeze the sauce and the tofu separately. Freeze the coated tofu before cooking. To freeze the tofu, place it on a tray then place the tray in the freezer. After an hour or two transfer the tofu to a suitable freezer container. Defrost the tofu in the fridge overnight then cook on the hob. To freeze the sauce, leave the sauce to cool then transfer to suitable containers. You can freeze individual portions if you wish. Defrost the sauce overnight in the fridge then reheat on the hob or in the microwave. Both the sauce and the tofu will keep in the freezer for up to two months.
  • Alternatives to tofu - If you don't like/can't eat tofu you could use thick slices of aubergine/eggplant instead. Or you can use your favourite breaded vegan cutlet. Just cook the vegan cutlet according to the pack instructions and serve with the sauce.
  • Recipe inspiration - Curry sauce roughly adapted from this recipe by Cassie Best.
  • Nutritional Information  - is calculated using an online nutrition tool. It is approximate and does not include rice.
  • Weights and measurements - For US readers, I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy, I recommend weighing all ingredients if possible for best results.

Nutrition

Calories: 834kcal | Carbohydrates: 61.6g | Protein: 27.3g | Fat: 47.7g | Saturated Fat: 24.8g | Sodium: 629mg | Potassium: 580mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 7.3g | Calcium: 174mg | Iron: 3mg