Ditch the take-out and make your own Tofu Katsu Curry at home! Enjoy the golden crispy tofu surrounded with fragrant and delicious Japanese-style curry sauce. A straight-forward and simple dish that's ready in 40 minutes!
This recipe is a vegan spin on the classic Japanese Katsu Curry, replacing the meat with tofu. I love serving these tofu cutlets in a bed of steaming rice with the creamy, spiced curry sauce poured on top! It’s a filling and flavorful meal that is perfect for lunch or dinner.
What is Katsu Curry?
The proper Japanese term for this dish is Katsukarē. Katsu means “cutlets” while karē is a Japanese version of curry. It is basically a dish that traditionally includes a meat cutlet (called tonkatsu) served with rice and Japanese curry. It is one of the most popular dishes in Japan, way up there with Ramen and Tempura!
Japanese curry is a bit different from the Indian curry that we know. This version was introduced by the British during the Meiji era. It is said to have been adapted to British tastes.
Thus, the curry powder used in Karē contains fewer spices compared to the original Indian curry. So it has a more mellow taste and is less spicy, but rich in umami flavor. It also has a thicker consistency and is mildly sweet.
Ingredient Notes and Substitute Ideas
- Tofu - You will need extra firm tofu for this recipe, otherwise it will break apart. I prefer to use vacuum-packed tofu because it doesn't have to be pressed and it's ready to go.
- Curry Powder: Don’t just pick the first curry powder you see on the aisle. Curry powders have different levels of spiciness. Choose from mild to hot depending on your preference.
- Rice - I prefer jasmine rice, but if you are looking for lighter options, you can also use quinoa or cauliflower rice.
What can I serve with Tofu Katsu Curry?
Along with the rice, this recipe goes terrific with a fresh green salad. To garnish, top with chopped spring onions, cilantro leaves, chopped radishes, or julienned carrots. It also pairs nicely with my Vegan Miso Soup.
Can I make it in advance?
Yes, you can! Or at least the curry sauce! You want your tofu to be crispy and it’s always better to serve those straight from the pan. Make your curry sauce 3 to 4 days ahead of time and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. You can reheat it on the stovetop once you are ready to serve. In case it thickens too much after refrigerating, add some water or broth.
Does it freeze well?
I wouldn't recommend freezing the tofu, but you can definitely freeze the curry sauce. Sometimes the coconut milk separates, but I haven't experienced an issue so far. Results can vary depending on the brand you use. I usually use the Native Forest or Sprouts brand.
More Tofu Recipes to Enjoy
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Tofu Katsu Curry
- 16 ounces extra firm tofu , vacuum-packed if possible (*see note)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup non-dairy milk , unsweetened
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (or ½ teaspoon garlic powder)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (*optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt , more to taste
- Fresh ground pepper , to taste
- Oil for frying (about 2-3 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or preferred cooking oil
- 1 medium onion , diced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (sub with frozen, jarred or paste)
- 3 cloves garlic , minced or crushed
- 1.5 tablespoons curry powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ cups vegetable broth , low sodium
- ½ cup coconut milk , full-fat (canned)
- 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce, low sodium
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup (sub with preferred sweetener)
- ½ teaspoon salt , more to taste
To Serve (optional)
- Rice (about 3 cups cooked)
- Green onion , sliced
- Cilantro , chopped
- Fresh salad
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add onion and sauté until translucent. About 2-3 minutes.
- Now add the garlic and ginger. Sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
- Add curry powder and turmeric powder. Sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the flour and combine. Cook for 30 seconds to remove a raw flour taste.
- Pour in the vegetable broth and whisk to combine well and eliminate lumps. Reduce the heat and add the coconut milk, tamari, maple syrup, and salt. Cook for a few minutes until the curry thickens a bit. If it's too thick, thin it out with a splash of broth or water. Taste and adjust flavor if needed.
- Transfer to a blender and blend on high until smooth. Set aside, but leave the top on to keep warm. Alternatively, you can transfer to a small pot, cover with a lid and place on stove over low heat. Wipe out the large pan to reuse for tofu.
- Cut the pressed tofu into 4-5 even slices, then prepare a breading station with three bowls big enough to fit the tofu. In the first bowl, add the flour. Then the second bowl, add the milk. In the final bowl, combine the bread crumbs with granulated garlic, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper.
- Place one slice of tofu in flour and coat on all sides. Now dunk in the milk, and finally into the bread crumbs to coat all sides. Press the slice gently to ensure it's coated well.
- Heat a frying pan on medium heat for a few minutes. When fully heated, add the oil and wait until it shimmers. Now add the breaded tofu to the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Flip with a sturdy spatula. Give it time to fully brown before flipping or it may stick.
- Transfer the tofu to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
- Slice the tofu diagonally and place it on a bed of rice. Pour the curry sauce over top or on the side. Garnish with spring onion and cilantro leaves. Serve with salad greens. Enjoy!
Useful Tools To make This Recipe
- Large Pan