If you’re looking for a slightly different, but absolutely delectable meat-free burger, you must try this Vegan Japanese Burger!
So, you’re probably wondering what a Japanese burger is! Hamburgers are popular in Japan, but aren’t usually served like they are in the West! They usually come with a sauce, which tastes like a combination of soy sauce, ketchup, brown sauce and sugar, and eaten with rice.
This burger was inspired by Mos Burger, a popular fast-food chain in Japan. I used to really love their signature burger, mostly because of the amazingly flavourful ragu-like meat sauce coating the patty. I really wanted to recreate a healthier, meat-free version at home, so I got to work.
I really wasn’t keen on using beans for the burger patty itself as I’ve seen so many recipes for bean burgers out there. My next thought was tofu, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to successfully make a tofu burger without eggs. Luckily, however, I discovered that with the help of a food processor or blender, tofu transforms into a sticky paste and therefore becomes really easy to form into little patties! It’s necessary to use a hard, firm tofu for this, such as this Cauldron Original Tofu, which you can buy in most supermarkets.
Another realisation was that the secret to super soft tofu burgers is breadcrumbs! I found better results having broken up pieces of bread into little breadcrumbs rather than use shop-bought breadcrumbs. This method is also much cheaper, and a great way to get rid of stale bread too.
I’m so pleased with how the texture of these tofu burgers turned out – they’re not dry or crumbly like a lot of meat-free burgers seem to be, but super soft and beautifully moist on the inside and really crispy on the outside!
But the real star of these burgers is the sauce! It’s packed full of delicious ingredients such as caramelised onions, red wine, tomatoes, soy sauce (or tamari), apple cider vinegar and date syrup (because its gloriously dark, rich and sticky, and almost treacle-like, but you can use any other sweetener), and plenty of black pepper.
Then just add some salad to complete the burger! I’d also recommend adding a little spicy miso mayo if you happen to have any on hand.
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love for you to take a photo and tag it #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! It would really make my day to see what you come up with!
- 400g (14oz) hard, firm tofu
- 100g (3.5oz) bread (gluten-free if necessary)
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- Oil (vegetable, rapeseed or olive)
- 2 tablespoons oil (vegetable, rapeseed or olive)
- 1 onion, diced
- Splash of red wine (ensure vegan-friendly if necessary)
- 200g (7oz) tinned tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons date syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari if gluten-free)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- Optional: 1 bay leaf
- Salad (lettuce, tomato etc)
- Burger buns (gluten-free if necessary)
- Place bread in food processor and whizz until it forms coarse breadcrumbs
- Empty the bread into a large mixing bowl
- Place tofu in same food processor and whizz until smooth
- Add tofu to the same bowl as the breadcrumbs, along with a good pinch of salt and pepper, and mix well
- Use your hands to form the mixture into small, flat patties, which you can lay out on a plate
- Meanwhile, heat up a generous glug of oil in a frying pan and once hot, place the tofu patties in the pan
- Cook for around 10-15 minutes, flipping over halfway through, until golden brown and crispy on both sides
- It's easiest to make this sauce while you're also cooking the burgers
- Heat up oil in a saucepan
- Add diced onion and cook for around 5 minutes, until softened
- Add red wine and cook for a couple of minutes until all wine has evaporated
- Add tined tomatoes, date syrup, soy sauce, vinegar and salt + pepper (and bay leaf if using)
- Bring to the boil and simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes
- Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary (more date syrup for sweetness, more vinegar for sourness, more salt + pepper etc)
- Sandwich tofu burgers between burger buns. Add salad, plenty of the sauce, and some spicy miso mayonnaise if you wish!