This Vegan Tofu Katsu Curry is the best seriously satisfying, but deceptively easy dinner: think tender, crispy breaded tofu smothered in a rich, spicy curry sauce.
This Vegan Tofu Katsu Curry might look a little different to the ones you're used to seeing at restaurants, as lots of places serve Katsu Curry as a smooth curry sauce without vegetables.
However, the traditional Japanese version of Katsu Curry is just a normal curry with vegetables and potatoes served with pieces of breaded meat or tofu.
Homemade Japanese Curry is much easier to make than you might think, and it's just as rich, creamy, subtly spiced and salty-sweet as the traditional version, but much healthier. It also means you can easily make it gluten-free and refined sugar free, and it doesn't contain any MSG.
How to make Vegan Tofu Katsu Curry
For the vegan katsu, I went with tofu as I love how it stays moist and tender on the inside whilst crisping up beautifully on the outside. My favourite way to make the tofu katsu, which strikes a good balance of speed, deliciousness and healthiness, is to pan-fry it in a small amount of oil.
If that's still not healthy enough for you, I've also tested out several other ways to make the tofu katsu, and you can choose a method depending on your dietary requirements and how healthy you want to be. You can either:
- bake it in the oven with a tiny amount of oil added
- bake it in the oven oil-free (this worked surprisingly well)
- cook in your air-fryer if you’re lucky enough to own one!
How to make gluten-free Tofu Katsu
Panko breadcrumbs work really well for this tofu katsu, but if you’re gluten-free you can:
- make your own breadcrumbs by crumbling up gluten-free bread with your hands or in a food processor
- use shop-bought gluten-free breadcrumbs
- use crushed gluten-free cornflakes.
How to serve this Tofu Katsu Curry
This Vegan Tofu Katsu Curry is best served with brown or white sticky rice. You can also serve it with pickled ginger or quick-pickled Chinese cabbage, and some fresh salad leaves drizzled with this Wagamama-Inspired Salad Dressing.
For more vegan curries:
- Chickpea Korma Curry
- Chickpea Sweet Potato Peanut Curry
- Cabbage Potato Curry
- Eggplant Chickpea Peanut Curry
- Chickpea Coconut Mango Curry
- Tofu Satay Curry
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d really love to hear any feedback! Please give it a rating, leave a comment, or tag a photo @rhiansrecipes #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! Thank you.
Vegan Tofu Katsu Curry (GF)
For the tofu katsu:
- 400 g (14 oz) firm tofu (or sub silken tofu)
- 4 heaped teaspoons gluten-free flour blend (or sub plain flour if not gluten-free)
- 40 ml (⅕ cup) water
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- 30 g (1 oz) panko breadcrumbs (*see notes for gluten-free options)
- 3 tablespoons rapeseed or vegetable oil (**see notes for oil-free and baked options)
For the curry:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or sub vegetable or rapeseed oil)
- 1 onion , diced
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 cm (½ inch) ginger , peeled and minced
- 1 heaped teaspoon curry powder , to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 400 g (14 oz) potatoes , diced (new potatoes are best as they retain their shape and there’s need to peel them), diced (you can also substitute sweet potatoes)
- Handful of frozen green peas
- 200 ml (⅘ cup) tinned coconut milk
- 1 vegetable stock cube (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
- 1 teaspoon agave syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
- 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
- 120 ml (½ cup) tinned tomatoes
- 200 g (14 oz) French (green) beans , trimmed and halved
- 2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
- Salt + pepper , to taste
- Cooked brown or white sticky rice
- Pickled ginger
For the tofu katsu:
- Drain and rinse tofu and pat dry with a paper towel
- Cut the block of tofu into thirds horizontally, then each piece into 6 small rectangles
- Mix together the flour and water in a bowl
- Mix the breadcrumbs with salt + pepper and lay out onto a plate
- Dip a piece of tofu into the flour and water mixture, then coat with the breadcrumbs. Transfer onto a large plate
- Repeat for the rest of the tofu
- Heat up oil in a large frying pan and cook on a medium heat for about 15 minutes, occasionally turning over the pieces until crispy and golden
- Transfer onto a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up the excess oil
For the curry:
- Heat up coconut oil in frying pan and add onion, garlic and ginger once hot
- Fry for about 10 minutes until softened
- Add curry powder, cumin and turmeric and fry for a minute until fragrant
- Add carrots, potatoes, frozen peas, coconut milk, stock cube, agave syrup and tamari, with enough water to cover
- Bring to the boil then turn down heat and simmer for around 15 minutes, until potatoes are soft enough to gently pierce with a fork
- Add the tinned tomatoes and French beans, and cook for a further 10 minutes
- Dissolve the cornflour in a small amount of water in a separate bowl, before adding to the curry
- Stir well and leave to heat gently for a further couple of minutes until the sauce is thickened. If it's still looking too thin, do the same with more cornflour dissolved in water first and if it's looking too thick, add more water
- Taste and add salt + pepper
- Serve the curry and tofu katsu with brown or white sticky rice, pickled ginger, and a side salad
- Leftovers keep well covered in the fridge for up to a few days. Store the tofu katsu and curry separately - reheat the curry in a pan or in the microwave, and reheat the tofu katsu in a dry frying pan
- Make your own breadcrumbs by crumbling up gluten-free bread with your hands or in a food processor
- Use shop-bought gluten-free breadcrumbs
- Use crushed gluten-free cornflakes
- Pan-fry in a small amount of oil - this is the method stated above.
- Shallow-fry in about 1 cm (½ inch) of oil - similar cooking time to the method stated above.
- Bake in oven with a tiny amount of oil added - lay out tofu katsu pieces on a baking tray, drizzle over a small amount of oil or spray with oil. Bake at 180 degrees (350 degrees) for about 15 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.
- Bake in the oven oil-free (this worked surprisingly well) - lay out tofu katsu pieces on a baking tray. Bake at 180 degrees (350 degrees) for about 15 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.
- Cook in your air-fryer if you’re lucky enough to own one!
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