This vegan tofu katsu curry is easy to make, and will make you feel like you’ve gone out for dinner!
By Lora O’Brien
Since the lockdown, my craving for Wagamamas katsu curry has intensified. If you’re not British, you might not know about this Asian fast food restaurant, but trust me – they make the best, healthiest, cheapest pan-Asian food EVER!
I’ve spent weeks counting down until their doors were back open and I was recently once again reunited with my favourite katsu curry restaurant. But one good thing to come from lockdown is that I’m eating out less, and am cooking more at home. And you know what? After discovering a new recipe for this dish, I think I prefer homemade to takeout.
Katsu curry has always had a place in my heart. I love the creamy sauce with its subtle hint of spiciness, paired with the crispy battered veggies (I always preferred the veggie version, even before I went vegan) served with a mound of fluffy white rice.
The Japanese dish is super easy to make at home, and there are a few ways in which you can veganise it. Whereas a traditional version uses breaded chicken or pork, vegan versions can use seitan, soy protein or tofu. However, if you’re not a fan of tofu, you could use something else. My favourite sub is sweet potatoes!
So, wondering how you can make your own katsu curry at home?
Thanks to Becca over at food blog Easy Cheesy Vegetarian, I’ve found an absolutely scrumptious version of Vegan Tofu Katsu Curry. The recipe is super simple to follow and the end result is one deliciously addictive curry that you’ll come back to time and time again!
Looking for more vegetarian and vegan inspo? Becca has over 900 recipes on Easy Cheesy Vegetarian, and all of them follow 3 principles:
- Simple ingredients – you won’t find any obscure foods listed in the ingredients
- Minimal mess – Becca hates cooking with lots of pots and pans, resulting in tons of dirty dishes! Many of her dishes are made in one pot, and easy to make.
- Becca loves food – which means she cooks real, hearty food! None of these super tiny portions. Easy Cheesy Vegetarian is all about heart meals with lots of flavour. And many of the veggie-loaded dishes can easily be made vegan with a few changes.
Now, let’s get cooking!
Recipe Of The Week: Vegan Katsu Curry
FOR THE BREADED TOFU
400 g (14 oz) block extra firm tofu
100g (2/3 cup) plain flour
1 tsp curry powder
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
130ml (1/2 cup) water
90g (1 1/2 cups) breadcrumbs (I used panko)
FOR THE KATSU CURRY SAUCE:
1 tbsp oil
1 medium red onion, finely diced
1 medium carrot, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
375ml (1 1/2 cups) vegetable stock
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey or agave nectar
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp black pepper
TO SERVE (OPTIONAL)
Boiled edamame (soybeans)
LET’S CREATE! TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED
Step 1: Breading the tofu
To begin, get started on the crispy tofu. As this dish is vegan, instead of the usual flour-egg-breadcrumbs combination to bread the tofu, we’re using a simple batter in place of the egg.
Just dip the tofu in the spiced batter, then into the breadcrumbs. I used panko breadcrumbs, which is a light and crispy Japanese version. They’re usually pretty easy to find in the shops, but you can use normal breadcrumbs instead if you prefer.
Step 2: Making your curry sauce
When the tofu is getting nice and crispy in the oven, this is when you make your sauce. You start by frying off onions and carrot before adding garlic, agave, soy sauce, curry powder and pepper. They all combine to make the most wonderfully aromatic sauce that has an incredible depth to it. I personally like my sauce silky smooth, but if you don’t have a blender or you prefer more texture, you can keep the sauce chunky.
Serving rice is optional, of course, but I always serve it alongside brown rice. The rice soaks up all of that yummy sauce – and what is a good curry without rice?!
1. Cut the tofu into even slices. Two cm is an ideal thickness, and you should end up with 6-7 slices. Press any liquid out of the tofu. You don’t need a fancy press to do this; just lay the slices inside a clean tea towel.
Place on a baking tray and then put something heavy on top. A large pan of water or a skillet would be a perfect weight, as it will help squeeze the tofu, helping it to dry out. Leave this for 10 minutes while you prepare your other ingredients.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flour with the curry powder and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add the water, and mix thoroughly to give a smooth batter. You can add a little more flour or a dash more water to adjust the consistency – it just needs to cling to the tofu, so it should be fairly liquid, but not overly runny.
3. Place the breadcrumbs in another small bowl.
4. When the tofu has been pressed, dip each piece into the batter, and allow any excess to drip off. Then coat the tofu in the breadcrumbs. Place all of the slices on an oiled baking tray, and bake at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F) for around 30-40 minutes, or until crisped up to your liking.
5. While the tofu is baking, prepare the katsu curry sauce. Start off by heating a dash of oil in a large frying pan, and add the finely diced onion and carrot. Cook for 5 minutes, until the onion is fairly soft. Add the garlic and spices, and cook for 2 more minutes, before adding the remaining ingredients. Bring to a gentle simmer, and cook for another 15 minutes until the carrot is completely soft.
6. Remove the bay leaf from the sauce, and blend the sauce until it reaches your desired consistency. You can use a high-speed blender, or a hand blender will work just as well.
7. Serve the crispy tofu with the katsu curry sauce, and your choice of side dishes (I had rice and boiled edamame)
I hope you enjoyed making this Vegan Tofu Katsu Curry as much as I did! If you’re looking for more recipes to try at home, we have some great vegan fakeaway recipes here!
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