How to make a vegan tofu Katsu curry! This Japanese-inspired dinner features crispy and well-flavored tofu coated in crispy breadcrumbs, and a rich curry sauce that will make your kitchen smell amazing. It’s also ready in 30 minutes, and perfect served with rice.

Vegan tofu Katsu curry

As far as dinners are concerned, I’m always up for a curry. Curries are easy to make at home and always super comforting. And this vegan Katsu curry with crispy tofu is one of my personal favorites!

Katsu curry is a Japanese curry that’s typically served with a breaded chicken cutlet. This vegan version features tofu as an alternative, and a sauce which is made out of vegetables (carrots and sweet potatoes), coconut milk and plenty of seasoning.

Curry sauce with tofu

Serve it as a weeknight dinner that the whole family is guaranteed to love! The rich, savory flavors are out of this world, and adding the breadcrumb coating to the tofu takes it to the next level. I’m sure you’ll want to make it over and over again.

Vegan tofu Katsu with rice

Ingredients for vegan Katsu curry

This meatless Katsu requires just simple ingredients for a phenomenal result. These are:

  • Sesame oil for cooking the sauce and frying the tofu ‘cutlets’.
  • The aromatics: onions, garlic, ginger and red chilli peppers. If you’d prefer less spice, you can leave out the chilli.
  • The spices: garam masala, cumin, smoked paprika and mustard seeds for flavoring the sauce.
  • Tomato paste for adding a tangy flavor to the sauce.
  • Carrots and sweet potatoes. When these are blended, they add a great flavor and smooth texture to the sauce.
  • Coconut milk. If you don’t want to use coconut milk, you can use any other unsweetened plant based milk of your choice, but it won’t be as creamy.
  • Curry paste. Check packaging to ensure vegan. You can also use curry powder.
  • Bay leaves.
  • Mirin. This is a rice wine that’s very popular in Japanese cooking that has a subtle sweet flavor.
  • Soy sauce. You can also use tamari or coconut aminos.
  • Panko breadcrumbs for making the breadcrumb coating. You can sub these for any other breadcrumbs of your choice (for instance, gluten-free if necessary).
  • Seasonings for the breadcrumbs: salt, onion powder and dried oregano.
  • Plain flour for making the batter. You can also use a gluten-free flour blend if necessary.
  • Extra firm tofu. If you’re not using extra firm tofu, you will need to press it for at least 10 minutes to ensure that the texture is firm on the inside rather than watery.
Tofu Katsu with rice

How to make tofu Katsu curry

Make the curry sauce

Start by adding sesame oil to a large pan. Then, add the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli peppers, garam masala, cumin, paprika, mustard seeds and tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat, until fragrant, and stir frequently to ensure they don’t burn.

Now add the carrots, sweet potatoes, coconut milk, curry paste and bay leaves. Bring to a light simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, until the vegetables are fully softened. Stir once every 2-3 minutes.

Remove the pan from the stove and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the mirin and soy sauce, and blend using an immersion blender until smooth.

Make the crispy tofu katsu

Prepare your breading station. In one bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, salt, onion powder and oregano. In a different bowl, whisk together flour and water, ensuring that no lumps remain.

Next, slice the tofu into slabs around 1/4 inch in thickness. Dip them in the batter, making sure to shake off any excess, and then the breadcrumbs.

Add some sesame oil to a pan over a medium-high heat. Allow it to warm up for a couple of minutes, and then add the tofu. Fry for 5 minutes, then flip using kitchen tongs and fry for 3-4 minutes more, until crispy and golden brown.

Serve

Layer the curry sauce over a bed of rice, followed by the crispy tofu. I like to serve it with sushi rice, but any rice variety of your choice will work. You can also serve it with noodles.

FAQs

Bowl of tofu Katsu with curry sauce
Can this tofu Katsu curry be made gluten-free?

Yes, simply use tamari instead of soy sauce, gluten-free breadcrumbs and a gluten-free plain flour mix.

How can I bake the tofu instead of frying?

You can bake the crispy tofu for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F/180 degrees C, flipping half way through.

Can this recipe be made ahead of time?

You can store the curry sauce and the Tofu katsu in separate airtight containers for up to 3 days, although the tofu may lose some of its crispiness. You can reheat the tofu in the microwave, and the curry sauce either in the microwave or on the stove.

Other vegan curry recipes you may love

  • Vegan jackfruit curry.
  • Simple vegan tofu curry.
  • Vegan eggplant butternut squash curry.
  • Easy vegan potato curry.
Tofu Katsu and curry sauce

If you give this vegan tofu Katsu curry recipe a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) so I can see your recreations, and leave your feedback in the comments below together with a star rating.

Get the Recipe: Vegan Tofu Katsu Curry

How to make a vegan tofu Katsu curry! This Japanese-inspired dinner features crispy and well-flavored tofu coated in crispy breadcrumbs, and a rich curry sauce that will make your kitchen smell amazing. It's also ready in 30 minutes, and perfect served with rice.
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

For the curry sauce

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and sliced
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 can coconut milk, (14oz/400ml)
  • 1 tbsp curry paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, or to taste

For the tofu Katsu

  • 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 14 oz extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Immersion blender
  • Mixing bowl x2
  • Frying pan or skillet

Instructions 

Make the curry sauce

  • Add the sesame oil to a large pan. Then, add the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli peppers, garam masala, cumin, paprika, mustard seeds and tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat, until fragrant, and stir frequently to ensure they don't burn.
  • Add the carrots, sweet potatoes, coconut milk, curry paste and bay leaves. Bring to a light simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, until the vegetables are fully softened. Stir once every 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the stove and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the mirin and soy sauce, and blend using an immersion blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make the tofu Katsu

  • Prepare your breading station. In one bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, salt, onion powder and oregano. In a different bowl, whisk together flour and water, ensuring that no lumps remain.
  • Slice the tofu into slabs around 1/4 inch in thickness. Dip them in the batter, making sure to shake off any excess, and then the breadcrumbs.
  • Add some sesame oil to a pan over a medium-high heat. Allow it to warm up for a couple of minutes, and then add the tofu. Fry for 5 minutes, then flip using kitchen tongs and fry for 3-4 minutes more, until crispy and golden brown.

Serve

  • Serve the curry sauce and the crispy tofu Katsu over a bed of rice of your choice.

Video

Notes

Tofu: if you’re not using extra-firm tofu, you will need to press it for at least 10 minutes. This can be done using a tofu press, or by layering some kitchen towels on it followed by a pan with heavy objects inside (e.g., cans of beans).
To make gluten-free: simply use tamari instead of soy sauce, gluten-free breadcrumbs and a gluten-free flour mix.
To bake the tofu: you can bake the crispy tofu at 350 degrees F/180 degrees C for 25 minutes, flipping half way through.
To make ahead: you can store the curry sauce and the Tofu katsu in separate airtight containers for up to 3 days, although the tofu may lose some of its crispiness. You can reheat the tofu in the microwave, and the curry sauce either in the microwave or on the stove.
Calories: 751kcal, Carbohydrates: 76g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 43g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Sodium: 1483mg, Potassium: 1096mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 18250IU, Vitamin C: 27mg, Calcium: 186mg, Iron: 9mg