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    Tofu Katsu: Vegan Japanese Curry Recipe

    Tofu katsu is a delicious take on the classic chicken katsu curry dish that the world has come to embrace with open arms. When prepared correctly, katsu curry offers a subtle blend of curry flavours and spices that is remarkably comforting to enjoy with a large bowl of rice!

    Our vegan katsu curry offers this same blend of curry and spices, just without the usual chicken in panko crumbs. Instead, we use firm tofu, a tofu press like this, and fantastic seasoning to create an authentic meat-free Japanese vegan curry. 

    Here's our ultimate vegan tofu katsu recipe!

    What is katsu sauce made from?

    Before we start cooking, let's take a quick look at what makes up the defining component of any great Japanese tofu curry; and that’s the katsu sauce.

    Katsu sauce offers a subtle curry tang, but it consists of a surprisingly complex array of ingredients. Importantly, you need to get this complex set of ingredients just right to prepare the best katsu curry sauce that you can. 

    The primary ingredients of katsu sauce include onion, carrot, garlic, and ginger, alongside a variety of curried spices, such as curry powder and garam masala. This base is then complemented by a further array of Japanese spices, including miso, soy sauce, and mirin.

    Our recipe does change a few of the staples, as it’s intended to be suitable for vegans. For example, we substitute egg whites for aquafaba, which is prepared from chickpea juice. Don't skip any of the ingredients below if you want your Japanese curry tofu to taste as authentic as possible. 

      Tofu katsu curry FAQ

      What kind of tofu do you need for katsu curry?

      Just as it’s important to get the right combination of spices and ingredients for your curry sauce, it’s important to select the right kind of tofu for the dish!

      The best choice to use for tofu Japanese curry is firm or extra firm tofu. If you try to use soft or silken tofu, then the tofu won’t hold its shape during the frying process, leaving you with squidgy, messy breaded tofu.

      Why do I need to press the tofu?

      It’s also important that you press out any excess liquid before you start preparing your tofu. If there’s too much water in the tofu, then it’s going to taste watery. You need to remove this excess liquid, so the tofu can take on and absorb the flavors of the marinades, seasoning, and curry sauce.

      Again, soft and silken tofu have too much water for them to work well as a meat substitute. Firm tofu also has lots of excess water, however, which is why we need to press this water out of the block. 

      The best way to do this is by using a tofu press, which does all the hard work for you. If you don’t have a press, though, you can wrap your block of tofu in paper towels and press down firmly from above using a solid object, such as a chopping board.  

      What’s the best curry powder for tofu katsu?

      Curry powder is the essential ingredient when you’re preparing tofu katsu, so it’s important to select your curry powder well!

      For a mild, yet flavourful katsu sauce, you can use a basic ‘curry powder’ from the store, which is simply a mixture of different spices and herbs. For a spicier version, you can use a much hotter madras curry powder. You could even add a few chilis to the recipe if you prefer a fiery curry!

      What is ‘aquafaba’?

      Our recipe calls for aquafaba, which is one of the best vegan substitutes for egg whites. Aquafaba acts as a thickening and binding agent, so it’s essential for holding together the breadcrumb coating on our tofu.  

      The easiest way to source aquafaba, is from chickpeas. Aquafaba is simply the leftover liquid in which the chickpeas sit. All you need to do is drain the chickpeas and hold onto the liquid. 

      Another alternative method is to prepare a cornflour mixture. Mix together a half cup of cornflour with a half cup of water. You’ll need to use a whisk to get out the lumps. Corn flour tends to clump together when it’s fried, so you need to make sure it doesn’t cause your tofu to stick to the wok!

      That's how you make tofu katsu curry!

      That’s it for our tofu katsu curry recipe. Yes, it can seem like a challenging recipe to bring together, but once you have your ingredients organized and laid out on the countertop, it’s simply a matter of going through the directions, one step at a time.

      Get this recipe right, and you’ll be enjoying the delights of vegan Japanese curry for many dinners to come!


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