Enjoy Japanese cuisine with this hearty vegetarian dish composed of no-fry crispy tofu cutlets and traditional Japanese curry.
Earlier this year, I made a no-fry tofu katsu cutlet sandwich that received a lot of positive feedback. The recipe was rather popular since the tofu tasted fried but was not. The secret is pan-fried panko crumbs that is then baked in the oven at high temperature. The outcome is a crispy tofu cutlet without excess grease and extra calories! Katsu is a deep-fried, crispy chicken or pork cutlet that is typically the main entree in Japanese cuisine. It is commonly served with a side of Japanese curry, making it a simple but delicious meal for lunch or dinner. To accommodate anyone who may not eat meat, I have made the vegetarian version without sacrificing any flavor.
Since ground pork is often included in the Japanese curry, I have substituted it with chopped dried shiitake mushrooms. Dried shiitake mushrooms or “xiang gu” are a common ingredient in Chinese cuisine, used to add flavor or used as a vegetarian meat replacer. You may also use textured vegetable protein (TVP) or omit it completely. I added it because I like the flavor and texture.
The last component of this dish is an egg omelette to top the rice. I attempted to make the popular tornado egg, but failed miserably so I opted for the basic version. This dish is nutritious, flavorful, hearty, and completely vegetarian! The recipe contains several components, but is an impressive dish to make. Leftovers are also perfect for meal prep.
What is Japanese curry?
Japanese curry is made using a soy-sauce and curry powder roux, with carrots, onions, and potatoes as the main ingredients. Chicken, pork, and beef are often included in the curry. It is such a staple in Japanese cuisine and is extremely simple to make, thanks to pre-packaged curry blocks. The most popular brands are S&B Golden Curry and House Vermont Curry.
Tofu Katsu Curry (No-Fry)
yield: 4 large servings (restaurant portion)
total cook time: 50 min.
For tofu katsu:
- 2 blocks of 14-16 oz. extra firm tofu (pressed to release moisture)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 160 g. or 2 c. panko breadcrumbs
- 28 g. or 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 62 g. or 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 90 g. or 6 tbsp. milk or water
- 2 g. or 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. or 14 g. vegetable oil
- 50 g. or 1/2 c. shredded apple
- 15 g. or 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 52 g. or 3/4 c. shiitake mushrooms after hydration
- 210 g. or 1 2/3 c. carrots, sliced
- 250 g. or 1 2/3 c. potato, chopped
- 95 g. or 1/2 c. yellow onion, chopped
- 60 g. or 3 cubes pre-packaged curry (S&B Golden Curry or House Vermont Curry)
- 425 g. or 1 2/3 c. + 2 tbsp. water
- 420 g. or 8 large eggs
- 1 g. or 1/8 tsp. salt
- chopped green onions to garnish
- 630 g. or 4 c. cooked white rice
- tomato to garnish
- Press tofu for about 20 min. until most of the moisture is released. Use a clean towel or paper towel after to remove any remaining moisture.
- Slice the tofu the short way to yield 6 slices per tofu and 12 total. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the tofu slices.
- Preheat oven to 400 C.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add the panko crumbs and vegetable oil, and saute occasionally until the panko crumbs become lightly browned. This takes about 8 min.
- In a shallow dish, add the all purpose flour and set aside.
- In a another shallow dish, whisk together the milk and cornstarch to make a sticky slurry.
- Take the tofu and coat it with all purpose flour. Next, dip the flour-coated tofu in the cornstarch slurry, and then the panko.
- Place tofu slices on a non stick baking tray and bake in the oven at 400 F for 20 min.
- Remove the tofu from the oven, and place on a cooling rack (if you have one) and allow to cool.
- To make the curry, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat and add oil, shredded apple, garlic, and shiitake mushrooms. Saute for about 3 min to release fragrance.
- Add in the carrots, potatoes, and onion and saute until the vegetables are slightly soft, around 8 min.
- Add in the water and curry cubes and mix until everything is incorporated. Cover the pot for 7-10 min. to allow curry to thicken and for the vegetables to cook completely.
- To make the egg omelette, beat 2 eggs into a bowl and season with some salt. Cook in an oiled pan over medium heat on both sides and repeat for the other eggs.
- To assemble the dish, pack 1 c. white rice into a round bowl and place a large plate on top. flip the plate and bowl over so that the rice becomes a mound on the plate.
- Place 1 egg omelette on the rice and garnish the egg with chopped green onions.
- Generously scoop curry onto the rest of the plate and place 3 slices of tofu katsu next to the rice. Add tomatoes as a garnish and enjoy!
*Nutrition facts are estimates
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