Again, sorry about the photo. That is Yo!Sushi’s tofu katsu curry. Turns out I ate mine before I photographed it.
This is easier than you might think, with plenty of options available. If you don’t know Katsu curry, it has 3 main elements, a crispy panko-breaded ‘cutlet’ (often chicken or pork, but more and more often, tofu or vegetable options are available), a curry sauce, which has it’s own distinct flavour, but also has a ‘chip shop curry’ vibe going on, and stick rice. It is not a hot curry, it is a flavourful one.
If you don’t want to make it, but do want to try it, Yo!Sushi does a great selection of Katsu curries, with their tofu and pumpkin ones being amazing. Also worth noting that if you ask at Yo!Sushi, they have a vegan menu.
Although there are many steps, they are not difficult, so have a go! I can make this meal in about 20-30mins, so I assure you, when you are familiar, it is genuinely easy. If you don’t like tofu, this can be done with mushrooms, aubergines, sweet potato and of course, pumpkin or butternut squash. If you use this vegetables, they need to be softened a little before breading and frying, so either parboil then leave until very dry, or quickly microwave zap them.
Ingredients for the katsu sauce (Can feed 4 dependent on how much tofu you eat!)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 whole garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoon medium curry powder
- 600ml vegetable stock (or if you have miso paste, use this as stock)
- 2 teaspoons agave, or white sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 block firm tofu (not a silken one, as if you aren’t used to it, it is difficult) – I’d recommend ClearSpot if you can get it, and Cauldron if not, as it is widely available in supermarkets.
- Panko breadcrumbs (or cornflakes if you are stuck!)
- Vegan egg replacer (not essential, but useful) – 2tsp powder, 2/3 tbsp water.
- 1.5 cups sushi rice.
- 2 spring onions
Here’s the rice dance – follow the packet because it is probably the best way with sushi rice, however, these often tell you to soak for 8-10 hours and then steam, which is a problem if you don’t have a steamer. Solutions include reducing the soaking time and boiling the rice for a short period, maybe 10 mins, or using a different rice.
Get the tofu out of the packet the morning before the evening you intend to eat this. Throw the water away and wrap the tofu in paper towels or a clean tea towel. Sit it on a plate, and put a chopping board on top of it, with something heavy ontop. The more water you squeeze out, the easier it is to cook and the firmer it will be. If you don’t do this, just get it as dry as you can using paper towels, it is still going to be OK.
Method – The Sauce
- Add the oil to a saucepan and cook the onion and garlic for two minutes.
- Add the carrots and fry on a low heat for 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft and caramelised. Sometimes I turn the heat really low and put a lid on, so it happens a bit quicker.
- Add the flour and curry powder, stir to coat everything and fry for a minute.
- Add the stock a bit at a time, stirring all the time
- Add the agave/sugar/some kind of sweetness, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and bay leaf and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer down to a thick sauce – takes about 20 minutes.
- TASTE THE SAUCE. Good, right? If not, adjust things: needs more salt – soy sauce, too sweet – vinegar, not deep enough or spicy enough – curry powder…etc.
****So, the sauce has lumps of carrot and onion. There are several options here. Most commonly, the sauce is put through a sieve to remove the lumps and served silky smooth. Option B is that you serve it with the veg in, and it’s still great, option C is put it all in a blender and blend until smooth, retaining the veg and getting the smoothness – up to you. If you do blend, re-taste and readjust after this.****
Method – The Tofu
- Cut the tofu into cubes, large bite-sized cubes.
- Prepare three bowls: bowl 1: cornflour, bowl 2: prepared Vegan egg*, bowl 3: panko breadcrumbs. *if you don’t have this, use cornflour and water in bowl 2.
- Roll the cubes of tofu in the cornflour, to give them a dry surface, then in the vegan egg or cornflour/water, and then in the panko.
- Once they are fully coated and you have a little team of tofu nuggets, heat some oil (not olive oil) in a frying pan.
- On a low-medium heat, add the first piece of tofu – it should sizzle. If not, wait a little longer for the oil to heat. At sizzle-time, add all the tofu.
- Fry the tofu on each side (yep, all of them), until the panko are golden all over. Don’t burn it! It’s done.
Method – Serving
- Load up a bowl with the sushi rice.
- Place as much tofu as you want on top.
- Making sure the sauce is hot, pour it over the rice and tofu.
- Sprinkle sliced spring onion on top.
- Eat it with chopsticks or you will ruin the experience – seriously.