Can I get a hip, hip, hooray for vegetarian dinners that make the whole family happy?! Crispy (!) baked (!!) Tofu Katsu Curry?! Yes, we’re definitely hipping and hooray-ing over here.
My oldest first had a Katsu Curry at Wagamama a few years ago (I mean, where else), and I finally wanted to tackle a homemade version. And then the girls have been playing an Asian Montessori app (so woke and newfangled) and demanded to buy tofu, because apparently they cook tofu with their app. And thus, my Tofu Katsu Curry recipe was born.
I’ll admit, a Katsu Curry with homemade sauce, rice and a salad on the side takes a few steps to pull together. Definitely something to first try on a weekend, and not on a Wednesday night when everyone is stressed and tired! There’s tofu to be breaded and baked, sauce to be cooked, side dishes to be prepared. But you got this!
Now let’s make some Tofu Katsu Curry:
1 – Make the Katsu sauce:
The Katsu sauce is quite simple – make it ASAP once the tofu is in the oven! Sweat onion, garlic (and ginger if your kids aren’t moany about a little spiciness; mine most def are) in a pot, then stir in some curry paste (the cheat’s way to flavour here! absolutely non-authentic, but easy does it), some extra spice and flour. Then gradually add in the stock, stir like a crazy person (get rid of those flour lumps!), simmer, blend, season, DONE.
2 – Prep the bowls for breading the tofu:
This is important, so get it right: Three bowls, one with cornstarch and spices, one with breadcrumbs and spices, one with beaten egg. Two dry, one wet. I’m usually quite an open and laissez-faire kind of person when it comes to cooking, but here it’s my way or the highway.
3 – Bread the tofu:
So this is another highway situation: Heat your baking tray in the hot oven. Coat the tofu slices in cornstarch, then coat in egg, then coat in breadcrumbs.
4 – Bake the tofu:
Oil up the hot baking tray, place the tofu on (careful, so hot, don’t burn those precious fingers!) and bake to crispy perfection.
5 – Serve it up:
Rice, salad (LOTS of salad for us here, I just shred cabbage, red cabbage and carrots and lightly dress in a little sesame oil, vinegar, salt and pepper; then toss with some leafy herbs), warmed Katsu sauce, hot hot hot and crispy tofu (serve STRAIGHT from the oven!!) and more sauce and then just get in there and pat yourself on the back for such a great meal.
Let’s be real here:
This is good. GOOD good. Drink-the-sauce kind of good. Make-double-next-time good.
And YES my kids love the tofu. Maybe it’s the breading. Or their Montessori app. Either way, SO good, super kid-friendly. Make it.
Watch the full video:
Crispy Baked Tofu Katsu Curry
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 1 cm piece ginger (minced (optional) (1/3 inch))
- 1-2 tablespoons yellow curry paste
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Garam masala
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 300 ml vegetable stock (or more to taste (1 1/4 cups))
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or more to taste)
For the crispy tofu:
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 75 g breadcrumbs (3/4 cup)
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 500 g firm tofu (cut into 8 slices and patted dry with paper towels (18oz))
- 1 tablespoon oil
- rice, salad… whatever you enjoy!
Make the sauce:
- Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger and sauté until softened, 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in curry paste and cook for 1 minute, then stir in spices and flour. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly, then continue stirring while gradually adding the stock.
- Simmer sauce for 5-10 minutes, then blend with a stick blender until smooth and season with honey and soy sauce to taste.
Bake the tofu:
- Heat oven to 220°C (425°F). Place a baking tray in the oven to heat up.
- Prepare three bowls: Place cornstarch in one, breadcrumbs in one, and season both with 1/2 teaspoon curry powder and a few pinches of salt. Add egg to the last bowl and beat well.
- Coat tofu first thinly in cornstarch, then in egg, and finally in a thick layer of breadcrumbs.
- Remove hot baking tray from oven, evenly coat in 1 tablespoon oil, then place breaded tofu on tray and bake for 10 minutes. Very carefully flip (make sure the breading isn’t sticking to the tray, if it is, slide a spatula underneath before flipping or you’ll lose all the breading!), then bake for another 5-10 minutes or until crispy.
- Warm the sauce through before serving, adding a few splashes of stock if it's too thick. Serve the tofu hot from the oven, it's the crispiest then! I cook parboiled rice and make the slaw as the tofu bakes, that way everything is done at the same time.
- Cooking the tofu: If you prefer, you can also shallow-fry the tofu in a pan on the hob. Make sure to use enough oil, use medium-high heat and be careful when flipping so the breading doesn’t fall off.
- Seasoning: You can really make this as hot or as mild as you like. I understand a Katsu curry is traditionally very mild, but if you prefer some heat feel free to add more ginger or use red curry paste instead of yellow.
- Tofu: Definitely use firm tofu for this recipe. It just works the best. Extra-firm is too dry!
- Vegan: For a vegan version, I recommend combining oil and a few tablespoons of white flour to make a loose paste and use that in place of the egg. I have fried mushrooms before with a batter like that, and it worked quite well. Let me know if you try it!