Tofu katsu curry

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This sublime tofu katsu curry recipe offers a vegetarian version of this classic Japanese dish, usually made with crispy chicken breast or pork. With a mildly spiced and creamy curry sauce, this dish makes a fantastic comfort food recipe to warm the cockles on a chilly night.

First published in 2016
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What differentiates Japanese curry from other curries around the world is the cooking method, sweeter taste and creaminess. It all starts with a flour and butter paste (a basis for white sauce in western cooking) and the end result is a creamy, thick curry sauce.

Curry was introduced to Japan by the British during the Meiji era (1868–1912) when India was under the colonial rule of British Raj and Japan opened its doors to foreigners and their goods. The dish became well-liked in Japanese homes after the development of instant curry mix powder in the early twentieth century, and demand took off after World War II when curry roux in cubes was introduced. The dish was then available for purchase in supermarkets and on restaurant menus in the late 1960s.

There are a wide variety of vegetables and meats used to make Japanese curry. The main vegetables are onions, carrots and potatoes, with beef, pork, and chicken the most popular accompaniments.

The easy preparation and the vast variety and availability of curry mixes has made curry accessible in the home kitchen, as it is very easy to make compared to many other more intricate Japanese dishes. Here is a vegetarian version using tofu.




Curry sauce

Tofu katsu

To serve


Start by making the curry sauce. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over a medium heat, add the onion, garlic and ginger and sauté until tender, for approximately 2–3 minutes
Add the curry powder and stir until fragrant. Blend in the flour and cook for 2 minutes
Slowly pour in the dashi, soy sauce and honey. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens
Stir in rice vinegar and garam masala, cook for a minute and check for salt. Keep warm until ready to serve
Cook the rice according to packet instructions
For the crispy tofu, lay a clean tea towel on a work surface and turn the tofu onto it. Slice into 1cm thick slices, dry the pieces well and sprinkle with salt. Leave on a clean tea towel for 10 minutes
Place the flour on a plate and season it with a pinch of salt and pepper. In a wide soup plate, add the egg and beat with a pinch of salt. Place the breadcrumbs in a large, shallow dish
Roll each slice of tofu in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs to coat
In a large frying pan, heat enough oil to fill it about 1.5cm deep
Shallow fry the tofu for around 2 minutes on each side or until golden, then place on kitchen paper to drain
To serve, place some rice in each bowl, place the crispy tofu on top and pour over the curry sauce. Serve with sliced spring onions or shallots and some julienned carrot
First published in 2016

Brazilian food and travel blogger, living in London.

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