Vegan Katsu Curry

This vegan katsu curry recipe features breaded tofu cutlets doused in a Japanese curry sauce and served over rice. This is the ultimate in Asian comfort food and this vegan version will be a highlight of your plant-based kitchen.

A plate has rice, fried tofu, and vegetarian katsu curry. There's a small bowl of soy sauce and another plate behind it.

I’m a big fan of this easy vegan katsu curry because it’s a flavorful dish that comes together in minutes. Some nights you just want comfort food at its finest and this one delivers!

Curry recipes were introduced in Japan over 100 years ago and the katsu curry evolved from that. Although the standard katsu curry contains meat, it’s very easy to create a vegan version.

Marly’s Tips

  • Adding panko bread crumbs to pressed tofu makes a crispy cutlet, perfect for serving with katsu curry
  • Using the right blend of curry powder makes the curry sauce, especially when combined with tender carrots and potatoes, taste amazing
  • Serving over cooked rice makes this dish easy to make in a pinch and great for weeknight dishes.
An image shows a spread of ingredients with labels next to them. The labels read, "soy sauce, vegetable broth, rice, potatoes, carrots, onion, curry, garlic powder, salt, tofu, olive oil, bread crumbs, and parsley."

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Olive oil
  • Onions
  • Carrots — You’ll need about 2 carrots cut into thin slices.
  • Potatoes — I recommend using either russet or Yukon Gold potatoes because of their high-starch content that makes them cook more quickly and helps the sauce become thicker.
  • Curry powder — I recommend McCormick’s curry because it has the best combination of ingredients. I prefer curry powder that has fenugreek in the ingredients.
  • Soy sauce — If you prefer gluten-free, you can substitute tamari.
  • Vegetable broth — I recommend using a high-quality vegetable broth and I oftentimes use Better than Bouillon vegetarian combined with water.
  • Agave Nectar — You can substitute maple syrup.
  • Tofu — You’ll need a block of extra-firm tofu, between 12 and 15 ounces in size. See below for substituting cauliflower or even chickpeas.
  • Bread Crumbs — Panko bread crumbs are the best and they have them in regular or gluten-free. However, I’ve found the gluten-free bread crumbs don’t get the same golden color when fried, but they still taste great.
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • Cooked Rice — You can buy rice pre-cooked or make your own homemade brown rice.
  • Garnish — I like to sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley or cilantro on top of individual servings, but this optional.

How to Make Vegan Katsu Curry

  1. Make the katsu curry sauce by cooking onions, carrots, and cubed potatoes with oil in a saucepan. Cook until the onion is tender and the vegetables are starting to become tender.
  2. Stir in the curry, soy sauce, broth, and agave nectar and simmer (low boil) for 15 to 20 minutes. Use a fork or a spatula to mash a few of the potato cubes to make the sauce thicker.
  3. Cut pressed tofu into 5 to 6 rectangular strips.
  4. Stir together the bread crumbs, garlic powder, and salt. 
  5. Dip the tofu in the cooking katsu sauce. Then dip it in the bread crumbs, making sure all sides are covered. 
  6. Use tongs to place the breaded tofu slices in the heated oil.
  7. Fry the tofu for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
Chopped onions, carrots, and potatoes are cooking in a pan.
Breaded tofu is frying in a skillet and has a golden crust.

Serving Suggestions

To serve tofu katsu curry, add cooked rice to a plate. Then place several fried tofu pieces beside and tilted slightly on the rice. Pour the hot katsu sauce over the top and on the side. Garnish with each serving with chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, or chopped green onions.

Storage Tips

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. This dish is not recommended for freezing.

Looking down on a plate full of vegetarian katsu curry with a bowl of soy sauce on one side and a fork on the other side.

Plant-Based Protein Options

Looking for alternatives to tofu? Here are some ideas to consider:

More Vegan Asian Dishes

Fried tofu sits on a bed of rice with a vegetable sauce beside it. There are bowls of soy sauce and rice behind it and another plate.

That’s it for this vegan katsu curry. Enjoy!

A plate has rice, fried tofu, and vegetarian katsu curry. There's a small bowl of soy sauce and another plate behind it.

Vegan Katsu Curry

This vegan katsu curry for Asian comfort food at it's finest. You'll love everything from the breaded, fried tofu to the curry-infused sauce, all served over rice.
5 from 2 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 413kcal
Author: Marly

Ingredients

Katsu Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup cubed potatoes (½-inch cubes) (Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (McCormick's curry is best)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar (or maple syrup)

Breaded Fried Tofu

  • 14 ounce extra-firm tofu
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

To Serve

  • 2 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley (or cilantro)

Instructions

For the Katsu Sauce

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onions, carrots, and potatoes. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion is tender and the vegetables are starting to become tender.
  • Stir in the curry, soy sauce, broth, and agave. Simmer (low boil) for 15 to 20 minutes. The sauce should thicken as it cooks. You can also use a fork or a spatula to press a few of the tender potato cubes to make the sauce thicker.

For the Breaded Fried Tofu

  • While the sauce is cooking, cut the pressed tofu into 5 to 6 rectangular strips.
  • In a bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, garlic powder, and salt.
  • Use tongs to dip the tofu in the cooking katsu sauce. Then dip it in the bread crumbs, making sure all sides are covered.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, use tongs to place the breaded tofu slices in the oil. Fry the tofu for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Use tongs to turn the slices to cook on the other side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.

To Serve:

  • Add some cooked rice to a plate. Place several fried tofu pieces beside and tilted slightly on the rice. Pour the hot katsu sauce over the top and on the side. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. This dish is not recommended for freezing.

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Notes

How to Press Tofu: 
I typically press my tofu early in the day to remove extra fluid. However, even 20 to 30 minutes of pressing will work.
  • Manual Method — Wrap the tofu block in paper towels or a kitchen towel and place it on a plate. Place something heavy over the top, such as a pan. Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Tofu Press — Place the tofu in the tofu press and follow the instructions to press the extra moisture out.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Katsu Curry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 413 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 12g60%
Sodium 778mg32%
Potassium 617mg18%
Carbohydrates 49g16%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 13g26%
Vitamin A 5486IU110%
Vitamin C 15mg18%
Calcium 82mg8%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

3 Responses to Vegan Katsu Curry

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyErren Reply

    Looks fantastic

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks, Erren!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJimmie Reply

    This is my new favorite comfort food!

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