Simple Tofu Katsu Recipe

Japanese cuisine offers an array of flavorful and nutrition-packed dishes that are popular worldwide. Ramen and sushi may be the first dishes to come to mind, but another dish that's just as popular is katsu. Katsu refers to a style of cooking in which a cutlet — usually pork or chicken — is breaded and fried. This vegan version uses tofu instead of meat. Since tofu is neutral in taste, it will take on whatever seasonings are used in the recipe. This seasoned tender tofu with a crispy panko breading is perfect for those who love the idea of katsu but want a vegan option.

Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe for simple tofu katsu and says, "Not only is tofu katsu absolutely delicious, but it's also easy to make and budget-friendly. I love stocking up on tofu because it has a long shelf life in the fridge, and with a few other pantry basics I can whip up this dish."

Whether you follow a vegan diet or just want to try a delicious light meal, you'll love this easy version of katsu that's ready in 20 minutes.

Gather the ingredients for simple tofu katsu

To make this recipe, start by picking up some super firm tofu. "Super firm tofu is usually shrink-wrapped instead of coming packed in water. The beauty of this variety is that it doesn't need to be pressed before using," Hahn shares.

Then you'll need soy milk along with some pantry staples — all-purpose flour, cornstarch, paprika, salt, pepper, panko breadcrumbs, and avocado oil.

If you want to serve the katsu with rice, make sure you have that on hand, and a garnish of some shelled edamame and chopped scallions is a nice addition to the katsu.

Step 1: Dry the tofu

Remove the tofu from the package and dry it with a paper towel.

Step 2: Slice the tofu

Slice the tofu into 3 thick slices.

Step 3: Make the wet mixture

In a shallow bowl combine the soy milk, flour, cornstarch, paprika, salt, and pepper.

Step 4: Put the panko in a bowl

Place the panko in another shallow bowl.

Step 5: Dredge the tofu into the wet and dry bowls

Dip the tofu into the soymilk mixture, then into the panko, coating both sides.

Step 6: Add oil to a pan

Add the oil to a large pan and bring the heat to medium-high.

Step 7: Cook the tofu

Place the breaded tofu into the pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side.

Step 8: Serve the katsu

Serve tofu katsu over rice and garnish with edamame and scallions, if desired.

How can I customize the simple tofu katsu?

If you like spicy food and want to add some heat to the tofu katsu, you can do that in a few of ways. You can add a couple of teaspoons of sriracha to the soymilk mixture to kick up the heat. In addition to that, you can add spices to the breading mixture, such as cayenne pepper, chili powder, or red pepper flakes to deliver more flavor.

To add more crunch to the panko mixture you can mix crushed nuts such as almonds or cashews into the breading to add both flavor and texture. Or you can coat the tofu in toasted sesame seeds along with the breadcrumbs for a nutty and visually appealing crust.

If you're looking for a gluten-free crust, buy gluten-free breadcrumbs, or use toasted quinoa or crushed rice cereal as the breading. You'll also want to use gluten-free flour in the milk mixture. "I like to use chickpea flour, millet flour, or oat flour when I want to use a gluten-free option for breading," Hahn shares.

What to serve with simple tofu katsu?

A simple dipping sauce pairs well with the tofu katsu. "I like to make a 4-ingredient sauce to go with this tofu. Combine ¼ cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, and ⅛ teaspoon of garlic granules," Hahn shares. You can also use a ponzu sauce or just plain soy sauce.

For a satisfying meal, serve tofu katsu over a bed of steamed white or brown rice. The mild flavor of rice complements the savory tofu katsu and goes well with the sauces. Add some shelled edamame for extra protein. For a tangy and refreshing contrast to the fried tofu, include a side of kimchi or pickled vegetables, such as radishes, cucumbers, or daikon.

For a vibrant and flavorful side dish to servealongside the tofu katsu, stir-fry vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, and snap peas in a soy-ginger glaze. Garlicky spinach or other greens also make a simple and nutritious side. 

Simple Tofu Katsu Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
Vegan tofu katsu is simple to make and delicious to eat. Tender tofu takes on flavorful seasonings, and the crispy panko breading provides the perfect crunch.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
10
minutes
Servings
3
Servings
katsu on plate with chopsticks
Total time: 20 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 (16-ounce) package of super firm tofu
  • ½ cup soy milk
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup avocado oil
Optional Ingredients
  • rice
  • edamame
  • scallions
Directions
  1. Remove the tofu from the package and dry it with a paper towel.
  2. Slice the tofu into 3 thick slices.
  3. In a shallow bowl combine the soy milk, flour, cornstarch, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  4. Place the panko in another shallow bowl.
  5. Dip the tofu into the soymilk mixture, then into the panko, coating both sides.
  6. Add the oil to a large pan and bring the heat to medium-high.
  7. Place the breaded tofu into the pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side.
  8. Serve tofu katsu over rice and garnish with edamame and scallions, if desired.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 512
Total Fat 32.3 g
Saturated Fat 4.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 31.2 g
Dietary Fiber 5.0 g
Total Sugars 2.0 g
Sodium 563.8 mg
Protein 29.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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