Tofu Katsu Curry | Crispy, Panko-Breaded Tofu with mild Curry Sauce

This easy Tofu Katsu Curry is my vegetarian version of the classic Japanese Classic Tonkatsu, usually made with chicken or pork. Served with steaming rice and a mildly spiced, creamy curry sauce, this dish makes a fantastic comfort food recipe for all seasons.

Tofu Katsu Curry - panko breaded tofu with curry sauce | the vegetrian version of tonkatsu

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I admit that today’s recipe for Japanese Tofu Katsu is more category comfort food than diet food. It’s a bit like a veggie twist on chicken nuggets, or schnitzel, using tofu instead of meat.

The key element of this recipe is the extremely crispy breading! For our Tofu Katsu, we are using Japanese Panko for a super crisp breaded coating. Panko has a light, airy, and delicate texture that helps it crisp as it cooks. The texture of panko makes it perfect for fried food like tofu katsu because it absorbs way less oil than breadcrumbs, and keeps food more crisp and crunchy than regular breadcrumbs.

Tofu Katsu - Japanese Panko breaded Tofu Schnitzel with mild Curry Sauce

These little tofu nuggets are incredibly crispy and highly addictive. Tofu Katsu is traditionally served with rice and a mildly spices Japanese Curry Sauce.

Japanese Tofu Katsu with Curry Sauce and rice

Could I eat these crunchy little tofu bites all the time? DEFINITELY! But we all know that fried food should be a once-in-a-while kind of thing. It sure is a special treat for when you feel like some homemade fast food without all the added preservatives and sugars. Did I mention that tofu katsu makes a great vegetarian Super Bowl Snack? Skip the rice and just serve the panko-breaded tofu with a bowl of curry sauce for dipping!

Tofu Katsu - mit Panko panierter Tofu Schnitzel

Make sure you fry these little tofu nuggets directly before consumption as they taste best fresh out of the frying oil. These also brown pretty quickly so don’t even start puttering around the kitchen while frying them.

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Japanese Tofu Katsu with Curry Sauce and rice
5 from 5 votes

Tofu Katsu Curry - Crispy, Panko-Breaded Tofu with Curry Sauce

This easy Tofu Katsu Curry is my vegetarian version of the Japanese Classic Tonkatsu, usually made with chicken or pork. Served with steaming rice and a mildly spiced, creamy curry sauce, this dish makes a fantastic comfort food recipe for all seasons.

Course dinner, main, Snack
Cuisine Japanese
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 806 kcal
Author Kiki Johnson


  • 300 g firm tofu
  • 200 g rice Japanese rice
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb-sized piece ginger
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 piece star anise
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 400 ml vegetable broth I like to use low-sodium
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 100 g panko crumbs Japanese breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • salt, pepper, sugar
  • 400 ml oil for frying


  1. Take tofu out of the package and wrap in a couple of layers of paper towels. Put wrapped tofu on your counter and place a weight on the tofu.  Your weight should be heavy enough to press down evenly across the top of the tofu, but not so heavy so as to cause the tofu block to crumble. Press for about  30 minutes.

  2. Rinse the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes, if you have time.  Drain and add to a medium-sized pot and add water until rice is barely covered.  Turn on the stove to medium-high, bring to a boil and let boil for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to the lowest setting, put the lid on and let  boil for 10 minutes without lifting the lid. Take pot off the stove without removing the lid and let stand until it's time to serve. 

  3. Peel the onion and slice thinly. Peel and chop garlic and grate the ginger. 

  4. In a pot or a deep pan, heat 1 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add onions and let fry for 3 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and fry for another minute. Make sure, your garlic does not brown. Add curry, star anise and turmeric and stir. Add a tbsp of butter and add 2 tbsp of flour, stirring well. Let flour fry with spices for about a minute, then slowly add 400 ml of broth, stirring all the time. Season with 1 tsp of sugar, 3/4 tsp of salt, vinegar and soy sauce. Let sauce come to a boil and let simmer on low heat for 7 to 10 minutes. Stir every once in a while.

  5. Cut pressed tofu into cubes of 4 to 6 cm and season with salt and pepper and chilli powder. Put panko into a shallow bowl. Measure out 100 g of flour in a separate bowl. Break egg into a bowl and mix.  

  6. Pour frying oil into a big pot and bring up to 170 to 175 Celsius (347 F). Bread the tofu by dredging it first in the flour mixture, then in the beaten egg (let excess drip off), and finally in the panko breadcrumbs. Pat the breadcrumbs on to help them adhere.

  7. Let tofu nuggets slide into the hot oil. Make sure not to add more than 4 at a time. If the temperature of the oil drops after adding the tofu, adjust your burner heat to keep a constant frying temperature between 330-350 degrees. Fry the katsu tofu until golden brown, turning them once to allow for even browning. Carefully transfer the tofu to a plate lined with paper towels, and repeat the process for the remaining tofu. 

  8. Fluff up the rice with your fork. Serve tofu katsu immediately with rice and curry sauce.

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Tofu Katsu Curry | Japanese crispy Panko Breaded Tofu with Curry Sauce and rice


  1. That looks so moreish! I’m wondering if the sauce would keep? Have you tried (freezing or just keeping it in the fridge)

    • Thanks so much Fiona. I haven’t tried freezing it, but I think it could be done. I am pretty positive that the sauce keeps in the fridge for about 3 days. Cheers, Kiki

  2. I love katsu curry and though I’ve not tried any vegetarian katsus, this looks absolutely amazing!

  3. That curry sauce looks and sounds mouthwatering – so many delicious spices.

  4. Okay. I will be making this over the weekend as katsu is my all time favorite meal! I love how you used tofu instead. Such a game changer!

  5. Oh my goodness, this looks to-die for!! I LOVE everything about it (except the nutritionist in me wants to swap out that white rice for black rice) 😉 I can’t wait to try this! Love your hair too!

    • Thanks so much Catherine!You are so sweet. The white rice is the traditional Japanese way of serving it but we often skip the rice altogether and serve this dish with broccoli rice to make up for the fried tofu. It works quite well and is still filling enough to be a full meal. Black rice sounds like another delicious option. So many ways to tweak this recipe!
      Cheers, Kiki

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