If you have ever found yourself on the hunt for the crispiest, crunchiest tofu, look no further. The tofu katsu in these vegan tofu katsu bowls is so unbelievably crunchy. There is no comparison. This is my new favorite way to eat tofu, and it is so simple, it will blow your mind. Fry up some tofu katsu, serve with jasmine rice, pickled veggies and an easy sweet, spicy, umami sauce inspired by Tonkatsu sauce. I can’t stop dreaming about this meal, and I’m pretty sure it will haunt your dreams as well.
So, let’s talk about katsu. Generally made using chicken, this Japanese dish is basically fried chicken. The breading is made with panko, then the chicken is fried until super brown and crispy. Well, of course there is pretty much nothing tofu can’t do, and I promise you will never miss the chicken!
Tonakatsu sauce is traditionally made to dip the katsu in. So, I made my own vegan version to drizzle over the entire bowl of tofu, rice and picked veggies. It is all so freaking delicious. There is something so perfect about the combination of fried food and vinegary pickles that I can’t get enough of. So it seemed only natural to pair this tofu with pickles.
I used red onions and carrots for the pickles, but there are a lot of vegetables that would work. You could use cucumber for a traditional pickle. Pickled green beans are amazing. However, I do love the combination I used. This meal is so simple, but get a bite of tofu, rice, pickled veggies and sauce all together and your life will forever be changed. This is a great recipe to make right now, since it uses a lot of pantry ingredients and only a few items from the fridge. These vegan tofu katsu bowls are on serious repeat at my house, I can’t get enough!
Crispy Japanese style fried tofu, pickled veggies and sauce served over rice.
- 1/2 a Red onion, sliced
- 2 Large Carrots, sliced
- 1 Cup White vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 Cup Water
- 3 Fresh chives
- 2 Cloves Garlic, smashed
- 1 Tablespoon Organic cane sugar
- 2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 Block(15oz.) Extra firm tofu, drained and pressed*
- 3/4 Cup Almond milk or non-dairy milk of choice
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3/4 Cup All purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 Cups Panko bread crumbs
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 Cup Organic Ketchup
- 2 teaspoon Chili sauce, I used Asian Chili Garlic sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Agave syrup
- Jasmine rice
- Chives for topping
First, make the pickled veggies. Add the sliced red onions and carrots to a large heat safe bowl.
Add the vinegar, water, chives, garlic, sugar and salt to a small sauce pan. Heat the sauce pan on medium high, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for a minute until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from heat and pour over the onions and carrots. Make sure the onions and carrots are submerged in the liquid and set aside. Let pickle while you make the rest.
Now, make the tofu. After the tofu has been pressed, slice the block of tofu into about 1/4-1/2 inch slices.
Now, take three medium sized bowls. Add the non-dairy milk and Dijon to one bowl, whisk to combine. Add the flour and salt to the second bowl, stir to combine. Add the panko to the third bowl.
Put one slice of tofu into the flour, coat completely, then into the milk coat completely, then back in the flour, then back into the milk, then into the panko. Make sure the tofu is totally coated in panko. Repeat with all the tofu. Placing on a plate as you go.
Now, heat about 1/2 an inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium high. Heat to about 350 degrees(F). There should be tiny bubbles forming in the oil.
Fry a few pieces of tofu at a time for 2-4 minutes per side, or until they are super brown and crispy. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel, sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Repeat until all the tofu is done.
Now make the sauce, whisk the ketchup, chili sauce, soy sauce and agave in a small bowl.
Serve with rice, tofu and pickled veggies on top, then drizzle with the sauce. Top with chives.
If you prefer not to fry the tofu, you can bake it. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Place the tofu on the baking sheet and spray the tops of the tofu with more non-stick spray. Bake at 400 degrees(F). For about 15 minutes, flip and bake another 10-15 minutes or until the tofu is brown and crispy.
*If you need more information on pressing tofu, check out my TOFU COOKING GUIDE.