This easy vegan Japanese Tofu Katsu recipe tastes as delicious as the popular crispy crusted sweet and sour chicken steak from your favorite Asian restaurant! Serve it with sweet chili sauce or tonkatsu sauce over rice and napa cabbage for a satisfying lunch or dinner that’s better than takeout!
What is “katsu”?
Katsu is a popular dish in Japan that can be served in a variety of ways. The popular Japanese “Chicken Katsu” is basically a simple dish of crispy fried chicken fillets with panko breading that’s often served with a sweet and fruity Katsu curry sauce. Another popular variation is the “tonkatsu” of pork cutlet that’s traditionally served with a sweet-and-sour sauce over rice and chopped napa cabbage, similar to my vegan tofu katsu.
However, there are many more different Katsu variations in Japan, like “Menchikatsu” made of minced meat, “Gyukatsu” made of beef, up to Katsu recipes with ham, cheese, fish and seafood or vegan with tofu – the possibilities are endless!
Tofu Katsu Curry and Tonkatsu
Basically, you can serve your tofu katsu with any Japanese sauce and side dish, because the crispy crusted vegan steak goes well with everything! With all these various possibilities, my tofu katsu recipe is inspired by the Tonkatsu serving suggestion with rice and napa cabbage. While I haven’t served this dish with a classic Katsu Curry or Tonkatsu sauce, I created my own version with homemade sweet chili sauce because I love this combination so much!
Sweet and sour tonkatsu chili sauce
The traditional tonkatsu sauce is basically a Japanese-style BBQ sauce for roasted or grilled meat. The main ingredients are ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and other spices such as garlic and chili. It tastes sour, salty, and sweet at the same time – so pure umami flavor!
Since Worcestershire sauce often contains fish sauce and is therefore not vegan, I recommend checking the list of ingredients when buying it. Alternatively, you could also skip it and use a little more soy sauce or tamari. Instead of ketchup, I prefer to use my homemade sweet chili sauce, because it gives the dip more spicy flavor. So even though my Tofu Katsu is probably not served exactly the same way as the traditional original recipe from Japan, it is absolutely delicious with 100% flavor!
How to make Tofu Katsu (Easy Vegan Steak)
Step 1: Slice tofu and press dry
First, cut the tofu into 3 slices. Then wrap it in paper towels (or in a clean tea towel) to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. I highly recommend watching the recipe video to see how to make it.
Step 2: Bread the tofu
To make the tofu breading, you need 2 shallow bowls. In one bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the flour mixture (soy milk, flour, cornstarch, paprika powder, and salt). Place the Panko breadcrumbs in the other bowl.
First, dip the tofu slices into the flour mixture and then roll them in the Panko breadcrumbs, until they’re evenly coated. Then place the Tofu Katsu Steaks on a plate.
Step 3: Fry the Tofu Katsu & prepare side dishes
Now heat some oil in a large pan and fry the breaded tofu schnitzel for about 5 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. Meanwhile, you can cook the rice, chop the napa cabbage, and mix all the ingredients for the sauce.
Step 4: Serve & enjoy your meal!
Once everything is ready, slice your crispy Tofu Katsu Schnitzel so it’s easier to eat with chopsticks. Then place it over rice and shredded napa cabbage and drizzle the sweet and sour chili sauce over it. Sprinkle fresh spring onions and some sesame seeds over your Asian dish and drizzle with a splash of lime juice. Enjoy your dish!
This Vegan Japanese Tofu Katsu recipe is:
- Dairy-free (lactose-free)
- Easy to make
- Tastes like in a Chinese restaurant
- Perfect for lunch or dinner!
- Better than takeout!
More Vegan Asian, Chinese, Japanese, or Thai Recipes to try:
- Yaki Onigiri (Crispy Japanese Rice Balls)
- General Tso’s Tofu with Sweet-Sour Sauce
- Asian Chili Garlic Noodles
- Crispy Sesame Tofu with Tahini Peanut Sauce
- Vegan Sushi (Easy Recipe)
- Korean Bibimbap with crispy Tofu
- Vegan Pad Thai with Veggie Noodles and Tofu
- Chinese Eggplant with Chili Garlic Sauce
- Vegan dumplings with vegetable filling
- Scallion Pancakes (Chinese flatbread)
- Asian Peanut Noodles with Crispy Tofu
If you try this easy tofu katsu recipe, feel free to leave a comment and review how you liked it! And if you take a picture of your crispy crusted tofu steak and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka, because I love seeing your remakes! Have fun cooking!
Tofu Katsu with spicy sweet-sour SauceAuthor:
- 1 block firm tofu 10.5 oz
- oil for frying
- 3.5 oz panko breadcrumbs or other (gluten-free) breadcrumbs or crushed cornflakes
*Note: Make sure to watch the recipe video + check out the step-by-step photos above!
- First, cut the tofu into 3 slices. Then wrap it in paper towels (or in a clean tea towel) and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. It is best to place a heavy pan or another heavy object on top of it and set aside for about ½ hour until the tofu looks very dry.
- Now take 2 shallow bowls. In one bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the flour mixture (soy milk, flour, corn starch, paprika powder, and salt). Place the Panko breadcrumbs into the other bowl.
- Dip the tofu slices into the flour mixture first, then roll them in the Panko breadcrumbs and finally place them on a plate.
- Heat some oil in a large pan and fry the breaded tofu slices for about 5 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy.
- Meanwhile, cook the rice, chop the napa cabbage and stir together all the ingredients for the sauce.
- Cut the crispy tofu katsu into slices and serve it over rice and napa cabbage with the sauce. Sprinkle with fresh spring onions and sesame seeds as desired. Drizzle a splash of lime juice over your meal and enjoy it!
- For a low-fat option, you can also bake the Tofu Katsu (see Tofu Nuggets recipe).
- Nutrition facts are just calculated without side dishes and sauce.
- More information about this recipe can be found in the blog post above.
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