Family-Friendly Vegan Recipes / Vegan Mains

Japanese tofu curry

An easy and quick curry loaded with warm ginger and spiced flavour, this Japanese Tofu Curry is a balanced bowl of goodness ready in 30 minutes.

An easy and quick curry loaded with warm ginger and spiced flavour, this crispy tofu Japanese curry is a balanced bowl of goodness.

An easy and quick curry loaded with warm ginger and spiced flavour, this crispy tofu Japanese curry is a balanced bowl of goodness.

We have a lovely little Japanese kitchen not two minutes from our house where we are regular customers. It’s our go-to when Mummy isn’t up to battling the Elf to eat her dinner; she loves her maki rolls, I love not arguing so it’s a win-win. I am faithful to the kitchen’s Tofu Teriyaki-don and am planning to heist the recipe but I also catch myself eyeing off the Husband’s Chicken Katsu Curry. I don’t indulge, obviously, but I am a human-girl flawed like everyone else and I must confess – that chicken curry smells good. I am not a vegan warrior, I am a meat and dairy-free human who still remembers how yummy that stuff is and reminds herself regularly – I love the animals more. It can be a tough gig especially when the yummy is wafting under my nose from the Husband’s bowl.

However, where there is a will there is a way and after breaking down the original katsu chicken curry recipe I find the yum isn’t in the bird, it’s in the SAUCE.

An easy and quick curry loaded with warm ginger and spiced flavour, this crispy tofu Japanese curry is a balanced bowl of goodness.

Japanese Tofu Curry in less than 30 minutes

I based this vegan version of Japanese Tofu Curry on a lovely recipe from Emma Knowles  and am so completely chuffed with the result. The sauce in this curry is slightly sweet, warmly ginger-ish and spiced just enough with garam masala and curry powder. Additionally, this curry sauce is quick. While I do love slow cooked curries with their layers of deep flavours, I can’t go past a deeply flavourful sauce made in fifteen minutes flat.

To balance the creamy, thick sauce texture and to best emulate the original chicken katsu (“katsu” is short for “katsuretsu” the Japanese transliteration of the word cutlet), I crumbed slices of silky tofu in panko crumbs and fried. Ooo la la – no wait, that’s French. I didn’t take Japanese at school. Holy miso paste that’s good? I am calling it; vegetables or tofu cooked to crispy perfection in panko crumbs is always a good idea. Unless you’re gluten-free. Sorry

Served with a steamy bowl of jasmine rice, a scattering of spring onion and julienne carrots, this Japanese tofu curry is a quick, flavourful and wonderfully layered curry option. Quick to prepare this warming, gently ginger and slightly spiced curry will certainly make many more appearances on our table. The Husband doesn’t miss the chicken and the Elf even ate her share. In a family of omnivores, this is high praise indeed.


An easy and quick curry loaded with warm ginger and spiced flavour, this crispy tofu Japanese curry is a balanced bowl of goodness.

crispy tofu Japanese curry 3
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4.38 from 8 votes

Japanese Tofu Curry

An easy and quick curry loaded with warm ginger and spiced flavour, this Japanese Tofu Curry is a balanced bowl of goodness.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese/Vegan
Keyword Tofu Curry
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 3 serves
Author Logan



  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil (not olive)
  • 1 brown onion finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon 5ml curry powder
  • 2 tablespoon plain flour (I use spelt because that's what we keep in the pantry)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon rice syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 300 grams medium to firm Momen tofu
  • 1/4 cup soy or almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs vegan
  • vegetable oil to shallow frysteamed rice to servesliced shallots or spring onions to servejulienne carrots to serve


  • To make the curry sauce, heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, ginger and garlic and sauté until tender, around 3 minutes.
  • Add curry powder and stir until fragrant.
  • Stir in flour and cook for 1 and half minutes.
  • Slowly whisk in the stock, add the soy sauce and rice syrup and simmer stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens.
  • Stir in rice vinegar and garam masala and keep warm.
  • To make the crispy tofu, turn tofu out on to a kitchen towel to drain.
  • Slice tofu block in to 1cm (approx 1/2 inch) thick slices.
  • Put flour on a plate, the milk in a medium bowl and the Panko crumbs on another plate. Sit them beside each other with a large plate at the end to put the finished crumbed tofu.
  • Roll each slice of the tofu in the flour, then the milk and finally roll in the crumbs.
  • Heat enough oil to fill a fry pan 1/2 inch. Test heat by flicking some cold water in, if it sizzles, it's ready.
  • Shallow fry the tofu for around 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Place on kitchen paper to drain.
  • To serve, place a few good spoons of steamed rice on to a plate or in a bowl, place the crumbed tofu around and spoon a curry sauce over. Serve with fresh shallots and carrot


crispy tofu japanese curry

About Author

Amanda Logan is a published cookbook author, recipe developer and food photographer based in Australia. She has appeared in Thrive Magazine, Vegan Food and Living, The Zoe Report and The Australian Vegan Magazine.

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AmandaJoshua HowardAmanda at My Goodness KitchenKaren BrydenLogan Recent comment authors
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Joshua Howard

5 stars
Hi Amanda! I really like your recipes! I have a question. What can I use to replace rice syrup or honey?

Karen Bryden
Karen Bryden

5 stars
I’ve made this several times now for my family and it’s our absolute favourite dinner! I double up the quantities and it feeds four hungry ones. The softness of the tofu paired with the crispy breadcrumbs is so delicious – thank you!


4 stars
Made this last weekend and turned out really nice! Made it for my family of 4 including me so I doubled the recipe but it still wasn’t enough! Guess we were just really hungry haha. I ended up getting Japanese curry powder from my local grocery store in the international isle and it tasted so yummy. One thing however, I was tasting as I went along and the rice vinegar kind of put me off and ruined the taste despite putting the correct amount, tried to balance it out but the taste was still there in the end :/

Nick p
Nick p

Not sure how call the Japanese when you two main spices from India. Curry powder and Garam masala. Just saying!


5 stars
this looks divine! I managed to DIY the wagamama katsu curry at home but it’s a lot more complicated than this (who has time to shallow fry carrots until they’re soft enough to blend?) – will definitely be trying this! to make it even quicker, we often use vegan chicken burgers/nuggets instead of breaded meat – it’s a bit of a cheat but much easier for a busy weeknight dinner


This looks delicious! How many does this recipe feed?


Oh my this was amazing! Made this gluten free w cassava flour and gluten free breadcrumbs and it turned out great.

Steve and Gabrielle
Steve and Gabrielle

This is absolutely delicious Amanda. Another great meal to add to the repertoire and we look forward to trying more of your recipes. We have made your olive and rosemary spelt loaf a few times and that is a winner too! We really enjoy the stories that go with each recipe, as they give a real sense of how you have come to making it and also an insight into your daily musings with the family. Thanks for your candour and your take on life and food.
Take care and enjoy a great 2017

Quite Good Food

We had this for dinner last night and it was delicious! I didn’t have any fresh ginger (there’s always something missing!) so I subbed 1/2 a tsp of ground ginger and it worked just fine. Even the seven year old loved it, great family meal thank you 🙂

Lis @ The Fare Sage

Thanks so much Amanda – we adore japanese curry and now I don’t have to use the packet stuff anymore! Hurray!