Family-Friendly Vegan Recipes / Vegan Mains

Japanese Tofu Curry

Like it? Share it. Thank you!

Last updated on May 19th, 2020 at 02:42 pm

An easy and quick curry with warming ginger, curry and garam masala, this Japanese Tofu Curry is a delicious bowl of comfort ready in around 30 minutes.

A bowl of Japanese tofu curry with rice


Curry most likely arrived in Japan in the 19th century with the British who were ruling India at the time. Tweaked to suit local tastes, Japanese curry is sweeter and more subtle than Indian curry. It has far less heat and is more stew-like than other curries. Japanese Curry or karē is commonly served one of three ways:

karē raisu – over rice

karē udon – over noodles and 

karē pan – curry bread


We have a lovely little Japanese kitchen not two minutes from our house. It’s our go – to when Mummy isn’t up to battling the Elf to eat her dinner; she loves her maki rolls and 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 curry. IT SMELLS SO GOOD!

The restaurant serves both a chicken curry and a pork curry, neither of which I can eat. 

Thankfully, it’s no longer an issue.  After breaking down the original katsu chicken curry recipe I found 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.


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.

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 overhead image of the finished Japanese tofu curry with white rice, scallions and sliced carrot

Hungry for More Plant-Based Goodness?  Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on FacebookPinterest and Instagram for all the latest news and updates

More curry recipes:

Easy Red Lentil Masala with Spinach 

Walk-Away Chickpea Tomato and Spinach Curry

Mushroom and Chickpea Tikka Masala

close-up image of Japanese tofu curry in a black bowl

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.
4.5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese/Vegan
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 serves
Calories: 448kcal
Author: Amanda Logan



  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil or a neutral flavoured oil
  • 1 brown onion finely sliced
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp plain flour (I use spelt because that's what we keep in the pantry)
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp tamari
  • 1 ½ tbsp rice syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 300 grams medium to firm Momen tofu
  • ¼ cup soy or almond milk
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • cup panko crumbs vegan
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil to shallow fry
  • 2 cups steamed rice
  • 1 scallion sliced in to rounds to serve
  • 1 carrot peeled and julienned


  • 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 a 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, pop the tofu out on to a kitchen towel to drain for 10 minutes.
  • 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


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Sodium: 1170mg | Potassium: 176mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2823IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 148mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?I'd love to hear your feedback. Rate it & leave your feedback in the comments section below. Or you can tag @mygoodnesskitchen or hashtag #mygoodnesskitchen on Instagram. Thank you!

Front on image of a black bowl full of japanese tofu curry with steamed rice sitting on a rustic wooden board

crispy tofu japanese curry

Like it? Share it. Thank you!

About Author

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

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jean Bernon
Jean Bernon
January 11, 2020 11:18 am

5 stars
My goodness this is absolutely amazing. I made it tonight and I got a 10 on 10 from my wife which is not normally easy from her as she’s a good cook. Thank you so much.

Joshua Howard
August 22, 2019 4:11 pm

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
May 1, 2019 7:01 pm

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!

February 11, 2019 4:03 am

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 :/

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x