Katsu curries (even vegan ones) are becoming increasing common in restaurants and supermarkets, but if you glace at the nutritional information, more than likely you’ll be shocked at how many calories and how much oil there is. This recipe is a ‘healthier’ take on these. Here we bake our tofu instead of deep or shallow frying and instead of a high calorie sauce that’s swimming in oil and milks, we use blended vegetables. Don’t be fooled however, this curry is still just as tasty!
This recipe calls for firm or extra firm tofu which needs to be pressed to get some of the excess water out of it. The recipe gives instructions on how to press tofu but if you want to try something different, here are a few tricks that I have learnt over the years for drying out tofu better than traditional pressing does:
- Put the whole container of tofu in the freezer until frozen (it can be frozen for as long as you wish) and get it out a few hours before you plan to use it to let it defrost – this brings out so much more water than traditional pressing does.
- Once your tofu is defrosted, drain the excess water and place on a plate and microwave for approximately 20 secs, a lot of water should come out – mop this up with a clean tea towel or paper towel.
Tofu is one of my favourite vegan protein sources as it’s so versatile and absorbs any flavours that you want it to. Beans (kidney, pinto, chickpeas, garden peas, lentils… etc. ) are some of the most disease preventing foods on the earth, and tofu is just fermented soy beans! Tofu has been put to the test for many decades for prevention and treatment of cancers (such as breast and prostate) and the results are incredible! Animal proteins can be so harsh on our livers and causes a lot of inflammation and even protein leakage in the urine whereas tofu is proven to come with none of these complications!
I definitely recommend giving this curry a try – I’m always shocked at how creamy the blended vegetables make the sauce! Serve this curry with rice and maybe some vegetables on the side.
For the Sauce
1 large onion
1 large carrot
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons curry powder (mild or medium)
Salt and black pepper
165ml full fat coconut milk
1 tsp syrup (maple or golden will do)
2 tsp lemon juice
For the Crispy Tofu:
1 block firm or extra firm tofu (approx. 400g)
80ml plant based milk (I used soy)
(Optional) 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon mustard
Salt and pepper
70g golden breadcrumbs
Firstly, prepare the tofu by pressing it (alternatively you can use techniques discussed above). To press the tofu, get it out the package and wrap it in either a clean tea towel or paper towels and place on a plate. Grab something heavy (books, crockery, I used my weighing scale) and place on top of this to press the water out. Leave the tofu like this for 1 hour, swapping the towels if they become saturated with water.
Secondly chop up the carrots, and onions and either finely dice or mince the garlic. Fry the onions and carrots over medium heat in water for about 10 mins until they are becoming more translucent, feel free to add more water if needed. Then add the garlic and stir to combine. Stir in the curry powder and cook for a few minutes longer before stirring in the coconut milk, syrup and lemon juice. Season very well with salt and pepper! Cook on medium low heat for about 30 minutes until the carrots are very soft. Feel free to add water along the way if you feel it is needed.
Now we prepare the crispy tofu. Pre heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Chop up the tofu into little nugget sized pieces. Mix together the milk, nutritional yeast (if using), mustard and plenty of salt and pepper in a shallow bowl and place the breadcrumbs in a separate shallow bowl. One by one, coat the tofu in the milk mixture and then in the breadcrumbs before laying on a baking sheet. You may find it easier and less messy to have one hand in the wet milk mixture and one hand in the dry breadcrumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Once the carrots are very soft on the hob, we must blend it! Using an immersion hand blender, take the pan off the heat and start to blend until very smooth. You will need to add some boiling water to thin it out at this point as it will be super thick, start with 100ml and add more depending on how thick you like the sauce. Blend again! Now adjust to your taste – adding more curry powder, lemon, salt, pepper or syrup as you like.
Serve the crispy tofu with a generous amount of the sauce on top. You may wish to garnish with a little coriander or some sliced green onion.