This homemade vegan katsu curry is a winner for bringing your favourite eat-out option to your kitchen table. The gorgeous flavourful sauce, fluffy rice and fragrant toppings all make it so more-ish!
Katsu curry is known as one of Japan’s most popular dishes, and now it seems one of the U.K’s favourites. The sauce is rich in flavour, mildly spiced with a hint of sweetness – always an easy pleaser. Especially at Wagamama’s! It’s traditionally served with breaded chicken on a bed of rice, but I wanted to make my own vegan version to show you how quick and easy it can be done.
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What makes this vegan katsu curry recipe so straight forward?
Like most sauce recipes, the key for great results lies in layering the flavour at various stages of the cooking. You’ll start by frying off finely chopped onion, garlic and ginger. Simply by allowing these to cook for a few minutes, you’ll release their aromas and enhance the overall flavour of the dish. Then comes the spice mix and finally, the remaining ingredients step by step.
The final additions of tahini and peanut butter bring all the flavours together, and your eyes will be popping at the taste of it! The sauce is probably my favourite part of the whole meal (cue drool) and best eaten immediately once served (obviously!)
What’s the Best Type of Rice to Use for This Vegan Katsu Curry?
Standard basmati or long grain rice is perfect for this dish. I’ve used a mix of long grain and wild rice I found in Tesco as it contains slightly more protein and fibre. I cooked this with red lentils to further boost protein.
Lighter options include lentils on their own, quinoa, cauliflower rice or couscous.
How Did You Make Katsu Curry Vegan?
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In traditional katsu curry, there are a few animal products which you might see. These include egg, honey, chicken stock and chicken. The egg is usually used as part of the breadcrumb mix to coat the chicken, but I’ve used Quorn’s vegan chicken fillets as a short-cut which scraps the egg and meat altogether. Then instead of chicken stock, I’ve used vegetable stock and agave nectar instead of honey.
If you’re not able to get your hands on Quorn’s vegan chicken fillets, then here are a few alternative supermarket options:
- Quorn’s vegan nuggets or tex mex bites⠀
- Crunchy Tofu bites by Tofoo
- Vegan Chicken Pieces by Vivera
- Linda McCartney’s Vegan Chicken Bucket Pieces
- Frys Vegan Chicken
If you want to go that extra mile for a healthier option, here’s my advice.
How to go the extra mile and make this recipe more healthy?
I’ve used Quorn’s vegan chicken fillets as a quick and easy short-cut which makes this meal a breeze to cook, especially if you’re just in from work. I do love Quorn as there are so many benefits of cooking with it.
However, if you have some more time on your hands, you can make your own breaded tofu “chicken”. This is easily done by cutting strips of firm tofu and dunking them in a mix of plain flour, salt, black pepper, paprika and dairy-free milk. Then you evenly coat them in panko breadcrumbs, before frying each strip off in hot oil.
If you’d prefer to avoid fried food, you can place the ‘chicken’ strips on a cooking tray covered with non-stick parchment paper and bake them in the oven for approx. 25min at 180C.
It’s essential to use firm tofu for this type of thing, as soft tofu will break apart. If you’re in the U.K, I often use Tofoo’s extra firm tofu, which is organic.
If you LOVE this recipe, then I reckon you’ll also fall in love with my BAO-utiful Vegan Bao Buns with Katsu ‘Chicken’ and Fragrant herbs. They provide another fun way to use my vegan katsu sauce:
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments once you’ve given my vegan katsu curry a try. I’m sure you will adore the taste and be delighted by how yummy a Life Without Meat can be.
- 1 teaspoon of rapeseed oil
- 1 small white onion (60g), finely diced
- 1 heaped teaspoon of garlic puree OR 2 medium cloves crushed
- 1 knob (20g) of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 teaspoons of curry powder
- ⅛ teaspoon of turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon of garam masala
- 2 ½ teaspoons agave nectar (or maple syrup)
- 1 tablespoon tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
- 2 heaped teaspoons tomato puree
- 1/2 vegetable stock
- 250ml hot water
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon meridian crunchy peanut butter
- 70ml water
- 2 x vegan Quorn chicken fillets
- 120g wild rice
- 80g red lentils
- A generous handful of Spinach
- ½ red chilli
- 2 spring onions
- A small handful of fresh coriander
- ½ lime, juiced
- Pickled ginger (optional)
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C. Then prepare your onion and fresh ginger. You can also pre-prepare your vegetable stock by dissolving it in 250ml boiling water.
- Following packet instructions, put your rice and lentils on to cook with a pinch of salt to taste. Both will take more or less the same time to cook so you can put them in the same pot. You can also put your vegan chicken fillets in the oven to cook, and set your timer for 15 minutes.
- Next, heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. Then add your onion, ginger and garlic puree. Stir and let cook for a few minutes.
- Slowly add half of the vegetable stock to the pan, stirring in between. This helps the onion soften.
- Let this cook for a few minutes then add the curry powder, garam masala and turmeric. Stir and cook for a further few minutes whilst stirring in the remaining stock.
- Stir in the agave nectar, tamari sauce and tomato puree. Then add the tahini and peanut butter. You'll notice the sauce becomes a lovely creamy orange colour. Stir and leave to simmer on a low heat for 8-10 minutes. The onion should be soft.
- You have the option to blend the sauce. If so, transfer the sauce to a blender or use a hand blender to blitz until smooth, around 30 seconds.
However, if you prefer some texture (as I do), keep it as it is. Stir in an additional 70ml of water to make the sauce a little thinner.
- Whilst the sauce simmers, prepare a mix of freshly chopped coriander, sliced spring onion and fresh chilli. Drizzle over the juice of half a lime.
- To serve, slice each chicken fillet diagonally intro strips using a sharp knife and serve on a bed of rice, spinach and pour over half the curry sauce. Then top with a sprinkling of the above mix of fresh coriander, spring onion and chilli!
Allergens: Soy, Wheat, Gluten, Celery
I used vegan chicken fillets by Quorn. Their non-vegan version has milk in it, so just check the label. You can find these in your usual local supermarket either in the frozen or fridge section. I can't find an online link for the vegan ones so I've added the link for vegan nuggets should you wish to try them too.
Sauce recipe adapted from Cupful of Kale.
If you don't have agave nectar, you can use maple syrup or golden syrup.
If you don't have tamari sauce, you can use soy sauce.
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