Many Japanese dishes contain animal products and meat but with the modern consumer in mind, you can find a vegan version for almost anything and everything. Supermarkets now stock vegan ice cream, vegan cookies for those with a sweet tooth, and all sorts of vegan snacks; and there are plenty of vegan Japanese snacks available nowadays too.
But why go out and buy ready-made meals when you could take so much enjoyment out of creating your very own vegan treats? With so many vegan alternatives now available in many convenience stores, such as soy milk, dark chocolate, candied sweet potato, brown sugar syrup and soybean powder; so many non-vegan ingredients can now be replaced with plant-based, dairy-free alternatives. You can even steer clear of gluten too, with such ingredients as non-glutinous rice flour.
With World Vegan Day fast approaching, we wanted to honour both the vegan lifestyle and Japanese cuisine. So, we’ve put together this recipe for a delicious vegan katsu curry with some tasty tofu sushi rolls on the side.
Table of content
Vegan Katsu CurryKatsu curry is perhaps one of the most well-loved Japanese dishes in the western world. We often find myself veering towards Wagamama when out shopping for a taste of this delicious dish. However, in most instances, pork or chicken is used and that’s hardly vegan-friendly. But here’s a vegan take on the curry that’s perfect for an Asian-themed feast on World Vegan Day
You Will Need...
● One block of smoked tofu (you may alternatively use aubergine or butternut squash if you prefer.)
● 2 cloves of garlic
● 1 onion
● 15g ginger
● Garam masala - one teaspoon
● Curry powder - two teaspoons
● Turmeric - ½ teaspoon
● Salt - ½ teaspoon
● Sashimi togarashi
● Gluten-free cornflakes - 35g
● Oil or water
● Cornflour - 30g
● Short grain rice - 60g per person
How to Make
● Start by preheating the oven to 200ºC
● Take your tofu, squash or aubergine and chop this into 2cm slices.
● For tofu and squash, drizzle in a little oil and bake for 20 minutes. If you’re using aubergine, you’ll need to griddle it instead.
● Now we will make the sauce; chop your garlic and onions as well as the ginger but make this a little smaller than the garlic and onion.
● Blend these ingredients until you have a smooth consistency.
● Pop some oil into a pan and turn on the heat to medium.
● Add your paste to the pan and continue to stir; if the paste sticks, add in a small amount of water. Continue cooking until it is golden brown.
● Add your garam masala, turmeric and curry powder and continue mixing.
● Add a spot more water and allow the mixture to simmer on a low heat.
● Put three tablespoons of water into a bowl and mix with the cornflour.
● In another bowl, place your cornflakes, sashimi togarashi and salt and mix.
● Now take your tofu, squash or aubergine and dip this into the cornflour followed by the cornflakes mix.
● Fry the pieces in a pan with some oil.
● Cook the rice and serve everything on a plate.
Vegan Tofu Sushi Rolls
You Will Need
● One pack of nori sheets
● 300g of tofu
● 150g of sushi rice
● 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
● 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
● 1 ½ tablespoons of mirin
● 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
● 1 ½ tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
● 1 clove of garlic
● 1 carrot
● ½ an avocado
● 10g sesame seeds
● ½ teaspoon of sugar
● ½ teaspoon of salt
How to Make
● Start by rinsing your sushi rice in a sieve.
● Now put the rice into a pan of 220ml of water and allow to boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and leave the rice to simmer for around 15 minutes. At this point, the rice should have absorbed all of the water.
● Take your tofu and drain this before wrapping it in kitchen towel. Take two plates and put the tofu in between these, placing something heavy on top. Leave the tofu for around 20 minutes; doing this will improve the flavour.
● Preheat your oven to 190ºC.
● Take your peanut butter and soy sauce and mix these with the mirin, sesame oil and water.
● Peel and grate your garlic and add this to the mixture. The sauce should be about as thick as single cream so if it’s a little thicker, it’s OK to add some water to loosen it up a little.
● Get your avocado and take out the stone. Scoop out the flesh and cut it into equal strips.
● Do the same with the carrot, making four equally sized pieces.
● Take your tofu and cut this into eight pieces, coating each piece with a little soy sauce.
● Now bake the tofu in the oven for around eight minutes.
● Take the sesame seeds and toast them in a frying pan with no oil for one minute. Leave them on a plate for the time being.
● Allow your cooked rice to cool and stir in the rice wine vinegar, salt, sugar and the majority of your sesame seeds.
● Put the rice onto a plate and spread it out evenly, making four individual portions.
● When the tofu is baked, take it out of the oven and cover it with the peanut sauce; leave half of the sauce unused. Now bake the tofu for a further ten minutes.
● When the tofu is done, remove it from the oven and cut the pieces lengthways into two.
● Get a bowl of water and lay clingfilm down in two layers over a chopping board. The clingfilm should be a little bigger than your nori sheets.
● Put the nori sheet onto the clingfilm and spread one portion of rice onto the sheet. Make sure to only cover half of the sheet nearest you and leave a centimetre around the edge of the sheet.
● Make sure your fingers are wet as this will stop the rice from sticking to your skin.
● Take your tofu strips, avocado and carrot and place these in the centre of the rice in a horizontal position.
● Cover these in the rest of the peanut sauce and begin rolling the sushi. When it’s rolled, note that you may need to use water to seal the edges.
● Take a good quality, sharp Japanese knife and use this to cut each of the rolls into two. You can further cut these pieces three times to make your portions.
● Finally, garnish your tofu sushi rolls with the rest of the sesame seeds and serve them with a little soy sauce and some salty rice crackers.