These Japanese-Style Katsudon Rice Bowls are packed with crispy coated pieces of Tofu Katsu cooked down in a sweet sauce with onions and mushrooms, inspired by Japanese Katsudon. Served over steamed bowls of short grain rice for a perfectly hearty meal.
INSPIRED BY JAPANESE KATSUDON
I love Japanese cuisine, from sushi to rice bowls and ramen, because they’re all unique and delicious in their own ways.
I’ve veganized my fair share of Japanese dishes and this time around I made my own vegan version of the famous Katsudon, a Japanese Pork Cutlet and Egg Rice bowl but this is of course a vegan version and is basically tofu katsu simmered in a sweet-savoury sauce. The traditional Pork Katsudon comes with egg and is usually served over rice, donburi style.
A VEGAN VERSION
Though katsudon is usually made with pork cutlet, I of course made this vegan version using extra firm tofu!
‘Don’, that’s short for donburi means “rice bowl dish” and usually contains meat, seafood, and vegetables simmered together to make a rice topping. So the term don is used to label dishes topped over rice such as gyudon, tendon, and oyakodon, (to name a few!).
You can check out the video below to see how I make my favourite tofu katsu.
MAKING THE KATSUDON
For my vegan version of Katsudon, I used some tofu to create the katsu.
They’re crispy breaded slabs of tofu which I then cooked in a delicious umami sauce before topping over rice.
I sliced the extra firm tofu into slabs before preparing the batter and coating.
Around 3/4 to 1-inch thick slabs are good.
The batter will be really thick to be able to stick to the tofu well.
Dip each piece of the tofu into the batter then transfer it to the bread crumbs to evenly coat.
I like to use my left hand for wet and my right hand for the dry breadcrumb mix to keep things as clean as possible.
Repeat this until you’ve coated all the slabs ◡̈
Now it’s time to cook the slabs of coated tofu!
I used a large cast iron pan and heated up some neutral oil. Once the oil is hot, you can add in the coated tofu katsu pieces.
To test out the heat of the oil, you can simple add a few breadcrumbs. If it immediately sizzles, it’s good to go!
You’ll want the oil to be VERY HOT.
Leave the side to cook until golden brown and crisp before flipping the tofu katsu over to cook the remaining side.
After it cooks, remove the tofu from the oil and drain any excess oil by placing it on a strainer or cooling wrack. You can leave the tofu to cool for a few minutes.
You can then slice them diagonally.
Preparing the Katsudon
I sautéed the onions and mushrooms in a sweet savoury sauce.
Afterwards I added in the sliced tofu katsu pieces to soak in the sauce.
SERVE AND ENJOY YOUR KATSUDON
Afterwards, top it over some steamed short grain rice and garnish with some scallions if you’d like. Enjoy this immediately while still hot!
Get the full recipe for this katsudon below!
Are you looking for more delicious, vegan recipes?
You can get a copy of my cookbook, Vegan Asian!
If you crave vegan-friendly versions of classic Asian dishes, this cookbook is packed with Southeast and East Asian dishes inspired by those I grew up enjoying at home and those I’ve tried from my travels. From iconic Thai dishes to piping-hot Japanese fare and everything in between, the recipes in this will take your palate on a delicious food trip across Asia, and hopefully keep you coming back for more!
OTHER RECIPES YOU MIGHT LOVE:
- Tantanmen (Vegan Ramen)
- One-Pot Spicy Miso Ramen
- Shoyu Ramen
- Japanese Chahan or Fried Rice
- Miso Butter Fried Rice
Japanese-Style Katsudon Rice Bowls
- 200 g extra firm tofu
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup japanese bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs add more as needed
To Cook Tofu
- Neutral oil for frying
- 2-3 cups steamed Japanese rice for serving
- Chopped spring onions and sesame seeds for garnishing
- Soak the dried mushrooms for the sauce in boiling hot water for 15-20 minutes until completely rehydrated. Do not discard the water.Slice the mushrooms and set aside.
- See video below on how to make tofu katsu. Drain water from the tofu by using a tofu press or wrapping it in a paper towel and then placing a heavy flat surface (a board or plate) on top. Leave for 15 minutes until water has been absorbed by the towel.
- Slice the tofu into ½ -inch thick square slabs. You may be able to slice one tofu into 3 slabs, depending on the thickness of your tofu. Season with ¼ tsp salt.
- Prepare the batter by mixing all the ingredients until smooth. In another plate or tray, add the breadcrumbs.
- Place each tofu in the batter then coat into the breadcrumbs. Repeat this step for the rest.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan. I used a cast iron pan. Once hot (you can test this by putting a little bread crumbs and it will sizzle when hot), add in the tofu.
- Fry for around 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway, over medium heat until golden brown on both sides. Take the tofu out from the oil then turn off the heat.
- Let cool for 10-15 minutes then slice diagonally into ¾ -inch thick strips.
- Carefully remove the oil from the pan. Add in the mushroom water/broth, onions, and sliced mushrooms, Leave to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add in the soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar. Mix well and cook until the sugar has dissolved.
- Add in the sliced tofu katsu. Using a spoon, carefully scoop the sauce and pour over the tofu until they are well coated. Leave to cook until the tofu has absorbed almost all the liquid. Turn off heat.
- Place the tofu over some steamed Japanese rice. Feel free to garnish with some spring onions and sesame seeds, if desired. Enjoy while hot!