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 ◡̈
COOKING THE SLABS OF 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 some of 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
- 1/2 lb extra firm tofu
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup room temp. water
- ½ cup japanese bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs add more as needed
To Cook Tofu
- Neutral oil for frying
- 2 small pieces dried shiitake mushrooms
- 10 g dried kombu , around 4×6-inch sheet
- 2 cups hot water or room temperature water (if soaking overnight)
- 1/2 cup vegan dashi/stock
- 1 large white onion thinly sliced
- 1-2 tbsp sugar , adjust to desired sweetness
- 1 tbsp mirin or sake
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup vegan just egg
- 2-3 cups steamed Japanese rice for serving
- Chopped spring onions and sesame seeds for garnishing
- Soak the dried mushrooms and kombu in room temperature water overnight. Do not discard the water. This will be the dashi.Slice the mushrooms and set aside.
- For the leftover rehydrated kombu, you can make this into Kombu Tsukudani or simmered kombu for a delicious dish with rice. You can see the recipe here.
- 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 or sake, and sugar.
- Mix well and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Leave the sauce to simmer for the sugars to start to thicken and some of the liquid to evaporate. Taste the sauce and feel free to season it more, if desired.
- Add in the sliced tofu katsu. Using a spoon, carefully scoop some of the sauce to pour over the tofu.If you have access to vegan just egg, you can pour the mixture all over the tofu katsu and leave it to simmer until cooked. Turn off the heat.
- Place the tofu over a bowl of steamed Japanese rice. Feel free to garnish with some spring onions and sesame seeds, if desired. Serve immediately.
- Enjoy while hot!
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