Crispy, flavorful, and comforting is all you get from this Tofu Katsu Noodle bowl. My family loves tofu and the crunchy one is the BEST! The recipe is kid’s friendly, dairy-free, and oh so delicious.
What is Katsu カツ
Katsu カツ is a Japanese word that translates to ‘cutlet’, so Tofu Katsu means tofu cutlet. To create the super crunchy texture, I coated the tofu with a thick batter and packed each side with panko breadcrumbs, then shallow pan-fried it in hot oil. The recipe goes so well with simple ramen tossed in sauce and a side of blanched veggies. Other combinations that go well with katsu include curry and rice or in a sandwich.
3 Ways to make Tofu Katsu
1. Fried – this is the method I used for the recipe but instead of deep-frying, I did a shallow pan-fry. I find that the best temperature to use is between 340°F to 350°F (170°C – 175°C) measured using a deep-fry thermometer. Alternatively, a wooden chopstick can be used to test the oil’s temperature. Here’s how to do it:
- First, stir the oil with a wooden chopstick to get an even temperature around the pan
- Then, stick chopsticks in the middle of the pan. If small bubbles appear from the tip of the chopstick, it’s hot enough to fry the ingredients.
2. Baked – this method also creates a crispy outer layer and it’s best baked on a greased baking sheet pan, with a flip in between. Oven temperature varies but I set mine to 425°F (220°C) and baked for about 25 – 30 minutes.
3. Air fried – this method uses the least oil out of the three. To air fry the tofu in my fryer, I used ‘french fries’ setting. First, preheat fryer to 390°F (200°C) for about 3 minutes. Then, lightly grease the inner basket with oil, place tofu Katsu in, and ‘fry’ until crispy.
For the two methods above, you can mix the panko breadcrumb with a little oil to get a somewhat moist mixture. Then, coat tofu with batter and press the oiled panko onto tofu before baking or air frying.
This Tofu Katsu is
- Crunchy with a crispy outer layer
- Flavorful in each bite
- Customizable – use mushrooms or seitan if preferred
- Kids friendly
- Perfect pair for this delicious noodle made using store-bought stir fry sauce or my Vegan ‘Oyster’ Sauce.
- Great for make-ahead meals – keep the Tofu Katsu in a warm oven to retain the crispiness
- Delicious with curry or in a sandwich
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Tofu Katsu Noodle Bowl
- 3 servings noodles of your choice cooked based on package's instructions
- 14 oz [397g] firm tofu pressed to remove liquid
- 3 servings blanched veggies used bok choy
- oil for frying
For the Batter
- ¾ cup [96g] all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour
- ½ cup [125g] cold water may need up to ¾ cup [177g] water depeding on the flour's brand
- ½ teaspoon salt
- a few shakes of white pepper
- ½ cup [45g] panko breadcrumbs or more may be needed
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce/tamari
- 2 tablespoons vegan 'oyster' sauce (see notes for recipe)
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce thick version
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- a few shakes of white pepper
Prepare the tofu
- Remove tofu from its packaging (if it's in package) and drain to discard liquid.
- Press tofu block in between towels to remove moisture. (Or you can put the tofu back into its package and refrigerate overnight to drain out the liquid)
- Divide tofu into 3 large rectangle block and season with a little salt.
To make the Katsu
- For the batter: whisk together all-purpose flour, salt, and white pepper until all incorporated in a large shallow plate.
- Add the water and stir to combine. The batter's consistency should be thick like a pancake batter, if not, add more flour or vice versa.
- Dredge tofu in the batter, shake off excess, then coat with panko breadcrumbs. Lightly press breadcrumbs into the tofu.
- Heat up a non-stick pan with a thin layer of oil (enough to cover 1/3 of the tofu height). Then slowly place tofu in and shallow pan-fry until golden brown on both sides.
- Try not to flip until one side is fully cooked. Remove and place tofu on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
To make the Noodles and Serve
- To make the sauce, place all sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined.
- Cook noodles based on package's instructions.
- Toss noodles with sauce until all incorporated. Season accordingly, if needed.
- Serve tofu Katsu with noodles and blanched veggies.
- For the noodles, I used my Vegan ‘Oyster’ sauce for this recipe.
- To get the look of the tofu in the picture, I trimmed the sides of the tofu block.
- How to blanch veggies:
- Clean and trim veggies to your desired size.
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.
- Add a pinch of salt and a drizzle of oil.
- Then, place veggies in. Using a pair of tongs, quickly cook veggies until they turn a darker green.
- Optional: rinse with cold water to stop the cooking
- Garlic Oil – place finely chop garlic in a microwave-safe bowl. Add enough oil to cover all the garlic. Microwave for 1 – 2 minutes. Once the garlic turns light yellowish, stop the cooking. The garlic will continue to cook in the oil.