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.
This was very good! I especially loved the sauce. I served it with Udon noodles and steamed broccoli. I felt the batter or the panko could have used something extra. The tofu had wonderful crunch, but I’d like a bit more flavor.
I made this last night and it was delicious and crunchy and above all very simple to make ! Had some with rice and some in a sandwich equally delicious!!
thanks a lot Sheida for your feedback. Love the ways you serve this with. Have a good one.
This katsu is so simple and soooo amazing!! Our egg and dairy allergic kids LOVE it!! Freezing the tofu gives it an awesome texture!!
Thanks so so much, I love how crispy yours are! I’m really happy to hear that your kids love them too. yay! The tofu has an amazing texture for sure. Many thanks! Best, WoonHeng
What other veggies would you recommend besides bok choy? I love your recipes so much and plan to make this soon.
Thanks so much!
Hey Nancy, you can use blanched broccoli or sauteed cabbage. 🙂 Thanks for your interest and hope you’ll like them.
What kind of noodles did you use in this recipe? Looks great!
Do you have the nutritional info for this recipe??
Hi there, thanks for your question, no I don’t have that feature yet. Let me know if you have any other questions at all. Have a great day!
Made this tonight and it was delicious and so so simple – thank you! I have been making recipes from your instagram for the past two weeks and you honestly make the best plant based dishes 🙂 xx
Yay, thanks so much Maureen! I am really happy to hear that you liked this recipe and thank you for your kind and sweet words. Best wishes to you.