Katsu curry

It’s over a year since I shared my katsu curry sauce here on the website. I promised to post the full katsu curry recipes ‘shortly’….. and forgot! So going on the principle of ‘better late than never’, here it is.

A vegan version of katsu curry is usually available in most Japanese-style restaurants now. Which is great. There’s something just so delicious about soft vegetables covered in crispy breadcrumbs surrounded by a rich, spicy sauce. Unfortunately, the vegetables are always deep fried. Which makes sense as the outer crumb becomes super crunchy and the oil adds to the flavour.

But when you’re eating a whole-food plant-based diet for health issues, or just don’t like fried food, it’s not really what you want. This is how I came to make my own version at home; I love the katsu experience but not the extra oil. Following the Overcoming MS programme, I avoid refined oils, particularly when they’re heated (and often repeatedly heated) to excessively high temperatures. It’s not good for anyone, but particularly people dealing with autoimmune and other chronic health problems.

My solution was to bake instead of fry. Although more recently, I can opt for the air fryer too. You still don’t get the oily flavour but do get the crispy texture which is so pleasing to the mouth.

Traditionally, katsu uses panko breadcrumbs which are made with wheat. If you are gluten free, you can buy dried gluten free breadcrumbs to use instead. I prefer these rice ‘breadcrumbs’ as they don’t contain any extra ingredients like sugar or colourings. The breadcrumbs crispy up nicely but don’t brown in the same way as panko.

What to coat in breadcrumbs? Well that’s up to you! I love slices of sweet potato and tofu myself. But have used aubergine, courgette and squash. Because they’re more dense, both sweet potato and squash need steaming before hand otherwise they don’t get soft and squidgy in the oven. You have to be careful not to over steam them though, particularly the squash, otherwise it will just disintegrate in your hand as you dip it in the breadcrumbs (she says from experience 😉 ). Also, if using tofu, make sure it’s extra firm or that too is at risk of falling apart before it gets any where near the oven or air fryer.

Instead of using egg to help the breadcrumbs stick, I make up a mix of chickpea flour and water, whisking it well to form a thick batter. It works a treat. You could also use aquafaba, but I haven’t had as much success with that.

The biggest challenge about this dish is getting everything ready at the same time, particularly if you add the greens as well. That is not compulsory – I just love adding in greens wherever I can! If you have time, make the katsu sauce in advance. Then you can concentrate on breading and cooking the veg slices. It is possible to do everything at once, you’ll just be juggling many elements at the same time. Great multi-tasking.

When you serve this meal, add the katsu curry sauce to the bowl at the very last minute otherwise the breadcrumbs can become more soggy than crisp. A squeeze of lime really lightens the whole dish so I’d highly recommend you use it if you have one to hand.

The recipe looks a little complicated but it’s not once you’ve chosen your veg/tofu, got the sauce simmering and all the elements laid out for coating. At that point it turns into a somewhat mindful production line.

Please note this recipe is for two, very hearty, portions. If you are cooking for 4 please just double the ingredients.

I hope you enjoy making this yummy baked (not fried) fully plant-based katsu curry recipe. Do let me know if you make it – and what you make it with. I’d love to know.

Katsu curry

A tasty fully plant-based and low fat version of this tasty Japanese curry that be made can be gluten free too
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 2 good portions


For the vegetables

  • 1 medium aubergine AND/OR
  • 1 medium fat courgette AND/OR
  • 1 medium sweet potato AND/OR
  • 1/4 medium butternut squash AND/OR
  • 100 grams extra firm tofu
  • 4 tbsp dried breadcrumbs panko or gluten free
  • 1 tbsp chickpea/gram flour
  • 2 tbsp water

To serve

  • 1 portions katsu curry sauce see link below
  • 2 lime wedges
  • steamed brown rice
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander
  • 2 medium steamed pak choi/shredded greens optional


  • First make the katsu curry sauce using this recipe - https://thesensitivefoodiekitchen.com/katsu-curry-sauce/ Once the sauce is simmering, start prepping the vegetables.
  • Cook the whole grain rice according to packet instructions.
  • If you are using sweet potato or squash, peel and cut into thick slices. Place in a steamer and steam for 5 minutes. You want it to soften slightly, but not much otherwise it will fall apart when you try to coat it. Leave to cool until you can handle it comfortably.
  • If you are baking in the oven, pre-heat the oven to 200ºC. Line a large baking sheet with non-stick baking paper. If you are using an air fryer, place the racks on the work top for when you need them.
  • If you are using aubergine and/or courgette cut them into thick slices. If you are using extra firm tofu, cut into thick slices.
  • Spread the breadcrumbs out onto a large plate
  • Mix together the chickpea flour and water in a medium-sized bowl. It takes a little work to create a paste.
  • Gather the prepped vegetables or tofu you are using onto a plate.
  • Dip one slice into the chickpea batter to coat, then drop into the breadcrumbs.
  • Repeat until all the slices are coated and covered.
  • Once coated on both sides, lay the slice on the prepared baking tray or rack for air fryer.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or 'fry' in the airfryer at 200ºC for 10 minutes or until the crumbs are toasted and the inside lovely and soft (NB - gluten free breadcrumbs tend not to darken in colour).
  • Whilst the slices are cooking, blend the katsu curry sauce and reheat as per instructions.
  • If you are serving pak choi or chopped greens, wash and stir fry in a little water in a stir fry pan until slightly wilted and lightly browned. Drain the rice as needed..
  • Serve immediately with steamed rice, greens, lime and of course, katsu curry sauce.
  • Spoon the rice into the bottom of a large bowl. Place wilted greens or pak choi on top, then line up the slices of crispy vegetable or tofu. Spoon katsu curry sauce around the veggies.
  • Serve with chopped coriander and a slice of lime.
Keyword air fryer recipe, healthy recipe, katsu curry sauce, low fat recipe, OMS friendly

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