Tofu Katsu with Tonkatsu Sauce

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Tofu coated in panko breadcrumbs and pan fried to a golden brown with an easy to make sweet and sour sauce comes together in under 30 minutes.

A top view of plate with a pile of rice and cabbage with pan fried tofu and vegetables tossed in a sweet and sour sauce with an egg roll on the side.

Welcome to #SummerGamesWeek 2021 hosted by Amy from House of Nash Eats!  We are celebrating the start of the Tokyo Games with over 50 recipes representing more than 25 countries competing in the upcoming Summer Games! Come join me and my fellow Summer Games Week bloggers as we bring you recipes from appetizers to drinks to entrées and desserts!

This summer the Olympic Games are being held in Japan.  When I was a kid my Uncle Bob had to go to Japan a few times every year and he would always bring us kids home something special.

He would also teach us some Japanese words like hello, goodbye, and how to sing Happy Birthday.  My earliest memories of learning about Japan were all from him.

So when I found out the Olympics were to be held in Japan I wanted to make some dishes from this country.  Since I live in a very small town we don’t really have any restaurants that serve Japanese food and it isn’t something I make regularly.

Since I love tofu I wanted to make Tofu Katsu.   Katsu is basically a dish that is dipped in a flour mixture then rolled in Japanese panko breadcrumbs and fried until golden brown.  It’s often served with Tonkatsu sauce which is a sweet and sour type sauce.

Ingredients:

  • extra firm tofu
  • olive oil
  • milk
  • flour
  • cornstarch
  • salt
  • garlic powder
  • black pepper
  • panko breadcrumbs
  • soy sauce
  • ketchup
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • sweet chili sauce
  • cabbage
  • rice

To make the tofu either use a tofu press or place the tofu on a dish and weigh it down with a heavy skillet to get the water out.

Combine the flour, milk, cornstarch, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper and mix well.  In another dish pour the panko.

Heat the oil in a skillet.   Dip the tofu into the milk and flour mixture then roll into the panko.   Fry for 5-7 minutes or until the tofu is golden brown.

Meanwhile combine the soy sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and sweet chili sauce in a small pan.  Heat until boiling.

To serve place the rice on a plate and top with chopped cabbage.  Place the fried tofu on top and drizzle the sauce on top.

I love pan fried tofu.  It’s one of my favorites so I knew having it panko crusted would make it extra crispy.  I was intrigued by the milk, flour, and cornstarch mixture but it really helped the panko to stick to the tofu.

I find that when frying tofu it’s best to cook one side, then the flip side, then just fry for a few additional minutes to try and get the other sides crisp as well.

Pin Image: A plate with a pile of rice and cabbage with pan fried tofu and vegetables tossed in a sweet and sour sauce with an egg roll on the side, text, a pan of fried tofu.

Do I have to use extra firm tofu?

You should use firm or extra firm.  The tofu needs the firmness to hold its shape and really crisp up with the panko.

Can I use a store bought sauce?

Absolutely.   They actually sell Tonkatsu or fruit and vegetable sauce in a bottle.  You can also just buy a pre-made sweet and sour sauce.

Can I use a different protein?

Yes!   Pork and chicken are often used in katsu and are both great choices.  Here’s a great Chicken Katsu recipe.

Can I use regular breadcrumbs?

While you can use regular breadcrumbs it won’t really be Katsu and it won’t be nearly as crispy.  So while in a pinch you could use them, go buy yourself the Panko breadcrumbs.

I snagged a piece of tofu as soon as I took it off the stove and was really pleased with it.  It was golden brown, super crunchy, and had a nice flavor.  It would be great with so many different sauces.

Speaking of sauces, this sweet and sour sauce if amazing.   I’m so used to the sauces that are made from rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and ketchup that this was different and really yummy.  I could pour this sauce over top of a lot of different dishes.

I also liked the crunch of the raw cabbage underneath the tofu.  I served it all along with sauteed vegetables in a simple soy sauce.

A front view of a plate with a pile of rice and cabbage with pan fried tofu and vegetables tossed in a sweet and sour sauce with an egg roll on the side.

More Tofu Recipes:

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A front view of a plate with a pile of rice and cabbage with pan fried tofu and vegetables tossed in a sweet and sour sauce with an egg roll on the side.

Tofu Katsu with Tonkatsu Sauce

Yield: Serves 4

Tofu coated in panko breadcrumbs and pan fried to a golden brown with an easy to make sweet and sour sauce comes together in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 block (16 oz) extra firm tofu
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 c. panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 1 c. cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 4 c. cooked rice

Instructions

  1. Press the tofu for 20 minutes to drain as much water from it as possible.
  2. Cut the tofu into 3 slices. Then cut each piece lengthwise into quarters and then into thirds the other way so you end up with 12 pieces per slice.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the milk, flour, cornstarch, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper.
  4. Place the panko in a shallow dish.
  5. Heat half of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.
  6. Dip each piece of tofu into the milk and flour mixture then roll into the panko.
  7. Place the tofu in the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes. Pour the remaining olive oil in the skillet and flip the tofu to the other side and cook 2-3 minutes.
  8. Saute the tofu for another 2-3 minutes turning frequently in order to crisp up all sides.
  9. Meanwhile combine the soy sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and sweet chili sauce in a small saucepan. Heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  10. When ready to serve place one cup of rice on each of four plates. Top each one with 1/4 cup of cabbage.
  11. Divide the tofu between the four dishes.
  12. Drizzle with the sauce and serve hot.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Bianco Zapatka

A plate with a pile of rice and cabbage with pan fried tofu and vegetables tossed in a sweet and sour sauce with an egg roll on the side.

Friday #SummerGamesWeek Recipes

6 Comments

  1. Yummy!This has been in my list. Now going to the kitchen to make it, thanks for the recipe. The flavors sound amazing.

  2. This recipe is a keeper! Love the crispy tofu and I’m going to have to use them in other things as well! Aren’t we lucky that we can make these delicious foods even if we don’t have a restaurant nearby to make them for us?

    1. Yes! Thank you so much for hosting. I never make Japanese food but my husband and I agree this is going into our meatless Monday rotation!

  3. This looks so good. I could probably sneak it in for dinner one night and not let them know it was tofu until they enjoyed it.

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