Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tofu Katsu Curry

Speaking as a person who rarely fries things, I begin with the caveat that this recipe is a bit of a project, but it is also completely worth the trouble. I have now made this dish three times, and it's proved so popular that I've taken to doubling it. We had the latest batch with roasted green beans and carrots on the side, but it makes a delicious and satisfying meal all on its own with some steamed white or brown rice.

Tofu Katsu Curry
The Sauce
~ 1 tbsp. canola or other neutral oil
~ 1 yellow onion, chopped fine
~ 4 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1 tbsp. fresh, grated ginger
~ 2 tsp. curry powder
~ 1 tsp. each: ground fenugreek, garam masala
~ A few grinds of black pepper
~ 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
~ 2.5 cups "no chicken" broth
~ 2 tbsp. soy sauce
~ 1 tbsp. agave nectar
~ 2 tsp. rice vinegar
~ Cooked white or brown rice to serve
~ Chopped scallions and/or shredded carrot for garnish

~ In a large saucepan or wok, heat the oil and cook the onion on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, ginger,  and dry seasonings; cook one minute more.
~ Add the flour, stir to coat and then pour in about ½ cup of vegetable stock; stir until the flour has dissolved, then add the soy sauce, agave, and remaining stock.
~ Bring the mixture just to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens.
~ Stir in the rice vinegar and taste for seasoning.

The Tofu
~ 1 package extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
~ Corn starch for dredging
~ 1 cup (or a little more) plain, unsweetened soy milk, whisked with 1 tbsp. of corn starch
~ Panko crumbs for dredging
~ Canola or other neutral oil for shallow frying

~ Heat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and place a foil-lined baking sheet inside.
~ Cut the tofu vertically into approximately 1 cm slices (between ¼ and ½ inch). Place on a  dry tea towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
~ Set up your dredging station with three wide, shallow bowls containing (respectively) corn starch, milk mixture, and panko. Dredge the tofu slices in the cornstarch, dip briefly into the milk, and then press each slice into the panko until thoroughly coated. Put the slices on a large plate as you finish coating them.
~ Line a large plate with paper towels, and pour about ½ inch of canola oil into the skillet over medium-high heat. When a piece of tofu breading thrown into the pan floats to the top, you're ready to fry.
~ Fry the tofu pieces for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy. Drain the cooked slices on the paper towels before transferring to the oven to keep warm until ready to serve.

To serve: place individual servings of rice in wide shallow bowls and top with crispy tofu, sauce, and chopped scallions and/or shredded carrots. You will probably have more sauce than you need, but why be skimpy?