A few years ago I made Tonkatsu without ever having tasted it. A neighbor friend, who happened to conveniently stop by mostly at dinner time, was over the night I made it. He had traveled to Japan and told me it tasted just like the authentic dish he had when he was there. This, of course, made me feel great! Since then, I’ve been wanting to create a tofu version and have added some delicious fresh vegetables.
Time: 30 minutes Serves: 4
- 1 15 oz. block extra firm tofu (I use organic sprouted tofu from Trader Joe’s)
- salt and black pepper
- about 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (I use a Ian’s gluten free from Whole Foods)
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1 egg plus 2 tbsp water
- rice bran oil for frying
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire
- 2 tbsp sake
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder
How to make it
- Drain tofu from liquid. Wrap in paper towel and then a dish towel. Place on a cutting board or flat dish. Place something on top that is light enough that it won’t break the tender tofu, just enough to press out some of the moisture.
- Meanwhile, combine flour and cornstarch in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine beaten egg with water. Place panko crumbs into a third bowl.
- Heat oil in a small-medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Test if oil is heated by throwing some panko crumbs in. If it sizzles, it’s ready.
- Take pressed tofu and cut in half and then into four slices, then cut on diagonal to make triangles or down the middle for rectangular pieces.
- Season tofu with salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge in flour mixture, then into the egg mixture, and then into the panko.
- Add the breaded tofu into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan, as overcrowding will drop down the temperature. Cook about 2-3 pieces at a time until golden brown, about 4-6 minutes. Place on paper towel lined plate. Season with salt while hot.
Rice and Vegetables
- Soak and rinse sticky rice and cook according to package instructions or in your rice cooker.
- Slice radishes (any variety would work), cube seedless cucumbers. Shred napa/savoy/or regular green cabbage. Prepare cherry tomatoes and Asian microgreens (Mizuna, broccoli sprouts, etc). Cut fried tofu into slices.
- To serve, place a scoop of sticky rice on plate. Place a bed of cabbage beside the rice. Arrange tofu over it. Drizzle sauce over top. Add fresh vegetables and enjoy! This dish also goes nicely with pickled vegetables, recipe coming soon.