Vegan Cauliflower Katsu Curry

Cauliflower Katsu Curry (katsukareカツカレー): a vegan version of the ultimate Japanese comfort meal. Crispy breaded cauliflower steak served with fluffy rice, thick curry sauce, and a ticket bound for flavor-town.

Traditionally, Katsu Curry (カツカレー) is Japanese curry paired with deep-fried, panko-breaded cutlets of pork, chicken, shrimp, and other seafood. As such, the Japanese favorite is typically not vegan. While many have used tofu as a substitute (which is incredible), I wanted to explore a soy-free option today using cauliflower. I usually fry cauliflower florets for dishes like Popcorn Cauliflower (pictured below), but I found that keeping them as thick-cut steaks also makes for incredible dishes.

As for the curry sauce, I am showing a basic & easy version using store-bought curry roux. You can customize the curry sauce to your liking with additional vegetables (such as potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, etc.) and additional seasonings / spices.


Vegan Cauliflower Katsu Curry (カツカレー)

4 from 20 votes
Recipe by George L. Course: LunchCuisine: JapaneseDifficulty: Medium
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

1

hour 

15

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes

Cauliflower Katsu Curry (katsukare) — a vegan version of the ultimate Japanese comfort meal. Crispy breaded cauliflower steak served with fluffy rice, thick curry sauce, and a ticket bound for flavor-town.

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower (medium-large sized)

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk, I used oat milk

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or lemon juice, apple cider vinegar)

  • 1 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

  • For Breading
  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon corn starch

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • Curry Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or vegan butter)

  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced

  • 500 grams water

  • 1 packet curry roux (I used S&B meat-free golden curry)

  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder

Directions

  • Prepare the Cauliflower. Start by removing cauliflower leaves and as much of the middle large stem as possible. Cut cauliflower into 4-5 large steaks (each about 2-2.5 centimeters thick). In a large, flat-bottomed bowl, add non-dairy milk, rice vinegar, fine salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and white pepper. Stir to combine. Gently place cauliflower steaks in, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Prepare Curry Sauce. While the cauliflower steaks are brining, save time by getting started on the curry sauce. In a medium sized sauce pot, heat up about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (or vegan butter) on medium-low heat. Add in finely diced yellow onions, and cook until brown & decently caramelized. Note: this step could take 15-30 minutes, depending on how caramelized you prefer the onions to be. I usually go for 20 minutes. Once the onions reach desired texture & color, deglaze the pot with water. Add the curry roux (breaking the block of roux up first), then slowly bring to a boil while stirring. When the curry sauce reaches a boil, it should have thickened nicely. Add cocoa powder and any additional spices/flavorings, tasting to adjust. Cover and keep warm.
  • Prepare Breading Stations. In one plate or shallow dish, combine flour, corn starch, and baking powder. Mix well to combine. In another plate or shallow dish, simply add panko breadcrumbs. Set both stations aside.
  • Bread the Cauliflower. Once the cauliflower has brined long enough, separate the cauliflower steaks from the brine. The brine will be our wet dredge. For the breading, 2-3 layers are typically done for traditional Japanese katsu. The breading steps are as follows: 1) dip cauliflower steak into the flour mixture, then shake off excess. 2) dip into the brine, shaking off excess. 3) repeat steps 1 & 2 depending on the number of desired layers. 4) Lastly, dredge in panko breadcrumbs. Press the breadcrumbs in very well. Repeat for all steaks, and set them aside.
  • Fry the Cauliflower. Before frying, make sure to set up a station with a wire rack for the freshly-fried katsu. In a medium-sized pot or wok, add enough vegetable oil (or other neutral cooking oil) to reach about the same height of your cauliflower steaks. Heat up the oil to about 180 C (356 F), or when a wooden chopstick bubbles immediately when placed in the oil. Fry cauliflower steaks one at a time for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Once crispy and golden brown, remove the cauliflower steak from the oil and place onto wire wrack to drain. Note: if possible, use a fine mesh sieve to remove the little crumbs remaining in the oil in-between each batch. They cause the katsu to burn more easily. Repeat for all cauliflower steaks.
  • To Serve. Cut up the cauliflower katsu by first sawing through the breading, then doing one clean cut through — this technique prevents the breading from falling off. Serve the katsu alongside freshly steamed white rice (Japanese short-grain rice) and a good amount of curry sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley and black sesame seeds. Enjoy warm.

Notes

  • If you’re using up the whole cauliflower, one of the steaks will have a larger central vein. Note that that part will be less tender / flavorful, but in my opinion, still delicious!
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K. De La Garza
K. De La Garza
5 months ago

I will be preparing this tomorrow. It’s looks delicious!

Melissa
Melissa
5 months ago

SO DELICIOUS ❤️🔥❤️🔥 thanks for the recipe! I added some pickled red onions to add some contrast in flavors and it was amazing!

Last edited 5 months ago by Melissa
Samantha G
Samantha G
5 months ago

I made this for dinner last night and it was incredible, literally top 3 best things I have ever cooked. I can’t wait to make this again!

Judith
Judith
4 months ago

Made this tonight it was soo yummy 🙂 thanks jorge!!