Who doesn’t love Wagamamas? Especially their katsu curry – which is an enduring favourite on their menu. We love both the pumpkin katsu and the seitan katsu so much, that we recently had the idea to create our take on this dish, with a twist. Tempeh!
Tempeh is an interesting food, quite different from other meat substitutes. For those who have not previously heard of tempeh, it’s made from fermented soy beans, with a firm and meaty, but unique texture. Most vegan katsu curries are served with breadcrumb battered seitan, tofu or vegetables, and tempeh seemed to be an oddly rare choice from our research. This only spurred us on even more to give it a go…
We found this recipe to be really fun to create. Tempeh has a much sturdier texture, while tofu has the tendency to fall apart and seitan can be sticky to work with. The dense texture of tempeh makes it a wonderful ingredient to cook with if (like us) you’re not overly confident with battering & frying food.
For the battered tempeh –
- 800g Tempeh
- 70g Breadcrumbs
- 85g Cornflour
- 95ml Plant milk (we used oat)
- 2 tsp Curry powder
For the Katsu sauce –
- 1 tbsp Curry powder
- 1 tbsp Spelt flour
- Soy sauce
- 2-3 carrots
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Garam masala
- 500 ml stock
To serve –
- 500g sushi rice
Place 85g of cornflour in a bowl and slowly add all the plant milk. We used oat milk but we’re sure any milk would work. Stir with a fork until you have a sticky and runny mixture. You want it to be the consistency of watered-down PVA glue – runny but ‘tacky’ when you feel it with your fingers. Mix in ½ teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of curry powder.
Chop the tempeh into 1 inch by ½ inch pieces. Heat a pan on a moderate heat, and add enough plant-based oil (we used rapeseed oil) to fill the bottom of the pan – creating a small ‘pool’ of oil. Just enough oil for the tempeh to float slightly, so as not to lose the coating when cooking.
While the pan is warming up, dip the tempeh pieces into the wet mix, one by one. Allow any excess mixture to drip off, and then roll the pieces in the breadcrumbs. Once coated in crumbies, pop them in the oil. As we cooked together, we did this in a conveyor belt fashion – Alice coating the tempeh and Sam frying it. If you’re cooking on your own, it might be best to prep the tempeh pieces first, then fry them all in one go. We did find we had to refresh the oil when cooking them in batches so prepping them first is definitely less wasteful.
It should take around one and a half minutes to fry each side, until they have browned. When cooked to a lovely golden-brown colour, place the tempeh on a plate and leave to one side for later.
For the Katsu sauce
Roughly chop the carrots, onion, garlic and ginger. Add to a pan and fry in water for five minutes. Don’t allow the ingredients to burn as this will alter the flavour of the sauce.
Slowly add the vegetable stock, soy sauce and spelt flour, followed by the spices. Let this simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the carrots have softened and the mixture has combined. Take this off the heat and tip everything into a blender. Blend until you have a nice creamy sauce! Don’t worry about it being perfect – a few leftover lumps are nice for variety of taste & texture.
We cook our sushi rice with a few drops of mirin, chucked in the microwave according to the packet instructions. Be lazy like us and cook your rice in the microwave, or on the hob too if this is your preferred method. While the rice is cooking, boil or steam the broccoli.
To serve, lay out a bed of steaming rice, then pop the breaded tempeh pieces on one side and broccoli on the other. Scoop up the sauce and lay it in the middle of the dish. Season with pepper if you wish – salt isn’t necessary as this dish is already pretty salty as it is.
Hit us with a comment if you give this one a go! We hope you enjoy 🙂