Vegan Japanese Curry with Fried Tofu

This vegan Japanese curry is pure comfort in a bowl! Made with chunks of carrots, potatoes, peas and fried tofu in a flavor-packed sauce, it’s a delicious meal that’s super satisfying and easy to make!

Bowl of Vegan Japanese Curry with bunch of scallions in the background.

You’ll find a lot of variation across the globe when it comes to curries.

There was a time when I thought curry just meant any dish that was made with regular old curry powder. But there’s actually SO MUCH MORE to curries. I’m a little bit of a collector of vegan curry recipes, and each country and region has their own style curry with it’s own unique flavors and ingredients.

Japanese curry is a cozy stew that’s mild and made with a touch of cozy warming spices. Comfort food is what comes to mind when I think of this type of curry, and that’s what I had in mind when I developed this vegan Japanese curry recipe.

This recipe, while delicious, isn’t entirely authentic. It includes all the flavors of a traditional Japanese curry, but takes a few shortcuts in terms of cooking methods. This makes it easy to prepare and perfect for those weeknights when you’re craving a hearty meal that will warm you up!

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Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Peanut oil. Feel free to substitute another high-heat oil, such as vegetable, coconut, or canola oil.
  • Onion.
  • Carrots.
  • Flour. I’ve only tested the recipe with all-purpose wheat flour, though I’m sure there’s some flexibility here since we’re just using it as a thickener. A gluten-free all-purpose blend would probably work.
  • Garlic.
  • Ginger.
  • Vegetable broth. Use a good quality broth with lots of flavor. I’m a big fan of Better Than Bouillon in seasoned vegetable flavor.
  • Potato. The recipe calls for a russet potato, but other varieties like red potatoes, yellow potatoes, or even sweet potatoes would work just fine.
  • Apple. Preferably use a sweet variety. I used a Fuji.
  • Japanese curry powder. S&B seems to be the most common brand of this. If you can’t find it, try using a 50/50 blend of regular curry powder and garam masala.
  • Vegan Worcestershire sauce. Most Worcestershire sauce contains anchovy paste, so be careful here. Annie’s, Edward & Sons and Whole Foods brands are all vegan. You can also make homemade vegan Worcestershire sauce pretty easily.
  • Soy sauce. Tamari or liquid aminos can be substituted if needed.
  • Tomato paste.
  • Frozen peas. Frozen shelled edamame works really well in this recipe too!
  • Salt & pepper.
  • Cornstarch.
  • Tofu. Extra-firm tofu works best. Firm or super firm tofu can be substituted as long as you press it first.
  • Cooked rice.
  • Scallions. Also known as green onions.
  • Toasted sesame seeds.

Tip: Feel free to switch up the veggies in this recipe with your favorites. Try green beans, cauliflower, asparagus and peppers, keeping in mind that softer veggies will need less cook time.

How It’s Made

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

  • Start by sweating diced onion and chopped carrots in some oil. Cook them for a few minutes until they start to soften.
  • Stir in the flour, minced garlic and grated ginger. Make sure to stir everything well so that the flour coats the veggies evenly. Cook the mixture briefly.
Carrots, onions and flour cooking in a pot.
  • Stir in your broth, chopped potato, apple, curry powder, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook until the veggies are soft and the sauce has thickened a bit.

Tip: Use a fork to pierce a potato and/or carrot slice. It should go in easily. If not, let the curry simmer a few minutes more.

Potatoes, apples and carrots simmering in curry sauce.
  • Fry the tofu while the curry simmers. Heat some oil in a skillet, dredge some tofu cubes in cornstarch, then add them to the hot oil.
  • Let the tofu pieces fry for a few minutes on each side, until they’re crispy and golden.

Tip: For more guidance, see my post on how to fry tofu.

Tofu cubes frying in a skillet.
  • Stir the tomato paste and thawed frozen peas into the curry, then let it simmer a minute more before taking it off of the burner.
Vegan Japanese Curry simmering in a pot.
  • Season the curry with salt and pepper to taste, as well as some additional soy sauce if you’d like. Adjust any other seasonings to your liking.
  • Divide the fried tofu into bowls and ladle the curry over it. Top each bowl with a scoop of rice, along with a sprinkle of scallions and sesame seeds.
White wooden surface set with bowl of Vegan Japanese Curry, bunch of scallions and pot.

Leftovers & Storage

If possible, store the fried tofu and curry separately to prevent the tofu from going soggy. Each component will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

Vegan Japanese curry can be reheated in a saucepan on the stove or in the microwave. The best way to reheat the tofu is by placing the pieces under a hot broiler for a few minutes on each side, until they begin to crisp back up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can this curry be made gluten-free?

I think so! Your best bet would probably be to replace the wheat flour with an all-purpose gluten-free blend (which I haven’t tried). You’ll also need to use gluten-free tamari and make sure your Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free (Edward & Sons is).

Is Japanese curry spicy?

No. Japanese curry powder is very mild. Feel free to add some hot sauce or a bit of cayenne pepper if you prefer a spicier curry.

More Vegan Japanese-Inspired Recipes

Like this recipe? If so, please stop back and leave me a review and rating below if you try it! Also be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, or subscribe to my newsletter for more recipes like this one!

Bowl of Vegan Japanese Curry with rice, scallions and sesame seeds.

Vegan Japanese Curry with Fried Tofu

This vegan Japanese curry is pure comfort in a bowl! Made with chunks of carrots, potatoes, peas and fried tofu in a flavor-packed sauce, it’s a delicious meal that’s super satisfying and easy to make!


For the Curry

  • 1
    peanut oil
  • 1
    large onion,
  • 2
    medium carrots,
  • 2
    all-purpose flour
  • 3
    garlic cloves,
  • 1 ½
    freshly grated ginger
  • 4
    vegetable broth
  • 1
    large russet potato,
    scrubbed and diced
  • 1
    (I used a Fuji apple), peeled and finely diced
  • 2
    Japanese curry powder,
    or to taste (Notes 1 and 2)
  • 1
    vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1
    soy sauce,
    plus more to taste
  • 3
    tomato paste
  • 1 ½
    frozen peas,
  • Salt and pepper,
    to taste

For the Fried Tofu

  • 3
    peanut oil,
    plus more as needed
  • ¼
  • 8
    super firm tofu,
    cut into ½-inch cubes

For Serving

  • Cooked rice
  • Chopped scallions
  • Toasted sesame seeds


  1. To make the curry, start by coating the bottom of a large pot with the oil and placing it over medium heat. Give the oil a minute to heat up, then add the onion and carrots.

  2. Sweat the veggies for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften.

  3. Stir in the flour, garlic and ginger. Stir well to coat the carrots and onions with flour. Sauté everything for about 1 minute, until very fragrant.

  4. Stir in the broth, potato, apple, curry powder, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce. Raise the heat and bring the sauce to a low boil.

  5. Lower the heat and allow the curry to simmer for about 20 minutes, until the carrots and potatoes are fork tender and the curry sauce has thickened.

  6. Fry the tofu while the curry simmers. First, fill a small bowl with the cornstarch.

  7. Generously coat the bottom of a medium skillet with the oil and place it over medium heat.

  8. While the oil heats up, place a few tofu cubes in the cornstarch and gently roll them around to coat them. Transfer the tofu cubes to the skillet and repeat until all the tofu has been added. Be careful to avoid the tofu cubes touching each other.

  9. Fry the tofu for about 4 minutes on each side, until the pieces are golden brown and crispy, then remove them from the skillet and place them on a wire rack to drain.

  10. When the curry has finished simmering stir in the tomato paste and peas. Let it simmer for just a minute more to heat up the peas.

  11. Remove the curry from heat and season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust any other seasonings to your liking.

  12. Divide the tofu into bowls and ladle the curry overtop. Serve each bowl with rice and top with sesame seeds and scallions.

Recipe Notes

  1. If you can’t find Japanese curry powder, try a mixture of garam masala and regular (English) curry powder.
  2. Two tablespoons will give you a relatively mild curry. You can start with 1 tablespoon if you prefer it very mild, or use as much as 4 tablespoons. Start with less if you’re unsure, then taste-test and add more when the curry has almost finished simmering.
  3. Nutrition information does not include rice.

Nutrition Facts

Vegan Japanese Curry with Fried Tofu

Amount Per Serving

Calories 425
Calories from Fat 167

% Daily Value*

Fat 18.6g29%

Saturated Fat 3g15%

Sodium 716mg30%

Potassium 625mg18%

Carbohydrates 46.9g16%

Fiber 8.5g34%

Sugar 18.2g20%

Protein 13.6g27%

Calcium 93mg9%

Iron 4mg22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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