Sometimes I crave the crispy fried texture of something delicious cooked in oil. Although that’s not too often, I don’t believe in denying myself if I’m eating well most of the time. So, when the mood hits, this is my meat-free version of the Japanese katsu sando, a crumbed and fried piece of chicken or pork slathered in Japanese barbecue sauce. It’s quick, satisfying and pairs super well with the cucumber, sesame and chilli salad on page 71 of the book.
Fried Tofu Sandwich with Japanese Barbecue Sauce
- 1 cup (250 ml) soy milk
- 3 teaspoons cornflour (corn starch)
- 1½ cups (150 g) panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup (35 g) plain flour, for dusting
- sea salt
- 400 g firm tofu, drained and cut into 4 evenly sized pieces
- 4 tablespoons cottonseed or vegetable oil, for frying
- 8 slices white bread
For the barbecue sauce
- ½ cup (125 ml) vegan tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
To make the barbecue sauce, put the tomato sauce, soy sauce, mirin, garlic and ginger in a bowl and stir to combine. Allow to sit while you prepare the remainder of the dish.
Place the soy milk in a shallow bowl and stir in the cornflour until it’s dissolved. The result should be the consistency of whisked eggs, although slightly runnier.
Place the breadcrumbs in a second shallow bowl and sprinkle the flour onto a plate. Season with salt. Working one at a time, dust a piece of tofu in the flour, then the soy milk mixture and finally the breadcrumbs, using your hands to really push the crumbs into the tofu. Repeat with remaining tofu.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium–low heat. Cut a piece of baking paper that will fit snugly inside the pan. Lay the baking paper in the base of the pan and then drizzle the oil on top of the baking paper. After 1 minute, carefully lower the tofu into the pan, making sure the pieces are sitting side by side. Cook for 4 minutes each side or until golden. Remove and transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess oil.
Meanwhile, smear a generous amount of barbecue sauce on each slice of bread. Arrange the 4 pieces of tofu onto 4 slices of bread and top with the remaining slices, giving a gentle push down with the palm of your hand.
Eat and thank me later.