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Vegan Japanese Curry with Golden Tofu and Veggies

Classic Japanese curry made vegan! But without comprising flavors or nutrition. This vegan Japanese curry is packed with vegetables and golden, air-fried tofu for protein. And for an extra heart-warming touch, I shaped my brown rice into Rilakkuma! The beloved brown bear that personifies relaxing ^^

This meal is probably a comfort food glass ceiling for me - all the hearty veggies are cooked so soft and almost fall apart in your mouth, the tofu is chewy and golden on the outside while tender on the inside, and the best part - the creamy, rich, umami, and slightly sweet curry sauce poured over some steamy, fluffy rice, simply unbeatable.

I think curry is pretty much an equivalent word for comfort food for a lot of us, yet there's quite a big difference between Japanese curries and Indian or Thai curries. The spice profile is completely different, and the Japanese curry is much thicker, more savory and umami, and at the same time distinctively sweeter.

And instead of using dry spice powders, the cubed curry roux is the star in Japanese curry. If your regular grocery store doesn't carry Japanese curry roux, you can most likely find them at Asian grocery stores or order them online. I didn't bother making my own roux because they're already so tasty and affordable (I got mine for only a little over a dollar), and vegan-friendly too!

Watch the video below to see the cutest brown rice Rilakkuma bear resting in the lush curry. If you make this recipe I'd love to hear your feedback and be sure to tag me on Instagram @veganbunnychef 


INGREDIENTS:

14 oz extra firm tofu

1 medium sweet onion 

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon grated ginger

2 carrots

6 oz baby bella mushroom

45 gram Japanese curry roux, about 2 cubes

1 cup vegetable stock

1 cup water

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 small apple, grated (Optional but highly recommended!)

Cooking oil, use neutral tasting oil

Salt and pepper as needed


TO MAKE:

- Cut the tofu into your preferred shape, I cut mine into triangles, and air fry at 390°F for 15 minutes, or you can also pan fry them with a little oil until all sides are golden crispy;

- Chop the onion, carrots, and mushrooms into big chunks, peel and grate the apple;

- When cutting the carrots, use the rolling method, meaning, cut off a big piece, roll the carrot about 90 degree, then cut again, this method will result in carrot chunks that have more exposed surface areas so they soak up flavors better;

- Use a thick, good quality, nonstick pot, heat a drizzle of cooking oil over medium heat, add onions and cook for 4 - 5 minutes until they're slightly caramelized, don't flip too often because that won't give the onions any chance to brown;

- Add garlic and ginger and cook for another minute till aromatic, then add carrots, mushrooms, and air fried tofu, stir to combine well;

- Add the vegetable stock and water, soy sauce, and grated apple, adjust the amount of liquid to the size of your pot, the liquid should barely cover the veggies and tofu, not complete submerged;

- Cover with the lid and bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes;

- Chop up the roux cubes, use a ladle to dissolve the roux cubes into the pot, stir to mix the roux in very well, let it simmer for another 5 minutes uncovered to thicken, or until the gravy is thicken to your preferred consistency;

- Season with additional salt and pepper to taste if needed, the curry roux usually is enough flavor for me;

- Serve hot over brown rice or white rice, enjoy!


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