Japanese-Style Katsudon Rice Bowls (Vegan Recipe)

Updated: Apr 29

I love Japanese cuisine, from sushi to rice bowls and ramen, because they're all unique and delicious in their own ways. I've veganized my fair share of Japanese dishes and this time around I made my own vegan version of the famous Katsudon, which is basically katsu or pork cutlet over rice.

Check out the video below to see how I make the tofu katsu:

'Don', that's short for donburi means "rice bowl dish" and usually contains meat, seafood, and vegetables simmered together to make a rice topping. So the term don is used to label dishes topped over rice such as gyudon, tendon, and oyakodon, (to name a few!).

For my vegan version of Katsudon, I used some tofu to create the katsu. They're crispy breaded slabs of tofu which I then cooked in a delicious umami soup before topping over rice.

Get the full recipe below.

Are you looking for more delicious, vegan recipes? Check out my latest Vegan Kitchen eBook, that has over 95 recipes (and a whole section for Asian recipes!) that are packed with flavour and made with simple and easily accessible ingredients! Also, I will be planting two trees (instead of 1) for every download of my eBook through non-profit organisation One Tree Planted.🌲

Japanese-Style Katsudon Rice Bowls

Makes 2 bowls

1 200g block extra firm tofu

¼  tsp salt

1 red or white onion, thinly sliced

Canola oil, for frying 

2-3 cups steamed Japanese rice, for serving

Chopped spring onions and sesame seeds, for garnishing 


¼ cup all purpose flour

½  tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp sea salt

¼ cup room temp. water


½ cup japanese bread crumbs, or more as needed


3 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup hot water

2 tbsp cane sugar

2 tbsp soy sauce


  1. Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not discard the water. Slice the mushrooms and set aside.

  2. Drain water from the tofu by using a tofu press or wrapping it in a paper towel and then placing a heavy flat surface (a board or plate) on top. Leave for 15 minutes until water has been absorbed by the towel.

  3. Slice the tofu into ½ -inch thick square slabs. You may be able to slice one tofu into 3 slabs, depending on the thickness of your tofu. Season with ¼ tsp salt.

  4. Prepare the batter by mixing all the ingredients until smooth. In another plate or tray, add the breadcrumbs. 

  5. Place each tofu in the batter then coat into the breadcrumbs. Repeat this step for the rest.

  6. Heat the oil in a frying pan. I used a cast iron pan. Once hot (you can test this by putting a little bread crumbs), add in the tofu. Fry for around 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway, over medium heat until golden brown on both sides. Take the tofu out from the oil then turn off the heat. 

  7. Let cool for 10-15 minutes then slice diagonally into ¾ -inch thick strips.

  8. Carefully remove the oil from the pan. Add in the mushroom water, onions, and sliced mushrooms, Leave to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add in the soy sauce and sugar. Mix well and cook until the sugar has dissolved.

  9. Add in the sliced tofu katsu. Using a spoon, carefully scoop the sauce and pour over the tofu until they are well coated. Leave to cook until the tofu has absorbed almost all the liquid. Turn off heat. Place the tofu over some steamed Japanese rice. Feel free to garnish with some spring onions and sesame seeds, if desired. Enjoy while hot!

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