Crispy Panko-Crusted Tofu with Curry Sauce

Yesterday was a little crazy – after waking up to the sounds of airplane sirens and our neighbors knocking on the door to let us know there may be a potential tsunami coming our way, we packed up what we needed and headed to high ground to wait.  Luckily, a few hours later, the tsunami warning was lifted, and we could go back home, safe and sound.  A very fortunate day, and it makes me feel more thankful to be home.

And cooking again. :)

This recipe was inspired by my sistah-friend (a friend who is like a sister to me!).  I talk to her a few times a week – sometimes even three days in a row!  She’s my oldest friend and one of my BFFs, and we can talk about anything under the sun.  Sometimes we just talk about what we’re going to make for dinner, and we brainstorm on ways the both of us can be more creative.  Well, last week she was running out of ways to make tofu.  I set out to spice up the regular block of tofu stir-fry and remembered that I made it encrusted with panko breadcrumbs a while back.  It was delicious, so this time I made it again, remembering to write down my recipe.  Hope you enjoy it everyone!

Side notes: If you don’t have the time or the ingredients to make the curry sauce, a bottled teriyaki, ponzu, or sweet chili sauce would be wonderful too.

To press the tofu, you can take it out of its package and place it on a plate; place another weight on it by placing a small plate with a can of beans on top for about an hour, until a lot of the liquid has been squeezed out.  Pat with paper towels.

Oh, and if any of you have a meal you’d like me to makeover, or just want some new ideas for the same ol’ dinnertime thing, don’t hesitate to email me at for some suggestions.

Crispy Panko-Crusted Tofu with Curry Sauce

makes 8 slices of tofu

For the Curry Sauce:

1 tsp canola oil

scant 1/2 cup onion, diced

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp curry powder (I use Madras)

1/4 tsp paprika

2 cloves garlic, mashed

1 tomato, seeded and diced

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 tsp sugar

2 1/2 Tbsp coconut milk

For the tofu:

1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed to release as much liquid as you can and dried with paper towels

1/2 cup AP flour

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 large egg

3 Tbsp water

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp canola oil


1.  For the curry sauce, heat the tsp of oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and saute until soft, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the salt, curry powder, paprika, sauteeing for another minute.  Add the garlic and tomatoes, then the chicken broth, soy sauce, and sugar, bringing mixture to a boil.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for another 4-5 minutes.  Stir in the coconut milk, and turn off the heat.  Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree until creamy.  Set aside.

2.  For the tofu, slice the tofu into 8 slices.  Prep three shallow bowls – in the first bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper; whisk together the egg and water in the second bowl; add the panko breadcrumbs in the third bowl.  One by one, place each slice of tofu first in the flour mixture, coating all sides evenly and shaking off excess flour.  Then lightly dip the tofu in the egg wash, and finally coat with the panko.  Repeat with the other slices.

3.  In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the oil.  When the oil is hot, add the tofu, frying on each side for about 4 minutes each or until browned.

4.  When the tofu is done, drain on paper towels.  Serve with curry sauce or any of the alternatives mentioned, along with brown rice and a salad on the side.

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22 Responses to Crispy Panko-Crusted Tofu with Curry Sauce

  1. Cindy says:

    I was just looking at a recipe for breaded fried tofu in America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. They use regular bread crumbs. Panko sounds and looks a lot yummier. Thanks.
    P.S. Gald the tsunami was a bust.

  2. Phi says:

    I cannot wait to try this ! The panko and curry sound like perfect matches for tofu. I’m so glad everything is ok.

  3. Jessica says:

    Glad you’re safe and sound!

  4. nutrition to kitchen says:

    Cindy – I love ATK, but I like the texture of panko here better than regular breadcrumbs. I’m glad the tsunami was a bust too!

    Phi and Jessica: Thanks for the well wishes!

  5. Pink Panda says:

    That looks a lot like a dimsum dish that I absolutely love. Bookmarked. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. nutrition to kitchen says:

    No prob, Panda. What dimsum dish is that? I can think of the deep-fried taro with pork, is there a tofu version?

  7. Kimmae says:

    Thanks for sharing Trammy! I’ve been craving tofu the past couple of days.. totally read my mind! Can’t wait to make some :)

  8. nutrition to kitchen says:

    Kimmae – Thanks and let me know how you like ‘em!

  9. Caryn says:

    This recipe looks amazing! Tofu rocks!

  10. Kitchen M says:

    Yum! I like discovering new ideas for cooking tofu!
    Thanks for writing down the recipe and sharing with us. :)

  11. Yum! The issue my family often has with tofu is the texture/sliminess of the block so I’m always looking for ways to make it crisper. This looks great and I’ll give it a try. I never seem to remember to press the tofu for an hour to remove some of the liquid but I will try this next time.

  12. nutrition to kitchen says:

    Caryn – Tofu does rock! :)

    Kitchen M – No problem, I’m spreading good tidings of tofu! haha

    Janice – Sometimes I forget to press the tofu too, but it really speeds up the cooking process and makes a crispier crust faster. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. ooh, i love this! i’m trying to incorporate a lot more tofu in my diet, and this is a great idea to add some panko crumbs to give it some texture. thanks for the idea!

  14. Hey this is a great recipe got for my day. I am very much pleased to look forward for your
    Healthy recipes in this blog in future. Have a good day and great reader ship.

  15. Molly says:

    This looks so good! I’m always pleased to find a good tofu recipe. Thanks!

  16. Belinda Yamashita says:

    Thank you for this recipe! I’m trying to slip into a more plant-based diet due to high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. We love tofu, always looking for tasty ways to cook and eat it…
    We’ll try this one tonight!

  17. Amy Seto says:

    Just found your blog, and I think it’s wonderful! Love this recipe…I’ve been making something similar myself to get my 3 boys to eat tofu. Didn’t even think of flattening it…great idea!

    Was wondering if you had nutritional information on this dish? Thanks! Amy

  18. Would soy milk work? No coconut milk here and I am about to try the recipe. Thanks!

  19. Sandra Cockrell says:

    I really liked this recipe.
    Instead of frying the tofu, can you put it in breadcrumbs and bake it? just wondering, I am looking for a recipe for that.
    Please let me know.
    Thank you,

  20. Caitlin says:

    I had already had my tofu marinating overnight so I didn’t use the sauce recipe, but I did use your recipe/instructions for coating the tofu with the panko bread crumbs and I have to say this is one of the best recipes I’ve ever found. I’m a vegetarian and I’m always looking for ways to make my tofu crispy and I think this is the best I’ve found thus far!

  21. Kristi K says:

    I made this for an appetizer served with ponzu and sweet chili thai sauce. YUM! I love it, I think I’m addicted to this recipe, thank you!

  22. anh says:

    I am very sorry to learn about your accident. I stumbled across your blog by chance early last year. I’ve tried a few of your recipes and I loved them! Glad you are back at blogging.

    Take care and hope your recovery is going as smoothly as expected.

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