The day has come! I haven’t made perfect sushi on the blog/YouTube channel yet, but today that spell has been broken, y’all! I tried it once in this video… but it definitely didn’t turn out right. Luckily, this tofu katsu onigirazu is a drool-worthy sushi sandwich is totally delicious and I actually got the rice right this time.
As with a lot of #hotforfood recipes, I take inspiration from dishes that often have meat and make ‘em 100% vegan! Katsu is a Japanese term for a fried pork or chicken cutlet. But in this recipe, we’re using tofu as the base. We’re breading it in a crispy coating of panko and BBQ chips similar to the double down, then baking it till it’s nice and crispy! Then it’s combined with pickled veggies, Sriracha mayo, sushi rice, and sweet tonkatsu sauce to fulfil all your sushi fantasies. Roll ‘er up in a nori sheet and you’ll be digging in before you can even grab a plate!
If you’ve never made sushi at home before, this is the perfect opportunity! Not only is it a fun process, but the finished product is super impressive if ya make it for someone else, too. Below I lay out all the deets on how to make this tofu katsu onigirazu juuuust right. A square container like what your tofu came in and a bamboo mat will be your best friends. Scroll down to see how it all comes together!
tofu katsu onigirazu (sushi sandwich)
tofu katsu onigirazu
- 1 x package of water packed firm or extra-firm tofu *see note
- 1 C (240 g) sushi rice + 1 1/4 C (310 ml) water *see note
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
- vegetable cooking spray
- 4 x (8 x 7 1/2-inch) nori roasted seaweed sheets
- 1 1/2 tbsp black and white sesame seeds, as garnish
- 1 tbsp dijon
- 1 tbsp Sriracha
- 2 tsp nondairy milk
- 1/2 C panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 C crushed bbq chips (can use breadcrumbs)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning (optional)
- 1 C shredded napa cabbage
- 1 C carrot, julienne
- 1/2 C sliced green onion, sliced thinly lengthwise into 2-inch strands
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground mustard
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 C seasoned rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 3/4 C hot water
- 2/3 C vegan mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp Sriracha
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
sweet tonkatsu sauce
- 1/3 C ketchup
- 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp ume plum vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar or white sugar
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
To make the sushi rice, add rinsed rice, sea salt and water to a medium saucepan with a lid, and heat over medium-high. Once it starts to boil, about 6 to 7 minutes, lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 14 minutes. Stir in seasoned rice vinegar and let the rice cool to room temperature until you can handle it with your hands, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
To make the tofu katsu, slice your tofu so they’re about 3.75 x 1.75-inches and about 1/2-inch thick. Pat dry with a paper towel and then set these aside.
Prep your breading station. In a shallow dish that can hold your tofu cutlets, combine the dijon, sriracha and nondairy milk and whisk until smooth. In a separate bowl, add panko, BBQ chips, sea salt, onion powder, chili powder, smoked paprika and old bay seasoning.
Add the tofu cutlets to the dijon sriracha mixture and coat evenly - with a brush or your hand. Then take the coated tofu cutlet and place it in the breadcrumbs and cover all sides evenly. Repeat with the remaining tofu cutlets.
Place the tofu cutlets on the baking sheet and spray the tofu with vegetable oil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through the bake time and spraying with more vegetable oil.
To make the pickled vegetables, toss together shredded cabbage, carrot and green onion into a bowl. Add minced garlic, cumin seeds, ground mustard, sea salt, ground black pepper, rice vinegar and hot water and combine until well mixed and the vegetables are submerged. Refrigerate until ready to assemble sandwiches.
To make the sriracha mayo, add vegan mayonnaise, sriracha and lime juice into a bowl and mix until combined. Set this aside.
To make the sweet tonkatsu sauce, combine ketchup, soy sauce/tamari, rice vinegar, ume plum vinegar, brown sugar and garlic powder until well combined. Set aside.
To assemble the tofu katsu sandwich, use the clean plastic tofu container or a square container to mold your sandwiches. Line the container with plastic wrap and make sure there’s some overhang. Use a ¼ C measure to scoop some rice. Wet your fingers so the rice doesn’t stick to you, and pack the cooked sushi rice tightly and evenly into the container, so it’s just less than a 1/2-inch thick. Then top with some sriracha mayo, the tofu katsu, the pickled vegetables and the sweet tonkatsu sauce. Top with more rice and fold the extra plastic wrap on top. Now gently press the rice down into the mold to shape your sandwich.
Place the sheet of nori, smooth side down onto a bamboo mat that’s been lined with plastic wrap.
Use the plastic wrap, to lift the tofu katsu sandwich out of the tofu container and place it in the center of the nori. Slightly wet your fingers and fold the nori over the katsu sando. Tuck and fold in the sides of the nori like you’re wrapping a present. Roll again until the tofu sandwich is completely wrapped in nori. Now use the bamboo mat to shape it into a rectangle. Slice the sandwich in half.
Serve the tofu katsu sandwich cut side up, drizzled with more tonkatsu sauce on top. Sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds.
Buy water packed tofu that comes in a plastic container to use as a rice mold. We used tofu that came in 2 smaller 3 x 5 inch containers, but you can use a larger 5.5 x 4.5 tofu container if that’s all you can find. Just make two sandwiches at a time and slice it in half before wrapping in the seaweed. If you used vacuum packed tofu, use any square container that’s a similar size and shape to your tofu cutlets. Rinse your rice until the water runs clear before using. If possible, use a bamboo mat wrapped in plastic wrap to help shape your katsu sandos into uniform rectangular sandwiches.