100g unsalted butter
100g flour
4 tablespoons Japanese curry powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
500g fresh udon noodles
1 tablespoon plain oil
1 onion, sliced
3 medium carrots, peeled, sliced into 2cm pieces
4 cups vegetable stock
10g kombu
curry roux (use half of the recipe given and save the rest for another meal)
tamari, to taste
300g firm tofu
½ cup flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon togarashi seasoning, plus extra to serve
⅔ cup panko crumbs
oil for frying
steamed greens or cucumber and spring onion, to serve

Japanese curry with crunchy katsu is super popular and delicious, but pre-made golden curry mixes and roux cubes are full of unnecessary additives. It’s very easy to make yourself with just a few ingredients and making your own means you can use vegan butter, if necessary. You can source Japanese curry powder from speciality stores but I find regular curry powder is fine, just make sure it is fresh and not from an old packet in the pantry! I have served the curry with a tofu katsu, but any other type of katsu, such as chicken, will also be good. Serve with cucumber and spring onion or steamed greens in colder weather.

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2.Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and whisk in the flour.
3.Cook, whisking regularly, for about 15 minutes until the roux turns a medium golden brown.
4.Whisk in the curry powder and garam masala and cook for a few minutes then spoon into a small container and refrigerate until needed. It keeps for up to 1 month.
6.If necessary, cook the noodles in boiling water then drain.
7.If you have precooked noodles, I like to put them in a sieve and pour boiling water over them to loosen and refresh them. Set aside.
8.Heat the oil in a wide saucepan or high-sided frying pan over a medium heat.
9.Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.
10.Add the carrots, stirring for a couple of minutes, then add the stock and kombu and bring to a low simmer (try not to boil).
11.Simmer for 12 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Remove the kombu and discard.
12.Stir in the roux, heating gently to thicken then stir in the noodles.
13.Season with tamari (how much will depend on the saltiness of your stock).
14.Serve with katsu and vegetables.
16.Cut the tofu in half horizontally.
17.Lay a few layers of paper towels or a clean tea towel on a plate and put the tofu on top.
18.Cover with more paper towels or another tea towel and put a plate on top weighted down with something heavy.
19.Press the tofu for 1 hour to remove excess moisture.
20.Put the flour, cornflour and salt in a bowl and whisk in 140ml cold water to make a batter.
21.Put the panko crumbs in a bowl with the togarashi.
22.Heat 2cm of oil in a frying pan.
23.Cut each piece of the pressed tofu into 2 pieces.
24.Dip each piece in the batter then the panko crumbs and shallow fry for about 2 minutes each side until golden. Serve immediately.

Recipes & food styling Fiona Smith / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Fiona Lascelles