3 moderate 30 min 60 min bento fu kurumafu okara pan-fry Recipes - Japanese reduced sodium shoyukoji simmer

Kurumafu no katsu / gluten cake cutlets

Tasty, filling yet light cutlets made with gluten cakes. Compared to more commonly known tonkatsu pork cutlets, this dish is much lower in calories and gentler on your stomach. Gluten cakes are first flavored with dashi stock, shoyukoji soy sauce rice malt and vinegar to get a meaty taste, followed by usual preparation of cutlets, but in a leaner way (below). No shoyukoji available? Balsamic vinegar does a great job in that case.

1/2 of recipe (katsu only; sauce & vegetables not included):
222 calories; 7.9 g protein; 13.0 g fat; 17.3 g carbohydrate; 11.8 g net carbs; 67 mg sodium (with shoyukoji made with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 53 mg cholesterol; 5.5 g fiber; 288 mg potassium

1/2 of recipe (katsu & sauce; vegetables not included):
228 calories; 7.9 g protein; 13.1 g fat; 18.7 g carbohydrate; 13.2 g net carbs; 163 mg sodium (with shoyukoji made with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce); 53 mg cholesterol; 5.5 g fiber; 298 mg potassium


2 kurumafu donut-shaped gluten cakes (22 g in photo)
     150 cc dashi
     2/3 tsp shoyukoji soy sauce rice malt (see Notes if not available)
     1/4 tsp kurozu brown rice vinegar
1 egg (only 1/2 used for this recipe)
2-3 tsp flour (not in photo)
25-30 g dried coarse okara soybean pulp (23 g in photo)
Approx. 3-4 tbsp oil (canola or olive oil preferred; not in photo)

For sauce
1 tsp usutaa soosu Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp balsamic vinegar


Place kurumafu in a container (small frying pan in photo), pour dashi, and rehydrate until soft (30+ minutes to overnight).

When kurumafu is soft enough, tear or cut each cake in half.
Gently squeeze out dashi (into frying pan), and set aside.


Add shoyukoji and kurozu to dashi, and bring to boil.

Put kurumafu, and
simmer until liquid is gone, 5+ minutes on medium low heat.

Flip once or
twice for even flavoring, and cook until little liquid comes out when
pressing kurumafu.

When done, remove from heat.

Meanwhile, mix Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar. Prepare accompanying vegetables.

Have coating ingredients ready in separate bowls or trays.
For egg, break egg white apart, instead of whipping or beating.


Heat oil in small to medium pan.
Oil depth of 5-6 mm should be enough.


Coat each kurumafu with flour, shake off excess, dip in egg, and coat with coarse okara soybean pulp.

Gently press surface to stabilize okara coating.


When oil is hot enough (about the same temperature as for other deep-fried dishes; if smoke appears, that’s too hot), gently put coated kurumafu.

Flip when one side is golden.  

Hold each piece in standing position so
that sides also become golden (optional; recommended for sake of final

When done, transfer to paper-lined tray to eliminate excess


Plate, and pour over sauce.
Ready to eat!


  • Dried coarse okara soybean pulp (containing very little sodium) substitutes for panko bread crumbs (containing some sodium). We have okara on hand simply because we make own soymilk and end up with lots of pulp. Fresh soybean pulp is completely dried until taking on a glittery texture in the oven (can be done using remaining heat from cooking other dishes). 300 g of dried soybeans yield approx. 130-140 g of dried coarse okara.
  • Kurumafu can be rehydrated (and flavored) up to a day ahead and kept in the fridge.
  • If no shoyukoji is at hand, try balsamic vinegar. 1/4-3/8 tsp balsamic vinegar per 150 cc dashi would do the job. When using balsamic vinegar, kurozu brown rice vinegar is not needed. Kurumafu prepared with balsamic vinegar taste slightly stronger than cutlets prepared with shoyukoji + kurozu, but the difference is very minor. Using balsamic vinegar also lowers sodium content of kurumafu no katsu by 10 mg per serving.
  • In the above method, 20 g canola oil was absorbed by food during frying.
  • To further cut back on calories from oil, cook dried coarse okara or panko with a small amount of oil, and bake kurumafu in the oven or toaster oven until golden (see baked version of kabocha no korokke [pumpkin croquettes] for details).
  • Kurumafu can simply be rehydrated and fried, but prep-flavoring prevents overuse of sauce at the table.
  • Among popular sauce options, sodium content is higher in the order of Worcestershire sauce (198 mg/6g), chuunoo [medium thick] sauce (138 mg/6g), tonkatsu [pork cutlet] sauce (132 mg/6g) among Japanese products on average (figures are per teaspoon). Reduced-sodium chuunoo [medium thick] sauce and tonkatsu [pork cutlet] sauce (56 mg/6g) can be found at stores in Japan.
  • These cutlets make great katsudon (cutlets with egg over steamed rice)!

(Last updated: September 13, 2018)

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